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Baby Sleep Simplified: Newborn Sleep Schedules + Patterns

With a baby on the way, or perhaps just arrived, you have probably been warned about the sleepless nights in your near future. Every parent knows that sleep-deprivation is just part of the package – but don’t worry, the priceless, magical moments you spend with your baby in their first few weeks make it all worth it.

We’ve broken down newborn sleep patterns to give you suggested newborn sleep schedules all the way through your baby’s first year. We’ll also answer all your questions revolving around newborn sleep - like, how much sleep do they actually need? How can I make sure my baby becomes a “good sleeper” and more! Click the links below to skip to the sample baby sleep schedules:

0-6 Weeks Newborn Sleep Schedule
2 to 3 Months Baby Sleep Schedule
4 to 6 Months Baby Sleep Schedule
6 to 10 Months Baby Sleep Schedule
10 to 12 Months Baby Sleep Schedule

First, let’s get the most important question answered and out of the way:

Will I ever sleep again?

The answer is...YES! Having a newborn baby is exhausting - we know! But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel! Our newborn sleep schedules will help you decode your baby’s sleep and guide you along the way to “sleep success” (A.K.A. a peaceful ☺, full-night’s sleep EVERY. NIGHT.). It will take patience, but our newborn sleep schedules will help you get there.

Newborn sleep schedules to help you and baby sleep better

How do I make sure my baby gets the right amount of sleep?

Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little, or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Newborn babies need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.

Over stimulation can prevent babies from getting enough sleep

If your newborn baby becomes overtired (meaning they’ve been awake too long between naps) they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. We’ve given age-targeted tips to help avoid overstimulation and improve your baby’s sleep in the sleep schedules below. For more information on how much sleep your baby needs and how long they should be sleeping at a time (as well as when you should consider waking your baby to feed) read How Much Do Newborns Sleep?

Learning your baby's sleep cycle

While your baby has your nose or eyes, when it comes to sleep cycle, the two of you couldn't be farther apart! The main reason your newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable is because of their evolving sleep cycle.

Adults can easily pass from one sleep cycle into the next without completely waking up. Newborns, however, don’t stay in deep sleep (REM sleep) for long periods at a time, so they are more susceptible to frequent wake-ups. Our post, Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle, explains more in-depth about how your baby’s sleep cycle is linked to their sleep patterns.

Around 3 or so months, your baby’s sleep cycle will change to look a little more like yours, which is why this is the same age you’ll notice more stable and predictable sleeping patterns emerge. Unfortunately, shortly after 3 months into the 4th month, your baby also goes through many physiological changes, which may affect their sleep cycle and patterns; commonly called the 4 month sleep regression.

To learn more about the changes to your baby’s sleep cycle and how to cope with sleep regression, read our post 10 Tips to Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression.

How much sleep does my baby need?

The short answer: A LOT. Your newborn will spend the majority of time sleeping, and the rest of their time eating - this is especially true for the first few weeks. As a newborn, your baby will sleep up to 18 hours for every 24 hour period - in their first few days of being alive, they’ll sleep even more! Of course, as your baby grows they’ll need less and less sleep each day. Our newborn sleep schedules break it down for you.

Wondering if your newborn is sleeping too much? Want to learn more about how much your newborn should sleep and why? We’ve got answers in our article How Much Do Newborns Sleep?

Newborn sleep schedules

0-6 Weeks: sleep survival

Your newborn baby's sleep patterns: look irregular and erratic. This is the true “newborn” stage. Like we mentioned, your baby will be spending most of their time sleeping, only waking to eat.

From the experts

“Up to 6 weeks it is typical that little ones are unable to stay up beyond the 35 to 40 minute mark. This means that they are essentially awake to get cleaned up, put on a new outfit, get a full feed, get cleaned up again, get another new outfit, and then nap again! Sometimes there isn't even time for the wardrobe change! Around 6 weeks, this awake threshold is right around 45 minutes, which still goes quickly!”

