Newborn Baby Total Sleep And Feeding Amounts
In the first 8 weeks, newborns and young infants need 13-16 hours of sleep per day. This sleep will be evenly split between daytime and nighttime, with baby waking about every 2-3 hours to feed. Breastfed newborns and young infants will nurse anywhere from 9-12 times in a 24 hour period. Formula-fed newborns and young infants will need to feed slightly less often, and will need 6-8 feedings per day. Newborns and young infants should not go more than 3-4 hours without a feeding. Nighttime feedings are expected and normal at this age.
Newborn Schedule Suggestions
In the first 8 weeks of life, babies are not ready for a fixed, clock-based schedule. Instead, it is helpful to think about the day in terms of activities and routines. Many babies at this age benefit from an eat-play-sleep routine – baby nurses or has a bottle, engages in a purposeful activity with mom or dad (like reading a book, or having tummy time), and then goes down for nap. An eat-play-sleep routine can help your newborn or young infant develop healthy sleep habits. (Note: if your baby begins to take naps of an hour or more, she may need to switch up the routine and eat about 20 minutes before a nap, so she doesn’t wake from a nap due to hunger. It’s normal for babies this age to eat more frequently in the late afternoon and evening.)
An eat-play-sleep routine during the day can also help sort out any day/night confusion your newborn may be having. By keeping your baby awake to play in a bright room during the day, and then putting her straight back to bed in a dark room after feeds at night, you are helping to gently set her internal clock.
Newborn Awake Time and Sleep Cues
Remember that your baby’s total wake time between naps (wake time includes feeding and play) will vary, based on your baby’s temperament and the time of day, but it should be somewhere between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. As your baby gets older, he should gradually begin to stretch his wake time during the day to more like 2 hours, while also gradually increasing his nighttime sleep. Watch your baby’s wake time closely, and be on the lookout for sleepy cues as well – if your baby is yawning or staring into space, these are good signs that she is tired and is ready for her next nap. Fussing or crying is a late sleepy cue; by the time your baby reaches this point, she is overtired.
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