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Being a new parent is exciting, rewarding, and, of course, challenging.

Newborn sleep patterns normally mean that baby will be sleeping and waking up a lot

Adjusting to newborn sleep patterns can be one of the hardest things for new parents; dealing with baby’s sleep schedule—or a lack of sleep schedule can be one of the first challenges of early parenthood! It is hard to know how long or how often baby should sleep. Baby may seem like they have no problem sleeping during the day, but wake up frequently at night. Or they may seem like they have no schedule at all!

As you search for ways to help baby get to sleep and stay asleep, you may wonder what’s possible for baby. You may even wonder if something is wrong—why are they waking up so much? Learn more about newborn sleep patterns, and why it’s expected that they’ll be waking up a lot!

What should a newborn’s sleep be like?

When baby is in the first few months of life, they usually won’t have much of a sleep schedule, even if you try to give them one. Babies are not born knowing how to put themselves to sleep (a form of self-soothing) or how to wake up when they feel they’ve gotten enough sleep. They also don’t know the differences between day and night. So as you can imagine, they won’t have much of a sleep pattern at all in the early months of life! This is completely typical and expected.

Why does baby wake up during the night?

Baby is usually waking up every few hours for feedings. They have a very small stomach at this age, which means they need to eat small amounts more frequently. So waking up and crying usually means they’re hungry!

What are typical newborn sleep patterns?

The short answer: A lot! Newborn sleep patterns are typically about 8-9 hours during the day, and 8 hours at night! That means baby will be asleep up to 17 hours a day! When they do wake up, it is every few hours—which means that it is expected that they’ll be up in the middle of the night. Baby may wake up every 2-3 hours to feed, but this can vary. In fact, their sleep is more like a series of naps rather than the schedule that children and adults are used to.

Will baby ever sleep through the night?

You may find yourself asking this at 3 am as you’re up with your little one, and don’t worry: the answer is yes. Yes, they will eventually get there! But it’s going to take time, and patience is key. Some babies develop a pattern as early as 3-6 months, but for others it may be closer to a year. At this age, baby begins to learn how to self-soothe.

Also know baby may also go through sleep regression. This can be caused by several factors, including growth spurts and other changes in development. However, if you notice any sudden changes that may indicate an illness, a healthcare provider should be contacted.

If you have any questions about baby’s sleep or need support to help them sleep, contact a healthcare provider.

Learn more about baby’s development every day.

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