Sleep medicine

Sleep in newborns (up to 2 months old)

Newborns sleep between 10-19 hours per day, with no regular or defined pattern. For the first few weeks, your baby will sleep for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours at a time. Although, babies who are breastfed tend to sleep for shorter periods than bottle-fed babies do. There will also be little difference between nighttime and daytime sleep patterns in the first few weeks. You will start to see a more regular sleep schedule develop between 2-4 months of age.

Where and how should your baby sleep?

  • Sleeping arrangements: There are many choices where your newborn sleeps, whether in a bassinet or a crib.

  • "Back to sleep:" All babies should be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

  • Learn your baby's signs of being sleepy: Some babies fuss or cry when tired. Some babies roll their eyes, stare off into space or pull on their ears. Your baby will fall asleep more easily and more quickly if you put him or her down to sleep.

  • Encourage nighttime sleep: Many newborns have their days and nights reversed, sleeping much of the day and being awake much of the night. To help your baby sleep more at night, keep lights dim during the night and keep play to a minimum. During the day, play with your baby and be sure to wake him or her regularly for feedings and play time. Morning exposure to natural light can also help.

  • Respond to your baby's sleep needs: Newborns often need to be rocked or fed to sleep. Once your baby is 2 to 3 months old, begin to establish good sleep habits.

  • Develop a bedtime routine: Even babies as young as a few weeks respond well to bedtime routines. Your newborn’s bedtime routine should be soothing.

  • Sleep when your baby sleeps: Parents need sleep also. Try to nap when your baby naps and be sure to ask others for help so that you can get some rest.

Contact your doctor if you are concerned. Babies who are extremely fussy or frequently difficult to console may have a medical problem, such as colic or reflux.