You’ve heard the term, “sleeping like a baby,” so you know that babies must sleep a lot. It’s not unusual to wonder, however, whether your baby is sleeping too much. Newborns need plenty of sleep and spend about 14 to 18 hours a day during the first week asleep. The next few weeks, newborns sleep about 12 to 16 hours a day.
Awake Every Few Hours
Newborns sleep a lot, but they do not sleep for long stretches of time. During the first few weeks, they only sleep in two- to four-hour stretches, day and night, according to the Baby Center website. This makes for a very tiring schedule for you. Your baby may be getting enough sleep, but you probably aren’t. Your baby’s stomach is tiny, and he needs to eat every few hours.
Sleeping More at Night
By the time your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old, she should start sleeping longer at night than during the day. Your baby probably won’t sleep through the night yet, but should be able to sleep more soundly. During these first eight weeks, your baby probably won’t be able to stay awake longer than two hours at a time, according to the Baby Center. If you try to keep your newborn up longer than that, you may overtire her, making it more difficult for her to fall asleep.
Sleeping Through Feedings
If your baby is sleeping through feedings, you should wake him up. You should offer a feeding every three to four hours, according to the Kids Health website. Smaller babies or premature babies may need to eat more often, depending on what your doctor advises.
Difference Between Night and Day
During the day, keep the noise level as you normally have it, but for nighttime feedings, keep the noise level down. Your goal is to establish a nighttime sleeping habit. It’s best not to play with your baby during nighttime feedings. Save all the interaction and play for during the day.
When to Call a Doctor
You should expect your newborn baby to sleep or catnap most of the day. If your baby is uninterested in feedings and is difficult to rouse from sleep, you should call your doctor immediately.