Looking for a sample newborn sleep schedule for your new baby? I’ve got you covered with week-by-week sample newborn sleep schedules for the first 3 months of age!
Did you know that newborn babies need an average of 14-18 hours of sleep every day?
And even though your newborn baby probably won’t adhere to a strict sleep or feed schedule, you can be mindful of a newborn’s wake windows and get them down for sleep at the optimal time.
Let’s talk about the newborn sleep schedule and what you can expect during those first several weeks at home.
Want a realistic newborn sleep schedule? Download my free newborn sleep schedule to see what a day with your newborn might look like. Click here to grab it, it’ll be super helpful.
When Should You Start a Sleep Schedule for Your Newborn?
I want to help prepare you for a simple reality: your newborn’s schedule probably won’t be the same every day in those first months. And that’s okay!
Even if you can’t have a specific and consistent set schedule in these early newborn days, you can have a reliable routine.
Even better, you can start a routine as soon as you bring your baby home!
The difference between a routine and a schedule is nuanced, but basically what it boils down to is this:
A routine means following an order of events throughout the day with your newborn, and having a basic idea of how long things like naps and wake time will last.
A schedule means things will happen at a very specific time.
I see a lot of new parents get disheartened when their baby doesn’t nap based on their schedule.
So because these are the newborn days, your baby’s schedule (meaning the time on the clock when things happen) may fluctuate from day to day.
What is A Good Routine for A Newborn?
In general, a newborn’s routine will follow a pattern of:
- Wake up
- Diaper change
- Back to sleep
And then rinse and repeat all day long.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I am a big proponent of using the eat-play-sleep method to establish a reliable routine with babies in their first year.
However, I don’t want you to stress too much about implementing this kind of routine with your newborn when they’re less than two months old.
You can try to introduce the eat-play-sleep routine to your newborn, but keep in mind that the “play” portion of the routine will be fairly limited and short.
Like I said, newborns need a lot of sleep, so there’s not a ton of room in their day for awake activities.
Instead, it might be a good idea to just focus on creating some tiny separation between eating and sleeping time.
How Long Should A Newborn Be Awake in Between Feedings?
The time your newborn is awake in between feedings is called their wake window.
Most newborns are able to stay awake for 30-90 minutes at a time.
Your newborn’s wake window begins the minute they open their eyes from sleep, and ends the moment they close their eyes again.
As long as your baby is staying relatively alert while they are eating, their feeding time counts toward their wake window.
Sometimes a feeding will take up the entire wake window, and other times you might need to fill their awake time with other things like diaper changes and tummy time.
My biggest tip is to try to separate feeding time and sleeping time if you can, if even by a diaper change.
Sometimes it’s inevitable that your baby will fall asleep while feeding in those early days and that’s okay!
Do your best to keep baby awake during the feed, but don’t stress it too much those first few weeks if baby falls asleep on you shortly after or during the feed.
Video on Newborn Sleep Schedule
Watch the video below where Amy will go over sample newborn sleep schedules for the first three months. Sometimes it helps to hear someone explain it versus reading a blog post.
Sample Newborn Sleep Schedules By Week
Let’s see what sleep looks like broken down for your newborn and how sleep changes through the weeks.
0–6 Weeks Old
When your baby is brand new, don’t stress too much about a schedule.
The most important thing at this age is to be aware of your baby’s wake windows so you can avoid an overtired baby.
As long as you’re practicing safe sleep, daytime naps can be anywhere:
- On the go
- On a caregiver’s chest as a contact nap
- In a stroller
It’s not realistic for baby to take all their naps in a crib or bassinet at this age and that would make you feel like a prisoner in your own home!
The best thing about newborn sleep is that they are so portable in those early days. So give them a feed and take them out with you, knowing that they’ll probably sleep on the way.
Your baby will likely need about 3–4 nighttime feedings at this age as well.
Here’s a sample one month old sleep schedule. Nap lengths and times will vary—even day to day.
Around the 2-month mark, your baby will start waking up a little bit—though they will still be very sleepy!
You can start implementing a bedtime routine for your baby around this time—just something short and sweet to cue to her brain that sleep is coming.
Here’s a sample 2-month old sleep schedule for your growing babe:
As your baby gets closer to 2.5 months, they may be able to stay awake for a little bit longer, up to 75 minutes around 10 weeks and up to 90 minutes closer to the 3-month old sleep schedule.
