A Newborn Sleep Schedule for an Optimal Day/Night Rhythm
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
The baby sleep schedule for a newborn comes quite naturally at
Ideal now is to support
her natural newborn
sleep patterns and gently instill
a good day-and-night
Especially during the first days, sometimes weeks,
most babies are barely awake when not feeding. They'll feed, sleep,
feed, sleep, etc.
Please don't feel
uncomfortable if your little one does not seem to behave like "most
When I mention "most babies" I mean what is typical, on average, at
But of course there are always many many cases on
either side of the average. And those babies are still very normal!
a comfort, remember: "most
behave like "most babies" ...
on demand or on a feeding schedule, the
feeding times vary quite a bit in these first weeks. Sleeping simply
folds around feeding ... and you probably find a newborn sleep schedule
In fact, it's better not to interfere with the
newborn development too much
while she is still fully establishing her newborn sleep
But what *is* important is to give your newborn a feel of day
and night. A baby is not born with the day/night rhythm
established. It is the first thing to be learned about sleep.
Use these steps to help your baby discover
the difference between day and night:
your day and night times.
No need to be very strict but roughly decide
on a time when the day starts and ends. For example your day could
start around 7am and end at around 7pm. Each feeding in between will be
a night feeding.
Day/Night Cues - Top tip!
dim and activity to the lowest
during these night
feedings. In other words: during the night, keep it
functional: not too many smiles, not much talking, change her diaper
really necessary ...
Leave active feeding and playing sessions
to the day - when I bet you'll feel more like it yourself as well. This
will be a key part of each baby sleep schedule at any age.
course you choose times that suit you well.
And no worries: this is not about deciding
when your baby will go to bed when older. It's just for you to have a
regularity guideline right now. And for baby to get into the rhythm.
waking your baby up for a feeding.
If she usually feeds at a given time but is
fast asleep, it's best to let her sleep. She needs time to find her
sleep/wake pattern and that is best developed naturally.
Look for sleepy
signs, listen to her
breath when she just fell asleep and also when she is in a deep sleep,
how does she wake up (rubbing her eyes, turning her head left-to-right,
...)? This will help you arrange
a good newborn sleep schedule.
No worries if you can't seem to read and interpret
your newborn baby's signs easily!
To tell you the truth: most
parents find that
very hard to do - even if many books make us believe "good
Just observe, it's fun to do and somehow you
from it! Trust your instincts, somehow you will get a feel for when she
needs to sleep, or
is not tired at all, or overtired. And you'll use this as she grows
out of the newborn phase ...
Remember to stay relaxed about sleep and
as much as you can: she's only a newborn for
such a short time ...
You will soon find a
bit more rhythm in the schedule towards 4 months.