Babies and Sleep: What To Expect
New parents are often pre-warned about the trials of babies and sleep. Questions start to come up like: When do babies sleep through the night? What is the best sleep position or room temperature? What about night feedings? Thankfully, experts understand the best practices and routines to help you and your baby sleep. You and your little one are in this together! Consider suggestions and form routines that work for you. Read on for information including schedules, hygiene, formula, and more.
What to Expect
From the day your little one is brought into the world, their sleep is a top priority. Newborns sleep around 16 hours throughout the day. As months go by, their sleep schedules will slowly move from sleeping day and night to more sleep at night and less sleep during the day.
Here is a quick rundown of age and total hours of sleep:
- Newborn baby’s sleep about 16 hours total, 8-9 at night, 8 during the day.
- 1-month-old baby’s sleep about 15.5 hours total, 8-9 at night, 7 during the day.
- 3-month-olds baby’s sleep about 15 hours total, 9-10 during the night, 4-5 during the day.
By the time babies are 3 months old, most of them will be able to sleep through the night (while still sleeping during the day).
This makes for quite the change in routine and schedule during the first year plus. The most essential thing throughout this time is controlling what you can to support your child’s sleep.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep
Helping your baby sleep is equal parts getting to know your baby and following safety recommendations.
Firstly, you’ll want to get familiar with the way babies, and specifically, your baby, show signs of sleep readiness. Some common signs a baby is ready to sleep include rubbing their eyes, yawning, looking away, or fussing.
Like any age, the environment we’re in can either help or hinder our ability to sleep (and stay asleep). When it comes to your new baby, sleep position, room temperature, sound, and more can be used to support sleep.
Baby sleep position can make all the difference, especially with safety. Keep your child with you in your room but in their own space, and opt for a firm and flat sleep surface covered by a fitted sheet.
Experts recommend the following guidelines for baby sleep position:
- For the first year of your baby’s life, the baby should be sleeping in their own crib, on their back.
- Do not use form wedges or towel rolls to keep babies on their side.
- Infants should never sleep on pillows, air mattresses, waterbeds, cushions, soft materials, or loose bedding.
- Car seats and infant carriers shouldn’t be used to replace the crib for your baby’s sleep.
- Never nap or sleep with your baby or let your baby sleep alone on a couch, sofa, or armchair.
- Consider dressing your baby in sleepers to avoid using blankets.
If you have questions about these guidelines, seek assistance from your pediatrician.
A cozy baby is a sleepy baby. Sleep recommendations for all ages include a calm, dark environment for sleep. The exact advice for baby room temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why does room temperature matter? Overheating is linked to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and like anyone, discomfort interferes with sleep!
The best way to find a temperature that works is to experience the temperature yourself and assume they feel how you feel. Be sure to monitor the thermostat and adjust it as you see fit. Keep in mind that temperature changes may be in order if windows are open or extreme temperatures outdoors.
Like adults, loud or unexpected sounds during sleep are scary and interfere with quality sleep and length of sleep. Therefore, keeping the room your baby sleeps in quiet is a top priority.
With that said, you may find your little one falls and stays asleep best with white noise. White noise is a sound that masks other sounds that naturally occur. For example, it can drown out the television noise in another room or car traffic outside.
Decades-old studies show promise for white noise in settling fussy babies and helping babies sleep.
- Pros of white noise: Linked to settling fussy babies, linked to shorter time falling asleep, can mask household or outdoor noise.
- Cons of white noise: May lead to dependency on white noise for sleep, may exceed recommended noise limits for babies, not all babies respond well.
Balancing your little ones’ sleep and feeding schedules can be a little stressful. Remember this one tip: A well-fed baby will sleep longer.
Breastfed babies feed about every 2-3 hours, while bottle-fed babies feed about every 3-4 hours. Newborns should be woken up to feed every 3-4 hours to help with weight gain.
Unfortunately, feedings don’t pause during the night hours. Especially as a newborn, feedings need to be regular throughout the day and night. Night feedings mean you’ll wake up your baby if needed to feed them, when your baby is sleepy or falling asleep.
Night feeding doesn’t last forever! Once babies can sleep through the night (6-8 hours straight), it’s okay to start weaning off the night feedings. This is typically after 3 months old, usually between 4-6 months old.
At this point, babies are at their recommended weight for their age and are sleeping for long stretches, meaning night feedings aren’t needed.
Formula Babies Sleep
Opinions differ, but we like to keep the rule of thumb: If your baby is getting enough to eat, then they can sleep through the night.
Regardless of whether your baby is breastfeeding only, formula, or supplementing with formula, the focus is on getting your baby fed.
If you’re not producing enough milk, supplementing with formula can help. Consult your pediatrician for recommendations for your unique experience.
When deciding to supplement with formula, choose the best formula in the world: European organic baby formula!
Supporting Baby Sleep
Among all the recommendations and guidelines of experts is the connection between you and your baby. Find a groove that works for you and your baby, taking safety and practicality into account. Keep in mind, sleep struggles may be beyond your control. Consult your pediatrician if you have concerns or are looking to supplement or switch to organic formula.