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting

The biggest challenge: You’ll feel like you’re in a constant eat-sleep-poop cycle. This is usually the most exhausting stage for parents, as you’ll only ever get a few hours of sleep at a time. This is why we’ve named this the “sleep survival” stage. During this time, focus on making sure your baby gets all the sleep, love, and care they need - that’s what’s most important. Avoid introducing sleep aids or associations if you can, but ultimately, just do what you need to do to make sure your baby AND YOU are getting enough rest.

Baby sleep schedule: 0-6 weeks 

Your day should start around...

7 AM

Total hrs of sleep (in a 24-hr period)

15 to 18 hours

Naps

3 to 5 naps, each 15 minutes to 3 hours long

Time awake between sleeps

30 minutes to 1 hour 

Longest stretch of nighttime sleep

2 to 4 hours 

Bedtime should be around...

9:30 to 11 PM

When to feed: Whenever baby needs it - which will be often! Their tiny stomachs can only hold so much, so expect to feed any time they wake up!

From the experts

During this phase of adjusting to life with new baby, it is most important to ensure that their feed and sleep needs are being met. The only "sleep rule" for this young age, is to ensure that baby is sleeping in a safe sleep environment without added items in their crib or bassinet, and laid flat on their back. If ever in question, remember the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone, on their Backs in an empty Crib or bassinet!"

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting

Zen tip: Take time to help your newborn clear up any day/night confusion. At this age, it’s too early to have a super structured sleep schedule. While you can start implementing a simple bedtime routine, your baby is just going to sleep whenever they feel like it. Instead, teaching them the difference between day and night (that’s right - all babies need to LEARN the difference!) by keeping days bright and full of activity and nights dark, calm, and quiet, you’ll help them make an association that will help them sleep better as they grow.

From the experts

“One of the best ways to clear up the day/night confusion common during weeks 0 to 12, or the 4th trimester, is to expose baby to natural light during the daytime and keep them in a dark room during the night to allow their circadian rhythm and hormone (melatonin and cortisol to name a few) levels to start to adjust to life outside the womb. I always recommend to my prenatal and newborn clients that feeding their new baby the first feed of the day occurs in a room with as much natural light as possible, rather than in a dark bedroom or nursery. This tiny trick can make a big difference in expediting how our little bundles adjust to the day and night needs.”

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting

2-3 Months: sleep learning

Your newborn’s sleep pattern: is starting to emerge into a true pattern! She’s probably able to stay awake a little longer between sleeps, and you’re getting an idea of the times she starts to get sleepy. Still, your baby probably won’t be awake for more than a couple hours at a time.

From the experts

Even at 3 months old, the total time that babies are able remain awake without becoming overstimulated or overtired is only 1.5 hours. Remember this is time spent awake from the end of one nap to the start of the next, and it should include a full feed! Though this is a big jump from the quick 45 minutes at 6 weeks old, it still can speed by for a lot of parents, especially if they are trying to fit in running errands or taking care of things around the house. In these cases, it can be helpful to set an alarm or timer when baby gets up from their nap to help remind parents when it is time to start the next one!”

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting

The Biggest Challenge: You are EXHAUSTED from those first 6 weeks of constant ups and downs. You’re ready to get your baby sleeping for longer stretches - especially at night! But it’s not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. During the “sleep survival” stage, you may have introduced some habits that aren’t sustainable in the long run, like feeding or rocking to sleep. Starting to introduce good sleep habits at this point will help lay the foundation for healthy sleep patterns.

From the experts

Nighttime sleep can consolidate early, especially if newborns learn the skill of connecting sleep cycles without being fed to sleep from an early age. I have worked with many families that approach a solid 6 hour stretch of sleep after bedtime by 6 weeks old.”

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting

Baby sleep schedule: 2-3 months 

Your day should start around...

6 to 6:30 AM

Total hrs of sleep (in a 24-hr period)

14 to 16 hours

Naps

3 to 4 naps, each 30 minutes to 3 hours long

Time awake between sleeps

45 minutes to 2 hours

Longest stretch of nighttime sleep

3 to 6 hours

Bedtime should be around...

8 to 10 PM 

When to Feed: Your baby’s stomach is a little bigger now, so they’ll stay full for longer, but babies at this age still typically need to be fed every few hours - including throughout the night.

