How Much Do Newborns Sleep?

Newborn Baby Sleeping & Yawning

If you, like many new parents are wondering what a newborn sleep schedule looks like, you have come to the right place.

The answer, a lot.

As a Sleep Consultant, many parents come to me scared, as they are suddenly responsible for this new bundle of joy and get home from the hospital with no expectations around sleep or what a ‘sleep schedule’ looks like. (I am using ‘schedule’ loosely here.)

Here is a quick and easy sample breakout of sleep needs for the next few weeks:

  • 0–8 weeks: 16–18 hours of total sleep, 7–9 total hours during the day.
  • 8–12 weeks: 14–16 hours of total sleep, 4–6 total hours during the day.
  • 12–16 weeks: 14–15 hours of total sleep, 3–4 total hours during the day.

By using this chart, you will see how to best work a day and overnight of sleep. I have a more advanced chart here that breaks it out for their entire youth.

Now, curious to see what a newborn sleep schedule looks like?

This is a sample sleep schedule for a baby that’s about 8 weeks old, just to show you how I structure a day.

  • 7 am – wake up
  • 8:30-9:15 – nap 1
  • 10:00 – feed
  • 10:45-12:45 – nap 2
  • 1:00 – feed
  • 2:15-4:00 – nap 3
  • 4:00 – feed
  • 4:30-5:15 – nap 4
  • 7:00pm – feed & bedtime

This isn’t a set in stone schedule. What you want to watch is the awake window BETWEEN naps. So if they wake at 9, the next nap will be at 8:45/9ish. If they wake at 2, the next nap is at 2:45/3ish. Make sense? You should care less about total duration of marathon naps and more about working with their natural flow of naps, adjusting the next one based on when they woke from the last one.

How about a sleep schedule for a 9-month-old?

Just to give you something to use as a frame of reference in a few months, this is how it will adjust:

  • 7:00 – wake up
  • 9:50 – feed
  • 10:00-11:30 – nap 1
  • 12:00 – lunch (purees if you are introducing them)
  • 12:50pm – feed 2
  • 2:30-4:00 – nap 4
  • 4:00 – feed
  • 5:30 – dinner (purees if you are introducing them)
  • 7:00pm – feed & bedtime

At around 6-7 months, the awake windows start to lengthen, so you can see here at 9 months, the awake window is about 3 hours between naps. These are a guide to help you begin to understand sleep in your child. As always, work with your pediatrician to understand what is going to work best for your family situation. Each week they should be sleeping less and less during the daytime hours, which in turn will maximize nighttime sleep. Also important to keep in mind the right balance, because ironically NOT ENOUGH daytime sleep also causes many night waking’s.

This is a solid foundation for building sleep skills and this foundation will last you a lifetime. If you have more questions, want to download some other great resources or would like to get free valuable training every week, be sure to hop over to my free private community Slumber Made Simple – where I engage daily to help you all get the rest you need.

Ready to move forward and get the help you need? Setup a free 30-minute consultation!

My name is Courtney Zentz, a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Lactation Counselor and founder of Tiny Transitions. As an award-winning specialist, I and my team help exhausted parents teach their infants & toddlers gentle sleep training techniques to sleep well every night with customized solutions and both group and private coaching options, so your family can all be at their best. Based in Philadelphia, I work in-home and virtually around the world to provide the support that families need to all be at their best.

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