Sleep and Newborns

How much sleep does your newborn need? Read this article to find the answers to frequently asked questions about sleep and newborns.

Sleep and Newborns

How much sleep should my newborn get?

New parents often have many questions concerning their newborns and may wonder what to expect. One of the biggest concerns for parents is sleep and newborns. Questions such as, “Is my baby sleeping too much?” or “Is my baby sleeping enough?” can haunt parents during those first few weeks.

Just as people have different personalities, newborns can greatly differ in their sleep patterns. However, certain guidelines can help new parents determine if the amount of sleep, or lack thereof, falls within the normal range. In the first month or so, your baby may sleep for as much as 16 hours a day or more. As newborns grow and develop, their periods of wakefulness and interaction will increase.

During the first few weeks, your newborn will cycle in and out of naps, waking only to eat. Some newborns will sleep in increments of 3-4 hours; however, others may only sleep 1-2 hours before waking to eat. Generally, breastfed newborns will wake more frequently to eat than bottle-fed newborns. Because breast milk is metabolized more quickly than formula, breastfed babies need to be fed more frequently. It is recommended that parents wake to feed their bottle-fed newborns after 4 hours of sleep, and breastfeeding mothers wake their newborns every 2 hours to eat.

Where and how should my newborn sleep?

While sleeping with your baby in the same room is recommended, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your newborn should sleep in his or her own bed. Studies have shown that sharing a bed with your newborn increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, or strangulation. Your baby’s bed should be free of any loose bedding, toys, blankets or bumper pads.

According to the AAP, babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep. Since this recommendation was made public in 1992, the incidence of SIDS have dropped by more than 50%.

When will my baby sleep through the night?

In the first few months, your infant will wake to eat at least every 3-4 hours, even through the night. At two months of age, you can expect your newborn to sleep for periods up to 6-8 hours. Establishing a nighttime routine, feeding your newborn with low lighting, and minimal talking while feeding/changing will help establish good sleep habits for your baby.

When should I call the doctor about my newborn’s sleeping habits?

All newborns fuss from time to time. However, if your newborn seems overly irritable for a three hour period or more, and you are unable to console him or her, your baby could have colic. If you notice that your newborn is lethargic and difficult to rouse from sleep, or uninterested in eating, contact your pediatrician.

Call AGC Pediatrics at (706) 625-5900 to schedule your newborn’s appointment at our convenient locations. We have offices in both Cartersville and Calhoun, Georgia.