how much sleep should a newborn get

Newborn sleep in the first months of his life is a real test for young parents. Either the baby often wakes up, especially at night, or according to others, sleeps too long, which also can not but worry.


Peaceful baby lying on a bed while sleeping

Immediately make a reservation, we will not write that the child “at such and such an age should sleep so and so”.

Firstly, the baby basically owes nothing to anyone, and secondly, he sleeps just as much as is necessary for his tiny body and general well-being.

There are several important points that determine the quality of this very healthy sleep, so we’ll talk about them in this article.

Phases of sleep newborn

First of all, it is necessary to understand what the dream of man consists of. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to understand whether the child is sleeping enough and why he is sleeping poorly. Therefore, do not ignore this part of the material.

Each person’s sleep, depending on his age and the maturity of the nervous system, is divided into different phases that last from 50 to 120 minutes.

There are the following phases of sleep:

  • slow deep;
  • calm;
  • slow superficial;
  • restless;
  • slow very deep;
  • paradoxical.

Features of the sleep phase of the newborn

A series of restless and restful sleep is characteristic of the youngest children, from birth to about half a year.

In the restless phase of sleep, muscle tone is relaxed and the body of the child is fully rested. At the same time, the tiny brain continues to work at full strength. This is the period when the baby can be easily awakened, speaking sharply and loudly, to shift him from place to place, or even lightly cover him with a blanket.

The phase of restless

The phase of restless sleep of a newborn is 50-60% of the total number of “sleepy hours”.

For the rest of the time there is a phase of slow sleep, which is accompanied by complete peace of mind. The slow phase alternates superficial and deep sleep, in which the child’s breathing is even, the face and body are completely relaxed, and the eyeballs do not move.

Seeing a peacefully sniffling baby, people often repeat: “He is fast asleep.” And there is. Now the baby is unlikely to wake up something. Of course, he can startle from a sharp, loud sound, but this does not mean that one must walk “tiptoeing” around the room without breathing.

The deeper phase

In the deeper phase of paradoxical sleep, the brain is working as if awake. A child dreams of eventful dreams, he “solves complex life problems.” In fact, a small person is somehow unconscious.

Since the baby is born with an imperfect nervous system, it takes time to “debug” all its mechanisms, including the sleep phase. In addition, a complete “restart” of the tiny brain requires a long rest. This phase of sleep and determined.

Moreover, only when the child is 2 years old, his sleep consists of the same phases as that of an adult, and while he is very small, everything is somewhat different.

How long do newborns sleep

After birth, a small person sleeps between 14 and 20 hours a day, an average of 16 hours. This is determined by the individual characteristics of the child (his health, general well-being, psychological comfort) and the fact that for some unknown merits, some of the parents were “lucky” a little more, and someone a little less.

In the first months of life, as in intrauterine life, sleep is the main occupation of the infant. The child can sleep in a row and 5 and 6 hours.

Most important thing during this period is not to wake up the baby even when it seems to you that it is time for him to eat. The child himself knows what and when it is time for him, so do not interfere with his natural biorhythms.

If such a “drowsiness” causes fear in a young mother, she can always talk about it with pediatricians. They will surely reassure the woman and explain to her that to be an incorrigible “sleepy” in the first 2-3 months of life is the absolute norm. Interest in the world around us, a period of revival, when the baby will be interested in everything and everywhere will come closer to 4-5 months.

Why is my baby not sleeping

Next, we will focus on kids who are absolutely healthy (there is no muscle hypertonia, increased intracranial pressure, etc.). These babies are also not deprived of her mother’s arms, strokes and regular communication, as part of an early tactile contact, but for some unknown reason, children often cry, not letting their parents get enough sleep at night.

Some mothers in their hearts repeat: “He does not sleep at all!”. This most often occurs in situations where the baby:

She falls asleep for a very long time in the evening.
The mothers of the “evening crying” say that the child behaves remarkably during the day, but as soon as the evening comes, the kid wakes up in tears for any reason and for no reason too. This situation is typical for a period from 2 weeks to 3 months.

In this situation, it is necessary to provide the child with absolute peace:

Organize complete silence and turn off bright lights. Put the baby on the mother’s breast, not offering it as food, and keep quiet for a while. Sometimes the baby calms down in his own bed. If the baby does not protest, offer a warm bath.

