Newborn Sleep Schedule

Newborn Sleep Schedule

Whether you're currently holding your newborn right now or eagerly anticipating the arrival of your baby, I'm delighted that you're here. I'm here to provide answers to any questions you have about newborn sleep routines and offer some advice on how to help your baby become a fantastic sleeper.

How many hours do newborn babies sleep?

Newborn babies (0-3 months old) are rapidly developing, therefore they need a lot of sleep. Newborn sleep typically ranges from 14 to 17 hours per day or even more. However, this sleep is spread out in shorter periods throughout the day and night, rather than consolidated into long stretches of sleep like adults.

I want to emphasise this: you can't dictate the exact number of hours your newborn sleeps. Instead of fixating on achieving a specific sleep duration for your baby, let's concentrate on the things you can control:

1. Ensure that daytime naps do not exceed 2 hours each.

2. Strive for wake windows lasting approximately 60-90 minutes (or 35-60 minutes for babies under 4 weeks old).

3. Consider starting your baby's day around 7.00-8:00 am, allowing no more than 12-12.5 hours after bedtime.

4. Offer daytime feedings every 2-3 hours, in response to your baby's hunger cues.

If you're seeking a detailed, step-by-step approach to assist your newborn in achieving the sleep they require, consider my First Four Months Bundle. I'll guide you through every aspect of newborn sleep, providing you with the assurance you need to fully enjoy this stage with your baby.

EXPERT TIP: Remember that there might be occasions when you'll have to gently rouse your baby to ensure they receive the necessary nourishment. For babies who are maintaining their growth trajectory, most paediatricians agree that it's acceptable to permit one longer stretch of sleep during the night.

Should I be following a day to day schedule for my newborn?

If you're in search of a fixed daily sleep timetable, I want to emphasise that it doesn't exist. It's important to recognise that your newborn is a baby, not a machine, and they are human, not a timepiece. Trying to adhere strictly to a set sleep schedule each day can lead to frustration or feelings of inadequacy for both of you.

However, I understand that having sample schedules can be helpful, so I'm pleased to provide you with some examples to consider.

Before I share them with you, please note:

  • Each of the example schedules features a different wake-up time. Some babies may start their day as early as 6:00 am, while others might sleep in a bit later.
  • The length of naps can vary throughout the day and from one day to the next. Newborn naps typically range from 20 to 120 minutes in duration.
  • For babies aged 0-4 weeks, the wake windows are approximately 35-60 minutes, and for babies aged 4-12 weeks, they extend to around 60-90 minutes. Pay close attention to your baby's unique signs of sleepiness within these timeframes.
  • Feeding should be offered based on your baby's hunger cues, typically occurring every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
  • In the evenings, cluster feeding can be considered normal and age-appropriate. It's essential to respond to your baby's hunger cues during this time.

          Newborn Sample Schedules:

          If you find these schedules overwhelming, I want you to understand that it doesn't have to be this way. I can assist you in establishing a flexible daytime routine that aligns with your baby's needs and signals, without the pressure of conforming to strict expectations. Through my Newborn Sleep Guide, I'll provide you with the techniques to confidently organise your days and nights for success.

          My objective isn't to guarantee you have a flawlessly scheduled little sleeper; instead, it's to equip you with the tools necessary for your entire family to flourish with better sleep.

          How can I recognise if my baby is hungry? What are the signs or signals of hunger?

          Observing your baby's signals is crucial for establishing an adaptable routine and being attentive to your baby's requirements. Below are some of the most frequent hunger cues in newborns:

          • Rooting Reflex: When you touch your baby's cheek, they may turn their head toward your hand and open their mouth.
          • Sucking on Hands or Fingers: Babies often suck on their fingers or hands when they're hungry.
          • Mouthing and Lip Smacking: Babies may make sucking motions with their lips or smack their lips.
          • Increased Activity: Babies might become more active and start moving their arms and legs more when they're hungry.
          • Fussiness and Crying: Crying is a late hunger cue. If your baby is crying, they may have been hungry for a little while already.
          • Seeking the Breast or Bottle: Your baby may turn their head and nuzzle your chest or reach for the breast or bottle.
          • Nuzzling or Kneading: When held against your shoulder, your baby may nuzzle or knead against you, showing signs of hunger.


          For more tips on Newborn Sleep, read my 5 Essential Tips for Better Newborn Sleep

          If you need more information on Newborn Sleep and how to lay a solid sleep foundation for your little one, I have Sleep Guides available for you from Newborn to 24 months of age. These Sleep Guides have everything you need to know about baby & toddler sleep and provide you with research-based knowledge and age-appropriate strategies to help not only your little one, but the whole family, have restful nights.

          If you’re wanting 1:1 support, I also have packages available for you. Individual babies have unique sleep patterns and needs, and what works for one may not work for another. My 1:1 support will help you in choosing a responsive method that sits comfortably with you and best suits your bub and their temperament. These packages are for 5 months to 4 years old. To book, click here 

          Back to blog