How to create a newborn sleep schedule
At Love To Dream™, we understand the importance of establishing a good sleep routine for the whole family. Sleep is a critical part of a newborn’s development, and our expert team will guide you every step of the way.
From common signs of overtiredness to the recommended amount of sleep, learn how to create a newborn sleep schedule with us.
How much do newborns sleep?
Most newborns are asleep more than they’re awake. Every child is different, so their total sleep will vary but usually sits between 8 to 16 hours.
How long do newborns sleep?
A newborn’s sleep cycles haven’t matured yet, meaning they will sleep for short periods of time. Every child is different, but on average newborns will sleep for 14-17 hours every 24 hours. Due to their small stomachs, they will wake up for feed every few hours.
By three months, your child will be able to sleep for longer periods of time. By four months, they may spend around twice as long sleeping at night as they do during the day.
How long should a newborn be awake for?
On average, newborns will be awake for between one to two hours at a time. However, every child’s sleep pattern is different, so it’s important to remember to listen to your baby’s cues.
Why do newborns sleep in short bursts?
Newborns sleep in short bursts for a wide range of reasons.
Hunger: A newborn’s stomach is small, so they will wake every two to four hours to feed. You don’t need to wake up your child to feed unless advised to do so by a medical professional.
Overstimulation: Overstimulation occurs when newborns are swamped with sensation, noise, and activity. For example, if a newborn baby has been cuddled by lots of new people.
Signs of overstimulation include:
Turning their head away from you.
Clenching their firsts.
When your newborn is overstimulated, they might struggle to sleep. Comforting them in a familiar and quiet space will help to calm them down.
Needing to be changed: Sometimes, babies will wake up as they need to be changed. Ensuring they have been changed before sleep can prevent this.
Discomfort: Newborn babies haven’t yet developed mature sleep cycles and will wake up when feeling discomfort. This might be from feeling too warm or too cold.
Our Clothing guide is a great way to check you have chosen the right product for the temperature and season.
How to establish a good newborn sleep routine
At Love To Dream™, we’re committed to helping families on their sleep journey. From creating a safe sleeping environment to swaddling your baby, learn how to establish a newborn sleep routine below.
Create a safe sleep space
By putting your baby down in the same place each time, whether that’s a cot or bassinet, you’re reinforcing the message that it’s time to sleep. To create a safe sleeping environment, always follow the below steps:
Sleep in the same room as your newborn.
Remove toys, blankets, and other choking hazards from their bassinet or cot before sleep.
Ensure the mattress is clean, flat, and dry.
Put your baby to sleep on their back with the face uncovered.
Never co-sleep with your child.
Prepare the room for sleep
It’s important to create a relaxing environment to signal naptime. For instance, you can dim down the lights, close the curtains, or use white noise to settle your little one.
You don’t need to worry too much about being quiet during your baby’s naptime in the day, as getting them used to a little noise is a good way to help them to learn to sleep under different conditions.
Swaddle your baby
At Love To Dream™, we’re famous for our award-winning Swaddle UP™. With unique wing tips that enable your child to sleep in a more natural ARMS UP™ position, it’s designed to help babies learn how to self-soothe and in turn, develop a healthy sleep routine.
You can find the right style and fabrication according to the season with our handy Clothing guide. Layer over our newborn babywear crafted from soft, stretchy fabric for easy nappy changes and comfortable sleep all year round.
Follow an eat, play, sleep routine
For the first six weeks, newborns can only stay awake for approximately one to three hours at a time. In the early stages, try to establish an eat, play, sleep routine that works for your family:
Feed your baby when they wake up.
Change their nappy.
Take time to play, cuddle, and talk to your baby.
Put your baby back down to sleep.
Your newborn might settle to sleep easier in your arms or you can gently comfort them whilst in their cot, find what your baby responds to best.
Listen to your baby’s cues
Every child is different so it’s important to follow your baby’s cues. Below, find the most common signs that your baby is tired:
Jerky arm and leg movements.
Sucking on fingers.
How do I get my newborn to sleep?
The below settling methods can be used on babies of all ages. See what works for your family and try to stick to one, consistency is key:
Why does my newborn sleep with their mouth open?
From allergies or a cold to regularly sucking their thumb, there are several reasons why your newborn might sleep with their mouth open. If there is cause for concern, please contact your GP.
Can newborns sleep on their side?
Always put your baby to sleep on their back with the face uncovered. According to Red Nose Australia, there is an increased risk of SIDS if a baby is put to sleep on their side or tummy. Remove any toys, blankets, and other choking hazards from the cot/bassinet before sleep.
Why does my newborn breathe fast while sleeping?
Newborns tend to breathe at a faster rate than children and adults as they are still learning how to develop a regular breathing pattern. Keeping a close eye on what’s normal for your child will enable you to note any changes that might be cause for concern.
Why is my newborn grunting and squirming while sleeping?
It’s normal for your baby to grunt and squirm while sleeping. This can be caused by digestion, acid reflux, and bowel movements. Over time, these noises should begin to reduce.
You should contact your GP immediately if your newborn’s noises grow unsettling and are accompanied by any of the below symptoms:
Appearing blushed or distressed.
A fever, vomiting or constipation.
Pauses between breaths for more than a few seconds.
Grunting with every breath.
My newborn won’t sleep unless held
It’s normal for your baby to struggle to fall asleep unless held. But if you’re ready for your child to learn to sleep more independently, try the below steps:
Lay your newborn down in their cot or bassinet when they show signs of tiredness to encourage sleep.
Try to establish a good naptime routine. This might look like feeding, reading a book together, and then putting your baby to sleep in their cot or bassinet. To create a calming environment, turn down the lights, turn off any nearby electronics, and use white noise if this is something your baby responds well to.
Whether you’re using the shush-pat or pick-up put-down settling method, slowly begin to give your newborn less attention over time to encourage self-soothing.
Our Swaddle UP™ is designed to encourage a healthy sleep routine by enabling your child to sleep in a more natural ARMS UP™ position. Over time, this will encourage self-soothing – a skill that will enable them to settle themselves back to sleep.
At Love To Dream™, we know that every child is different, and we’re committed to helping you to find the right solution for your family. With you at every step, Love To Dream™ believes today’s little dreamers are the shapers of tomorrow. For further advice from our experts, visit our Sleep Library.