Newborn and Baby Sleep Basics

How much sleep do babies need?

Babies have different sleep requirements depending on age and stage. Here's a baby sleep chart that shows how much sleep they actually need for their health and development.

Newborn to 3 months

  • Recommended total sleep per day: 14–17 hours
  • Acceptable range: Not less than 11 hours or more than 19 hours 
  • Nighttime sleep: 8–9 hours (waking up every 2–3 hours to feed)
  • Naps: 7–9 hours (3–5 naps)

4 to 11 months 

  • Recommended total sleep per day: 12–15 hours
  • Acceptable range: Not less than 10 hours or more than 18 hours 
  • Nighttime sleep: 8–10 hours
  • Naps: 4–5 hours (2–3 naps)

How to get your newborn to sleep

Sometimes it's hard to fall asleep in strange places — especially when home was a warm, dark and very cozy womb. When it comes to adjusting to life on the outside, your infant might appreciate sleep-enhancers that remind him of "home."

Try any or all of these baby sleep strategies to make sending your baby off to dreamland a little bit easier.

Follow safe sleep guidelines

How your baby lies down and gets to sleep is a matter of safety, not just comfort. Put your newborn flat on his back in his crib, bassinet or play yard without any loose bedding, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or crib bumpers.

Experts also recommend room-sharing until baby is at least 6 months old. These safe sleep practices prevent overheating and suffocation, and reduce the risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.

Try a massage

To help him drift off, give your baby an infant massage. Studies suggest that babies who are massaged before bed may produce more of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin. And it’s a nice way for you to bond with your little night owl.

Swaddle and keep him cozy

After spending nine months in a tight tummy, it’s no surprise that your newborn prefers a snug space now. Sure, he’ll grow into (and out of) the crib eventually, but for now, he might prefer sleeping in a bassinet or cradle, which offers your baby a cozier, more contained space to settle into.

Swaddling your baby with a blanket or dressing him in a sleep sack will offer an extra dose of security — and may even help him sleep a little longer. Just be sure to stop swaddling by the time he's 3 or 4 months old, when he can roll over and wriggle out of his swaddle or blanket.

Play white noise

Silence is golden, but not for most babies. Your newborn is used to your stomach’s symphony of gurgles and the beat of your heart. He might find the hum of a fan, soft music or a white noise machine or app very soothing.

On the other hand, he might prefer the sound of silence, like many adults. In that case, just keep it quiet in the nursery.

Temper the temperature in his room

Not too hot and not too cold — that’s the right climate for Baby Bear’s room. Why? Overheating may make your baby too sweaty to sleep, and it increases the risk of SIDS. As for too-cold rooms, infants get chilled easily, and will likely wake up if they’re uncomfortable.

Between 68 and 72 degrees usually does the trick. To figure out if the temperature is just right for baby, feel his neck. If it’s sweaty, he’s too hot; if it’s cold to the touch, bundle him up a bit more. But don't dress baby in layers or a hat for sleeping.

Dim the lights

Even though some babies can doze off anywhere, it’s probably better to dim the lights and create a dark, sleep-inducing atmosphere. The faster your baby learns that darkness signals slumber, the sooner he’ll start sleeping through the night.

Wait out those whimpers

Don't pick up your little one at the slightest stirring — wait until it’s clear that he's awake and ready for a feed or attention.

Back to blog