Do not sleep when it is convenient for mom.
Here, perhaps, there are no questions for the baby, but there are questions for his wonderful mother. There are situations when a tired woman has already tuned in to the fact that in 15-20 minutes the baby will go to sleep. Or, it seemed to her that the child was showing signs of fatigue and was ready to fall asleep.

Mom unconsciously rushes these events, because she has already planned to do something or also wants to sleep, but the child “does not give up” and continues to “walk”. And then there is a closed reaction: the mother is nervous, thinking about her unrealizable plans, the child feels this nervousness and can no longer fall asleep.

To correct the situation, mother needs to understand and accept the fact that this is not a child born to prevent her from sleeping, but she decided to give birth to a baby and now her main task is to be with him always and everywhere. And do not count on, live the old life, inscribing the natural biorhythms of sleep in your own schedule.

Do not sleep as long as my mother would like.
The situation is the same as in the previous paragraph. If a woman is ready to admit that the baby does not meet her own expectations for the number of hours spent in a dream, and she is able to change her attitude towards this, the problem is solved by itself. But if mother is nervous every time the baby wakes up at an inconvenient time for her, the nervous atmosphere and frequent “untimely” awakenings will remain. Unfortunately, no matter how much we want to lead a habitual “childless” life, the first year after the birth of a baby is 100% subordinate to him. Take it for granted.

Therefore, do not try to remake the child, but adapt to his natural needs. The baby is not harmful and not capricious, it’s just very, very small, 100% dependent on the mother and knows absolutely nothing about the existing adult rules. Help him grow up in a relaxing, friendly atmosphere next to a loving, not an angry or even angry mother.

Wakes up often, disrupting the phase of maternal sleep.
It happens this way. The child fell asleep, but mother is not. Accordingly, when she goes to bed, the phases of sleep of the mother and the child will already be different.

When the mother, having remade all the important things in her opinion, is fast asleep, the baby will have a good sleep and wake her up at the most inopportune moment. This is a real torture. A woman falls asleep tired and wakes up in exactly the same condition.

Therefore, if you fall down from constant lack of sleep, go to bed with your baby. Believe me, such life tests are not forever, and after a while the child will definitely begin to sleep, giving you the usual things to do. But while the child’s sleep is not stable, fully relax at the same time as the baby.

Does not fall asleep without motion sickness.
Most likely, the parents themselves led to this situation, overly rocking the baby in their arms from the very first days of life. The child perceived it as the only correct ritual of going to bed, therefore he protests.

In this case, you can advise, change the usual course of things before going to bed. For example, transfer the bathing time to earlier or later, swap bathing and relaxing massage in general, or generally, temporarily refuse the bath in favor of rubbing the baby body with a moist muslin diaper. This is a little disorienting kid.

Then breastfeed the baby and gently transfer it to the crib. If the baby protests go to him and make sure that the baby is not naughty in a dream, but really awake, otherwise you will wake him up even more.

If the baby is still awake, talk to him in a calm, gentle voice. Tell that it is time for him to sleep, and mom and dad are near, it means he has nothing to worry about. It is clear that a very small child will not understand a word, but he will catch the benevolent intonation and peaceful tone of her mother’s speech. It calms down.


Wakes up if it is shifted from place to place.
Most often, such nervous awakenings occur at regular intervals and according to the same scenario. This sensitivity suggests that the crumb depends on the conditions of falling asleep. He lost his chest, found himself covered with a blanket, opened his eyes and found himself in a crib, and not near his mother, etc., – all these moments greatly upset the child.

The reason for this behavior lies in the fact that the baby remembers the surrounding atmosphere and the conditions in which he falls asleep, and then, at the end of the phase of REM sleep, wakes up briefly and reacts violently to the changes that have occurred. This behavior is typical for babies older than 6 months.

He sleeps only in his arms.
It seems that in this case you are trying to shift the crumbs in the wrong moment, as in the previous paragraph. The child remembers that he fell asleep in her dear mother’s arms, but was in the crib. He feels the change of place, losing his mother’s smell and the warmth of her body.

In principle, such a reaction is justified, since the constant presence of the cub with the female mother is laid by nature itself. Of course, this is extremely inconvenient, but as long as the baby is very tiny, you can put it on your stomach and sleep peacefully in this position with it. You can also carry a sleeping child in a sling or a special backpack, doing your usual household chores.

