First Time Parents Guide: Sleep Schedule & Napping
Establishing a unique and healthy sleep pattern is an essential part of your new baby’s development. As your baby grows and adjusts to life outside the womb, his or her natural sleep patterns will begin to present themselves, and you can design a sleep routine that works well for your baby and adds some consistency to your life together.
Sleep schedule for newborns
You can expect a newborn baby to sleep between 14-17 hours during a 24-hour stretch. This will likely consist of naps from two to three hours at first, followed by sleep periods of four hours. Stay in touch with your doctor or other medical professionals about your baby’s sleep progress. It may help to keep a spreadsheet of sorts to track your baby’s sleep, which will help you better see and understand your baby’s sleep patterns as they develop.
A newborn baby is used to total darkness inside the womb, and thus won’t understand the differences between day and night. Therefore, it’s not advisable to put your newborn baby on a sleep schedule during the first few weeks.
Typical napping schedules for babies
Your baby’s sleep patterns may not be predictable, as every child is different, but you can use these guidelines to get a rough idea of how much you can expect your baby to sleep in a typical day:
- From birth to six weeks, expect variable naps of 30 minutes to four hours
- From 2-3 months, expect 3-5 daily naps of 30 minutes to three hours
- From 4-6 months, expect 2-3 naps of 1-2 hours
- From 7-12 months, expect 2 naps of 1-2 hours
Typical nighttime sleep schedules for babies
- From birth to six weeks, expect eight or nine hours of sleep at night (about four hours at a time) and a total of 14-17 hours her day
- From 2-3 months, expect eight or nine hours of sleep at night and a total of 14-17 hours per day
- From 4-6 months, expect eight to 11 hours of sleep at night and a total of 12-16 hours per day
- From 7-12 months, expect ten to 12 hours of sleep at night and a total of 12-16 hours per day
Putting your baby on a sleep schedule
There are a few general ways you can help your baby develop a healthy sleep schedule. Don’t impose a sleep schedule immediately but don’t wait too long, either. Keep track of your baby’s patterns and typical wake windows, so you can get a sense of your baby’s natural rhythms, which will help strengthen your relationship in more ways than one. Notice signs that your baby is sleepy, and stick to a consistent bedtime routine. In fact, keeping a relatively consistent schedule throughout the day (as much as you can) can make a big difference when it comes to establishing a sleep schedule.
Most importantly, don’t lose faith! With some patience, you can enjoy this important and magical time in your baby’s life, and your baby will soon sleep through the night with no worries.
If you have questions or concerns about sleep schedules and napping, help is always available. Ask your doctor, or take advantage of my blogs here at Ruby & Poe, along with natural products that make your core values a part of your baby’s life, right from the beginning. Have a look around!