You can start to attempt at least one nap a day in the crib or bassinet and add an additional nap in their sleep space if they’re doing well.
It’s okay for other naps to be on you, on-the-go, etc.
How Long Should A Newborn Sleep At A Time?
Your newborn will probably nap anywhere between 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Newborn sleep will vary and all sleep counts at this age.
Don’t worry if your newborn only naps 30 minutes or so.
But, once your newborn wakes up, make sure they are truly awake!
Because of their sleep patterns, newborns may look like they’re awake when they’re actually still sleeping.
Active Vs Quiet Sleep
It’s important to understand newborn sleep patterns, because your baby’s sleep cycle is very different from yours!
It’s very common for newborns to go in and out of active sleep and quiet sleep, or light sleep and deep sleep.
During an active sleep cycle, your newborn is in REM (rapid eye movement) mode and they may cry, squirm, groan, etc. You may rush to them thinking they are awake or done with their nap.
Make sure to take a pause when your baby wakes to make sure they aren’t just transitioning between sleep cycles.
It’s normal in your baby’s sleep patterns for them to wake up temporarily and then go right back to sleep.
Staying Awake During Newborn Feedings
It’s natural for your newborn to lose a little bit of weight in their first week or two of life.
However, if you and/or your doctor notice substantial weight loss, it might be because your baby isn’t staying awake long enough to eat their fill!
You may have to wake your baby up at the breast or bottle if they fall asleep before taking in a full feeding.
I know that waking a sleeping baby feels counterintuitive when you’re all exhausted, but how well your baby feeds is actually directly related to how well they sleep.
The more full feeds your newborn gets during the daytime hours, the better chance they’ll sleep for longer stretches at night.
To rouse your newborn if they fall asleep while they’re eating, try pulling them off and re-latching, or tickling their toes and gently moving their legs while they feed. Even a cold wash cloth to their face can do the trick.
For even more newborn sleep tips and tricks (including more sample baby sleep schedules), check out my Newborn Sleep Program!
The program contains 8 short videos and a 25-page PDF of cheat sheets full of infographics and easy to read information designed with exhausted parents in mind.
In less than 1 hour, I walk you through my proven process for setting up routines for daytime that will optimize your newborn’s night sleep so your newborn and your family get all the rest you need!
A Reminder About Sleep Safety
The best place for your newborn to sleep is a safe sleep surface, free from any suffocation hazards or entanglement risks to reduce the risk of SIDS.
If you need a safe sleep environment refresher, check out my post on the ABC’s of safe sleep!
Of course in these early days, I know that sleep is going to happen in a lot of different places for your newborn, not just in their bassinet.
They might sleep on-the-go in the stroller, carseat, or baby carrier. They might even sleep in the arms of a caregiver.
Regardless of where your newborn ends up sleeping, please make sure that you follow all safety regulations of the carrier or stroller you’re using.
If your baby sleeps in someone’s arms, make sure the person who is holding them stays awake and alert, and ensures the baby is positioned in a way that allows them to breathe easily.
Frequently Asked Questions About Newborn Sleep Schedule
Should I Let My Newborn Sleep All Day?
It is perfectly fine for your newborn to sleep a lot during daytime hours.
However, your newborn is getting too much sleep during the day if they are going longer than 3 hours between feedings.
You may need to wake your baby during the day to ensure they get enough feeds in.
Why is My Newborn Awake All Night?
When your baby was in utero, they got used to being lulled to sleep by your movement during the daytime hours. Then at night when you were still and sleeping, they got their party on!
It’s no surprise that once they’re outside the womb, newborns are used to sleepy days and active nights.
This is called day-night confusion, and it’s totally normal in newborns.
And while the more active nights aren’t much fun for parents, a newborn’s day-night confusion usually fixes itself between the 6-8 week mark as their circadian rhythm develops.
Where Should My Newborn Sleep During the Day?
Your newborn can nap in their crib or bassinet, on a caregiver (make sure you’re awake and supervising them), in a stroller bassinet as you go for a walk, or even in the carseat while you’re running an errand.
Sleep begets sleep in those early days, so the better your newborn sleeps during the day, the better their nighttime sleep will be.
If you have questions about your newborn’s sleep schedule, drop them in the comments and our team will help!
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