Zen tip: Here’s when you can start implementing a bedtime routine. You’ve probably already picked up on the things that seem to soothe your baby. Stories? Baths? Swaddling? Try some different calming activities out and develop a nighttime routine that helps relax your baby and prepare them for sleep. Having a consistent routine is SO important for healthy sleep.

The Zen Swaddle makes a great addition to any bedtime routine. It’s gently weighted center and sides help soothe babies more than a traditional swaddle blanket. The weight helps to mimic your touch, so they can feel your loving embrace, even once you put them down to sleep. Additionally, the Zen Swaddle is effective in combating Moro Reflex, which is prevalent in most babies until 5 to 6 months old.  

Sweeter Sleep Story

“We love our Zen Swaddle! Emma Grace sleeps like a "baby" in her sweet pink swaddle. The weighted center works just like a hand gently resting on her chest. As soon as we finished swaddling her, she was ready to sleep. It works!"

- Susan R., 3/19/2018

Read more reviews  


Zen Swaddle®: mimics your touch for improved sleep

Shop Zen Swaddles


Additionally, take note of your baby’s
sleepiness cues. You don’t want to let your baby get overtired. Knowing and noticing their sleepiness cues will help you put them to bed while they’re drowsy and awake (another tip for good sleep!) and avoid an overtired baby.

4-6 Months: establishing healthy sleep habits 

Your newborn’s sleep patterns: might appear to be changing. The 4 to 6 month mark is a time of transition for your baby - especially when it comes to their sleep! These transitions cause sleep to look very different depending on the baby. Some babies might be down to just 2 naps per day, others will still be fighting to get their baby to sleep during naptime (read our Naptime Guide for tips). Some babies will be experiencing a sleep regression due to changes in their sleep cycle (read more about the 4 month sleep regression) while others could potentially be sleeping through the night.

Regardless of what your baby’s sleep looks like from 4-6 months, know that a full night’s sleep is finally within your reach! In When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night, we explain when you can expect your baby to start sleeping through the night based on certain developmental milestones, most of which are passed around 4-6 months old.

The Biggest Challenge: Transitions will be your biggest challenge during this time. Whether it’s a visible transition, like transitioning out of swaddling or moving from the bassinet or Rock-N-Play to the crib, or a transition you might not be able to see, like the changes to their sleep cycle, know that these transitions are temporary, therefore, so are the associated challenges. Luckily, we have many resources that can guide you through these transitions:

Learn When to Stop Swaddling and about our 4-Step Swaddle Transition Plan

Learn 10 Tips to Survive the 4 Month Sleep Regression

Some parents also seek out a sleep coach or start sleep training around this age. If you’d like to learn more about sleep training and what it is, check out our Sleep Training Guide.

Baby sleep schedule: 4-6 months

Your day should start around...

7 to 8 AM

Total hrs of sleep (in a 24-hr period)

12 to 15 hours

Naps

Usually 3 naps, each 1 to 3 hours long

Time awake between sleeps

1.5 to 2.5 hours

Longest stretch of nighttime sleep

4 to 8 hours 

Bedtime should be around...

8:30 to 9:30 PM

When to Feed: Your babies feedings are probably consolidated by now, but that still means you’re feeding 5 to 6 times throughout the day. Many babies also still have at least one nighttime feed at this age - but it might not be necessary. Check with your pediatrician to make sure it’s safe to start weaning the night time feed(s) and then follow our Zen Tip to break the association.


Zen Tip: Now is the time to start breaking sleep associations. A sleep association could be anything that aids your baby in falling asleep. Some sleep associations, such as swaddling or white noise, are positive. Others, like rocking or nursing to sleep, are negative because they aren’t sustainable. All babies need to learn to self soothe at some point, and slowly breaking negative sleep associations is the first step. Once they no longer rely on any outside help to fall asleep, they’ll be able to learn to fall asleep independently. If you’re feeding your baby to sleep, start weaning from feedings by shortening them. If you’re rocking her to sleep, rock her for shorter periods of time before putting her down.

