Developing good sleep patterns for your newborn is important but can sometimes be challenging. All babies are different, but newborns may sleep 10-18 hours a day and stay awake only 1-3 hours at a time. By 4 months of age, your baby may sleep for up to 6-8 hours at a time. Between 6-9 months of age, most babies will sleep for 10-12 hours. It is common for babies to take 1-4 naps a day, each lasting 30 minutes-2 hours. Signs that your baby is becoming sleepy include crying, eye rubbing and fussiness.

Sleeping dos and don’ts

  • Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep. This significantly reduces the risk of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID). It is okay to have your baby sleep in your room in a bassinet or crib next to your bed — but you should not co-sleep (put your baby in bed with you). This also poses a risk for SUID.
  • Feed your baby shortly before putting him or her to bed. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle. It can cause tooth decay. Putting babies in bed before completely asleep helps them learn to fall asleep on their own.
  • Keep the air moving in the room with a fan set on low and keep the room temperature between 68-78 degrees. If you are comfortable with the room temperature, your baby most likely is, too. If your baby’s hands and feet feel cool to the touch, add a hat or another sleep gown so they are comfortably warm. Sleep gowns/sacks are preferred to a blanket to ensure that your baby’s nose and mouth do not become covered.
  • Hold your baby as much as you wish. Remember, as the parent/caregiver of a newborn, you may often feel tired. If you sense you could fall asleep while holding your baby, pass him/her to someone who is fully awake or place your baby in a safe sleeping spot.
  • At night, try to reduce light and sound that could stimulate your baby. During the day, have your baby sleep in a busy part of the home with lights on and people talking. This daytime stimulation will help your baby sleep a little less during the day and hopefully a little more at night.