Except for a rare few, unfortunately, newborns generally don’t come out on a schedule. Newborns can be very unpredictable which can make becoming a parent even more challenging. A newborn’s sleep schedule is something you must craft and massage until you get it right. Today, I’m going to share tips to help get your newborn on a daytime sleep schedule. 

1. Fix Baby’s Day/Night Confusion

When your baby is in the womb, it can lull them to sleep when you’re walking around. That’s why just as you lay down to go to sleep at night, your baby might start moving, kicking, and keep you awake! So, when they are first born, newborns often have their days and nights mixed up. We call this newborn day/night confusion

This typically resolves itself on its own but can linger if you’re not careful. Make sure you limit any single nap to two hours and keep the baby up for at least 30 minutes to help reset their internal clock. You can use the SlumberPod to help with this by keeping your baby in a darkened space during sleep times but exposing them to indirect light during awake periods. This will help their brain adjust to the outside world and sort out day from night.

Also, consider that a newborn’s true bedtime will be late, at first since they will only sleep 8-9 hours at a time (waking every 2 hours for feedings.) So, treat anything before 10 PM as a “nap” in the early days until you start to notice your baby treating their last nap as bedtime. This usually happens around 3 months old. 

2. Keep Awake Time Short

Newborns need to sleep 14-16+ hours a day until they are 3-4 months old. So, you would think they can stay awake a long time. After all, when we take a long nap, we aren’t tired enough to sleep. Not true for babies!

Babies are learning so much at a rapid rate. Everything is very new and stimulating. So, one of the best things you can do is offer your newborn a nap or bedtime within just 1-2 hours of being awake. Many newborns will only stay awake just 45-60 minutes at a time. 

Some babies are more easily stimulated than others especially when they are very perceptive and alert! The benefit of keeping their awake time short is that babies typically sleep better when they are NOT overtired. Ironically, we all have an easier time falling asleep when we are tired but not exhausted. When we are exhausted, we can become wired and sleep more fitfully. So, keep the awake time short for your newborn for better sleep!

3. Adjust the Sample Sleep Schedules to Fit Your Baby

There are hundreds of sample sleep schedules you can use for your newborn, but your baby is unique in many ways, including how much sleep they need or how long they can be awake at a time. While some newborns will only stay awake 45 minutes at a time, others will stay awake 1 hour 45 minutes. Some babies will have a consistent awake time, while others might stay awake longer and longer as the day goes on. So, while you use sample newborn sleep schedules as a guide, be sure to recognize that you know your baby best, and you may need to massage the schedule. Here is a sample newborn schedule base to massage and make your own:


Time

Activity

7:00 AM (try to start the day within the same 30-minute window)

Wake and Milk

8:30 AM

Nap (30-90 minutes)

9:30 AM

Milk

11:00 AM

Nap (30-90 minutes)

12:00 PM

Milk

1:30 PM

Nap (30-90 minutes)

2:30 PM

Milk

4:00 PM

Nap (30-45 minutes)

5:00 PM

Milk

6:30 PM

Nap (30-45 minutes)

7:30 PM

Milk (Cluster Feed)

8:30 PM

Milk (Cluster Feed)

8:30 PM

Nap (30-45 minutes)

10:00 PM

Milk and Bedtime

1:00 AM

Milk

4:00 AM

Milk


Again, keep in mind that newborns generally can’t be on a strict schedule, and every day can be different. Their central nervous system will mature, and sleep will begin to organize around 3-5 months old. While sleep can get bumpy around the four-month sleep regression, your baby will be on a schedule in no time with time and your proactive-ness!


Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep.” If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help! Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today.

 

Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees, and/or contractors.

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Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod Pet (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.

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