Newborn Sleeping Tips

Author Name: Heidi Holvoet, PhD

When preparing for baby, one thing on your mind will be to have your newborn sleeping well . Some tips to help you make your choices.

How much should a newborn sleep?
In her own crib or co-sleeping?
Is it OK to rock her to sleep?
Wake her up for a feed?
Is it OK to have a newborn crying it out ?
Which baby sleeping products are helpful?
How to teach her to self soothe?

The first weeks with your baby are very special. It's when you have your first encounters and get to know each other. Enjoy these newborn weeks while they last. You can indulge, hold your baby as much as you like. She is too young to be spoilt or learn bad habits, so no need to worry about holding or soothing her too much: you're free to enjoy it without any guilt!

Newborn sleeping near daddy

Most newborns will sleep a lot. 17 hours a day is the average. Average means that there are many babies sleeping much less (down to 11 hours) or even more (up to 23 hours).

To know if your newborn sleeps enough , it's much better just to observe her to see if she is content, check how much sleep is enough for detailed guidelines. If you are unsure or worry, ask here .

Do you have to put your newborn down awake ? Learning to self soothe is indeed an important skill for a baby to learn. Putting her down in her crib awake is the always heard advice for this. For some newborns, this works; they have a natural skill to just lie down and sleep. And that is a wonderful skill you'll want to keep going.

For others though, this advice is a joke (it was for me with my babies!). And at this age, they're too young to be forced (let alone cry it out !). They will easily rock or nurse to sleep , be held a bit and then continue to sleep in their crib. Between 4 and 8 months is when most babies easily do start self soothing . You can then guide them by gently decreasing the holding, rocking or nursing to sleep.

Use effective newborn crying tips to soothe your tiny baby when she cries.

Newborn Sleeping Must-Haves

Basically, there are only two things you need: a safe place to sleep and a dimmable night light .

Whether you want baby sleeping in her own room or cosleeping in your room is a very personal choice. Often also practical matters play a role: do you have a separate room available, and do you have space in your bed or next to your bed for a crib.
And also, when baby is finally there, many parents find themselves doing the exact opposite of what they had planned, just because it feels right at that moment.

In the first weeks and months, having baby in your own room has quite a few advantages . It allows you to respond quickly to baby's needs; you may find you can often soothe her by simply reaching out your hand on her belly, long before she cries or asks for a feeding (a great practice towards self-soothing!). Breastfeeding moms also find it very comfortable not to have to get up completely for night feedings.

Whether co-sleeping or not , the main thing is to create a safe sleeping place . A safe sleeping position (on the back is recommended) and a safe crib are important to avoid injuries and to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Newborn sleeping in cosleeper

As an alternative to in-bed co-sleeping, I can highly recommend a cosleeper . That is a side car bed , attached to your bedside.

It gives baby her own crib space, but she is still near you for feeding, soothing and for you to watch over her.

The other must-have is a night light , preferably one you can dim and brighten as needed. Light and activity cues help steer your newborn's sleep patterns by teaching her the all-important difference between day-and-night.

During night awakenings and feedings, the adjustable nightlight helps you keep the lights dim and still give you enough light to see what you are doing. As baby grows, a dim nightlight will reassure her and keep her from being scared in the dark.

More tips to help your newborn sleeping well in the sleep schedule section.

To find out how to teach your new baby the right sleeping skills now, when it matters most, you may find my free Complete Newborn Sleep Guide helpful.

Article Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD - Founder, senior sleep consultant

Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 15+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.

Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books. Also, Baby Sleep Advice was awarded "Most Trusted Infant's Sleep Solutions Company 2023" in the Benelux Enterprise Awards 2023.

Heidi continually conducts personal research and participates in continued education and in that way stays up to date with current scientific and pyschosocial infant care.

Association of Professional Sleep Consultants

She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.

As well as the award-winning baby sleep programs, Heidi offers popular 1:1 consults and easy-access 30-minute SOS Sleep sessions.