Even though it looks like all newborns do is eat, poop, cry and sleep, they’re actually doing a huge amount of growing and processing. Their brains are still physically developing, their bodies are growing (newborns double their birth weight by the time they’re 3-6months old) and they’re learning how to manage all the input they’re getting from the environment. The tremendous amount of energy all this takes forces babies to eat and sleep a lot.
In this blog, we’ll talk about how much sleep your newborn baby needs. Thankfully, as babies grow and develop, they accumulate stores of energy which allow them to eat less frequently and sleep in longer blocks.
Young newborns need between 16-18 hours of sleep per day. Roughly 8-9 hours at night and 8-9 hours during the day. Their sleep is a series of naps rather than long blocks of sleep. Because they need to eat often they only sleep between 1-3 hours at a
Babies who are breastfed tend to wake up more frequently, every 1.5 to two hours because breast milk is cleared very quickly from the stomach. Most bottle-fed babies can go around 2-3 hours between feeds because formula, being less easily digestible than breastmilk stays in the stomach longer.
Your 1-2 month-old
Babies still need between 16-18 hours of sleep per day but they can sleep slightly longer stretches at a time. They tend to sleep 8-9 hours at night and 7-9 hours during the day in the form of 3-5 naps of varying length. At the end of the second month, many babies may be able to sleep for a 4-6 hour stretch.
Babies now need between 14-16 hours of sleep a day. They tend to sleep between 9-10 hours at night and around 4-5 hours during the day in the form of about three naps. They still need to eat frequently and wake up often, but, you can start to train them to eat more during the day than at night.
It’s very important to recognize both your baby’s sleep cues and their sleep cycles so you can get them to sleep before they become overtired. You’ll want to get the baby in bed when you first see a sleep cue or your baby is at the end of an awake cycle. An overtired baby is stressed and produces stress hormones which make them irritable and make it very hard for them to relax and fall asleep no matter how tired they are. This is why keeping your baby up all day is not only a myth but it will make you both miserable! What is true is that sleep begets sleep so do your best to ensure your baby always gets enough sleep.
In the next blog on sleep, you’ll learn what you need to know about your baby’s sleep cues and sleep cycles so that you avoid sleep challenges and, get the information you need to teach your baby to be a good sleeper from a very early age!
To your holistic health,