You’re visiting the Devon and Cornwall branch of Little Dreams. Click here to view the main site.

Newborn Sleep

Share This Post

This is a guide for newborn sleep. Firstly, congratulations if you are reading this with a newborn in tow! Secondly, there are some goals that you might want to work on towards developing positive sleep habits in the newborn stage. Equally, you might not feel ready/want to do that, and that is ok! The aim of this guide is to suggest some things to try but if what you are doing is working for you, don’t change a thing!

Overview of newborn sleep

Newborns do not have sleep cycles like you and I. They have cycles which are much shorter and simpler – spending 50% in deep sleep and 50% in dream sleep. They develop their ‘adult like’ sleep cycles around the 4-month mark otherwise known as the ‘4-month progression’.

Most newborns need 14-17 hours sleep per day, but this range can vary as much as 11-19 hours when we consider the low and high sleep needs babies.  This highlights the importance in looking at your little one as an individual who will have very different sleep needs compared to other babies. 

0-6 weeks goals

Recover and soak up the baby cuddles:

I think the heading says it all! This time goes so fast, prioritise your needs and your family’s needs above all else.  

Day versus night: 

Some newborns mix up their day from night. Consider day and night as 12 hours each e.g. you may decide that 8pm-8am will be ‘nighttime’ and 8am-8pm’ will be ‘daytime’. During the daytime, introduce plenty of natural daylight whilst indoors (curtains wide open) and outdoors, as well as noise (e.g. radio, conversation, tv, vacuum cleaner, etc). Conversely, during the night, keep it dark, calm and quiet (e.g. whisper voices and low volume tv).

6-12 weeks goals

Put down awake:

You may want to attempt to put your baby down to sleep while they are still awake. Some babies will do this quite easily and others will not. If your baby is unsettled, pick them up and try again another day. Some newborns will not (ever!) let you put them down, mine was one of those newborns… she craved closeness at all times. As lovely as this is, it can also be tough. If you need a break, use your sling, pushchair, as well as friends and family to hold your baby.

Feed – play – sleep routine:

You may want to consider feeding when they wake up, rather than before the nap. This will help your baby to associate feeding with wakefulness plus they are more likely to take ‘full feeds’ when well rested.

Bedtime Routine:

At around 8-10 weeks, you can introduce a bedtime routine. This routine will slightly vary in time each night depending on the time your little one woke up from their last nap. The bedtime routine should only take 20-30 minutes. An example of a routine is: bath, nappy, pyjamas, sleeping bag, feed, song, and pop down into sleeping space.

To find out more about my antenatal package, click here. Or book in for a complimentary 15 minute call to find out more.

Do you need help or support with your child’s sleep? Click here to book a free 15-minute consultation to chat about any challenges you’re facing and to discuss how to move forward.

You may also like

Child not sleeping

Split Nights

Split nights are lengthy periods of wakefulness in the night. Some children will be ready to start their day whereas others may be unhappy.

Read More »
Child having quiet time

Dropping the Last Nap

Dropping the last nap is a transition that is often delayed (by parents) for as long as possible! And that’s completely understandable, that nap might be the only downtime you get during the day.

Read More »
Dozing baby

2-1 nap transition

It can often be tricky to work out the correct time to do the 2-1 nap transition. You may start to see signs your child is getting ready to transition from 11 months upwards.

Read More »

Download our new FREE sleep guide: Five steps to getting your little one to sleep through the night

* All fields are required