The Zen Sack can be especially helpful in breaking sleep associations and overcoming transitions. The Zen Sack’s gently weighted center offers a similar comfort and pressure to swaddling, making it the ideal swaddle transition product. Additionally, the weighted center mimics your touch, which can help babies relax and begin learning to self soothe.

Zen Sack Classic Stardust Pink

Sweeter Sleep Story

“My 3 month old daughter would not sleep in her own bed. Her dad or I would have to stay up all night, holding her, and we were exhausted. Every time we laid her down she would wake up! Once we started with the Zen Sack, immediately things started changing for us. Not only is our little girl sleeping in her own bed, she will also fall asleep on her own! Thanks Nested Bean!"

- Chelsey C., 4/15/2018

Read more reviews  


Zen Sack™: aids in breaking sleep associations and learning transitions

Shop Zen Sacks

6-10 Months: finding sleep success

Your baby’s sleep pattern: is completely unique! During this time, there’s one thing we can’t stress enough: EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT! Some babies progress faster than others - so while your baby might still only sleep 4 hour stretches at night, your friend’s baby might have been sleeping through the night for a month now.

If you are just beginning to implement a consistent bedtime routine, learning your baby’s sleepiness cues, and starting to break sleep associations, then it’s going to take your baby a little longer to reach the sleeping through the night milestone - but that’s okay! You should still see a distinct sleeping pattern at this age, and you can use that to start implementing all the Zen Tips you might have missed until now (look back at the other ages’ sleep schedules to review them).

The Biggest Challenge: Sleeping Through the Night. Some parents might have gotten lucky and their baby is already sleeping through the night at this point! Other parents are still patiently waiting. If you’re part of the second group, don’t stress. Many babies don’t sleep through the night until after 6 months old. First, review our article When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night to make sure your baby has passed the developmental milestones necessary to start sleeping through the night.

If they have, wonderful! Now you can move on to our 8 Solutions To Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night to help overcome this challenge. Also know that according to the National Sleep Foundation, 70-80% of babies are sleeping through the night by 9 months old - so chances are a good night’s sleep is just around the corner!  

Baby sleep schedule: 6-10 months

Your day should start around...

7 AM

Total hrs of sleep (in a 24-hr period)

11 to 15 hours

Naps

2 or 3 naps, each 1 to 3 hours long

Time awake between sleeps

2 or 3 hours

Longest stretch of nighttime sleep

5 to 10 hours

Bedtime should be around...

8 to 9:30 PM

When to Feed: Some pediatricians recommend adding in solid foods at 6+ months old. You’ll still be breast or bottle feeding up to 5 times per day, but also supplementing with solid foods. To learn more about what solid food servings should look like, consult your pediatrician.


Zen tip
:
Now that you’ve started breaking sleep associations, you’ll need to help teach your baby to self soothe. Here’s what you can do: Remember those sleepiness cues? Use those to make sure you are putting your baby to sleep drowsy, but awake. Putting her down while she’s still awake will help her practice falling asleep on her own.  If you are still trying to wean night time feedings, give a dream feed a try, or keep cutting back on feeding time.

You can also use the Zen Sack to teach your baby to self soothe. Start by putting them down drowsy but awake in their Zen Sack. Then gently pat or rub the weighted center of the Zen Sack with your hand to help them make the association between the weight and your touch. Let them drift off to sleep, and if they wake up and cry out for you, just pat the weighted center again to soothe them. Try to avoid picking them up, as that can sometimes just re-stimulate them. The gentle pressure from the weighted center helps calm babies and they can use it to soothe themselves back to sleep without your help. You may even notice that your baby starts patting the weighted center themself to soothe back to sleep!

Learn more about how to teach self-soothing with the Zen Sack here.

Some parents decide to try sleep training around this age. To learn more, check out our Sleep Training Guide.

Sweeter Sleep Story

“My baby sleeps really well when she has her Zen Sack on. She likes to stroke the front of the sack while she falls asleep. I really like that it gives her the reassurance of a light when on her chest when I move her from lap to crib, which we all know is the most crucial part of getting the baby to sleep!"