Of course, this is not always convenient and far from always possible. Therefore, trying to shift the baby, use a little trick. “Crawling out” from under the baby, leave your robe or, for example, a jacket in which you rocked the little one near (not on the child’s face!). Even if the child wakes up in a brief, restless phase of sleep, the smell of your clothes can confuse him and make you believe that mom is still there.

Sometimes at an older age, to fall asleep quickly, the following causes interfere with the child:

  • falls asleep in a new, unfamiliar place;
  • feels the presence of strangers;
  • reacts to ambient noise;
  • adopts the nervous state of the mother;
  • “digests” the information obtained from a fairy tale or cartoon, etc.

How to understand that the baby is ready to sleep?

Immediately make a reservation that in the process of falling asleep, the child, as well as any adult, is very similar to the passenger preparing for departure from the airport. If he is “late for his plane” – an important phase of falling asleep, then he will be able to “fly away”, that is, fall asleep, only by “next flight” – in the new phase of falling asleep.

For the little ones, such a phase comes to the newborn in 30-40 minutes, to an older child in 2-3 hours, and sometimes later. This means that attempts to put a child to sleep in these “extra” minutes or even hours will not be crowned with nothing more than spoiled nerves of both mother and baby.

Therefore, as soon as you see that the child is showing signs of drowsiness, do everything possible to create an atmosphere around him that makes you sleep.

Most often, babies who dream to sleep:

  • Teasing ears;
  • Looking for her mother’s breast;
  • Rub eyes and nose;
  • Yawn;
  • Put on a nose cloth or diaper;
  • Fill up on the side;
    At older age, they are actively looking for a favorite toy, they pull it to themselves.
    Try to memorize one or more signals through which the baby’s body announces its desire to rest. Also note that children tend to fall asleep instantly, only that they laugh or run, and after a second they are asleep. Therefore, quite often sleeping babies can be found in funny positions: booty up in the crib, on the floor among toys, in the highchair for children, etc.

Helping a newborn sleep

Some specialists or parents use the terms “teach”, “force”, “not to let sleep during the day”, etc. We are in principle against such a rude approach, because a child is primarily a person who is very easy to break by imposing his “convenient” rules and any tough manifestations. Therefore, our recommendations are reduced to parental care, which certainly requires time, effort and patience.

Imagine a newborn who was born from a comfortable mother’s tummy. It was rather dark, quiet and calm. The child basically slept, gaining strength and more often “aktivnichal” at night, just when the woman went to bed. So after birth, for the baby, nothing has changed, he does not understand the difference between night and day, and therefore can sleep for a long time during the day and walk for a while at night.

Of course, this exhausts young parents who repeat: “He confused day with night!” Not confused, for him day and night are one and the same, so if you want to sleep, help your baby figure out how the times of the day differ from each other.

No, we will not offer to retrain a child, not letting him sleep during the day and traumatize his psyche. We will guide the baby and tell you when it is time for him to go to bed.

Her mother’s tips are as follows:

1.We learn to distinguish day from night.

In the morning, getting out of bed, immediately open the curtains, filling the room with bright sunlight.

During the day, when it is light outside, do not close the windows from the sun. Listen to the music, move, show your baby something interesting, gently “muddle” him and make him laugh. Day – time for games and entertainment.

When you see that in the afternoon, the baby is going to take a nap, cover the curtains, isolate the child from noise, carry him to a shady place. Because sleep is when it is quiet and dark.

In the late afternoon, reduce natural light in the rooms. Do not turn on bright lights, loud music and TV in the baby’s room. Even beauty treatments before the evening bath, you can spend with the light of a night lamp. Because the muted light means the approach of sleep. Diaper cocoons or sleeping bags work well when the child does not interfere with his own handles and he is all in a uniform heat.

2. Observe the traditions.

Small children very quickly get used to the traditions, if they are formed and followed not only in words. The same activities or procedures that were held at the same time during the day create a sense of order in the child. Over time, he remembers that before going outside, he will be “tortured” by dressing, you will walk before the arrival of your father, before bathing there will be a massage in the bathroom, and after bathing, mother’s breast.

The fact that one follows from the other also concerns going to bed, the child remembers when and after which he will sleep. Of course, this will not happen in one day, but you also did not immediately know everything.

Traditions and rules, you set the correct and understandable guidelines, and over time, the baby learns to understand what is what. When exactly? When the time comes for each individual child, because he is a living person, not a robot or a doll, which can be easily programmed or equalized.