Sleep in Newborns
What Can I Expect from my Baby?
Newborns sleep between 10 and 19 hours per day (average is 13 to 14 ½ hours).
Newborns do not have a regular sleep pattern.
Newborns may sleep more during the day than they do at night.
Many babies will sleep on a more regular schedule by the time they are 4 months old.
Babies are active sleepers. Expect to see your baby smile, grimace, suck, snuffle and
move while sleeping.
What is the Safest Way for my Baby to Sleep?
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sharing a bed with your
baby. Please discuss your personal situation with your baby’s doctor.
Place your baby to sleep on his back.
Place your baby on a firm mattress with a well-fitting sheet and in a safety-approved crib.
(Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.)
Consider using a sleep sack instead of a blanket. (If you use a blanket, keep your baby’s
face and head clear. Make sure you place your baby with his feet at the bottom of the
crib, blanket no higher than chest-level, blanket tucked in around the mattress).
Create a smoke-free zone around your baby.
Keep your baby’s bedroom at a temperature that is comfortable for an average adult.
Your baby should never sleep on any furniture that is not designed for sleeping.
How Can I Help my Baby Learn Good Sleep Habits?
Learn your baby’s signs of being sleepy which may include fussiness, crying, rubbing of
eyes, staring off into space. Get to know those signals and try to put your baby down to
sleep when you see those signs.
Help him learn to sleep at night: Keep lights dim at night. Save play for daytime.
Morning sunlight can also help, so head out for a walk in the morning if you are able.
Respond to your baby’s sleep needs: Many newborns need to be rocked or fed to sleep
for the first few months. At 2 to 3 months, start thinking about a bedtime routine.
Develop a bedtime routine: Choose a soothing activity such as bathing, rocking, or
cuddling. Infants with bedtime routines have been found to sleep better and longer at
Sleep when your baby sleeps: Parents need sleep too! Try to nap when your baby naps.
Ask family or friends to help out so you can rest.
Call your baby’s doctor if you are worried: Babies who are very fussy or hard to settle
may have a medical problem like colic or reflux. Be sure to call if your baby ever seems
to have problems breathing while asleep.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©9/2015. University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing.