The first 3 months of newborn life are about surviving and bonding with your new baby. Remember to give yourself grace. The time to get baby on a schedule will happen soon, but for now, just focus on a consistent eat, play, sleep routine and try putting baby down awake but drowsy. If awake but drowsy is too much, don't worry - you can always establish a healthy sleep foundation and sleep train after baby is 16 weeks adjusted age.
Every baby is very different, but on average, newborns 0 to 3 months old will sleep about 15 to 18 hours in a 24-hour period, and even more so in those first few days. About half of that sleep is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, where the brain is more active. REM sleep is a lighter sleep stage which babies can easily wake from. The other half of that sleep is spent in regenerative sleep (“slow wave” sleep) where the body can repair and regenerate for growth and development.
Newborns tend to sleep in short spurts of 30 minutes up to 3 hours because of this, and you will feel like you’re in an endless “eat, sleep, poop” loop. That’s totally normal! It may be tempting to try to get baby on a schedule right away, but remember that newborn sleep is disorganized and erratic and your baby is not able to stick to a schedule at this point.
During these first few months your goal should be to:
Help baby’s internal clock sync with days and nights
Work on putting baby down drowsy but awake
Establish an Eat, Play, Sleep routine
Common newborn sleep mistakes
Too many things on/in baby’s crib - decorations, bumpers, pillows, blankets, toys, etc. These are unsafe and can be a distraction when trying to sleep.
Keeping baby too warm in blankets/clothing. Take a look at some of my favorite sleep sacks and swaddles here!
Not establishing a distinction between night and day early on.
Not keeping up with tummy time and instead letting newborns stay on their backs all the time.
Above all, be patient with yourself and give yourself grace. You're adjusting to a whole new life with a brand new, tiny person. It really does get easier. Try your best to savor these sweet newborn days and all the newborn snuggles.
Need more help?
Download my Newborn Survival Guide for more info and tips on:
troubleshooting shorts naps
where baby should sleep and more!
If you need help sorting through your baby's sleep, set up a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss my sleep solutions!