- Velda M., 3/14/2018

Read more reviews  


Zen Sack™: Gently weighted center helps your baby self soothe

Shop Zen Sacks

10-12 Months: avoiding sleep setbacks 

Your baby’s sleep patterns: look a bit more like an adults - except for the naps ;) Most likely, your baby is starting to sleep through the night, taking a couple naps a day and is spending much more of their time playing and exploring instead of sleeping!

The Biggest Challenge: At this stage, your biggest challenge will be any potential setbacks. Sleep regressions commonly occur at 8, 9, or 10 months old, and some babies even experience sleep regressions at 12 months old (when they’re getting ready to drop the 2nd nap). Different milestones, changes to routine or environment, and separation anxiety are some of the causes of sleep regressions or setbacks at this age. Read more about each type of sleep regression in Surviving Sleep Regressions.

Baby sleep schedule: 10-12 months

Your day should start around...

6 to 7:30 AM

Total hrs of sleep (in a 24-hr period)

11 to 14 hours

Naps

1 or 2 naps, each 1 to 2 hours long

Time awake between sleeps

2.5 to 3.5+ hours

Longest stretch of nighttime sleep

7 to 12 hours

Bedtime should be around...

8 to 9 PM

When to Feed: Usually you’ll still nurse or bottle feed 3 to 4 times per day, and supplement with solid foods. You may notice an increase in appetite around 10 months old due to the increase in your baby’s activity levels. This might require extra snacks throughout the day. Most babies are able to sleep through the night without a feeding at this age.


Zen tip
:
If your baby does experience a sleep setback during this time, it can be especially frustrating, not to mention, discouraging. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, they suddenly stop sleeping through the night or they hate naps all of a sudden.

From the experts

Responding with consistency and holding your baby to their personal best is a great way to overcome sleep setbacks as quickly as possible. It is important to minimize the confusion that our children experience by staying consistent in the messages we send them, in sleep and beyond!”

- Brittney Stefanic, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting
For help with naptime, read How to Get My Baby to Nap


For help with sleep regressions, read
Surviving Sleep Regressions.

For additional sleep tips, read 7 Tips and Tricks on How to Get My Baby to Sleep.

For information on sleep training, read our Sleep Training Guide.

Baby sleep safety

No matter what age or stage your baby is at, it’s important to make sure their sleeping safely. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your baby should always be placed on their back to sleep and the sleep surface should be firm and clear of all loose objects, including bedding, blankets, toys, stuffed animals, etc.

To learn more about baby sleep safety, especially when your baby starts to roll over, read Safe Sleep: Baby Sleeping on Side or Stomach.

To learn more about the AAP’s guidelines, visit How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained.

Sleeping through the night

While we walked you through the baby sleep schedules above, we explained that sleeping through the night happens around 6 months or older for most babies. Most babies will start sleeping longer stretches around the 6 week mark, but for some babies, the 4 to 6 week mark is the onset of colic or disruptive sleep due to other reasons. But it won’t last forever- I promise. Stay consistent with the feeding and sleep schedule, adapt to your baby’s changes and most importantly institute that consistent bedtime routine of bathing, reading, feeding, rocking. Before you know it, your baby will be sleeping through the night.

At 3-4 months old, your baby will still wake up once or twice to be fed, but the sleep stretches in-between will increase to 4-6 hours. You’ll see their number of naps reduce during the day, but again, the stretches of sleep will be longer. Remember that trying to implement a later bedtime for your baby in the hopes that they will sleep later will not work. Your baby needs to be put down before they are overtired and will wake on their own schedule – whether that’s 4 a.m. or 7 a.m. Refer back to our newborn sleep schedules for a suggested bedtime, or check out our Age-by-Age Bedtime Chart.

In fact, don’t be surprised if around 12 to 15 weeks, you find yourself crawling out of bed at all hours of the night to go check on your little one, who (to your surprise) is sleeping soundly! This is an adjustment for you just as much as your baby. Once you get used to waking up to calm or feed your baby every few hours, it can feel really odd not to once it stops - sometimes even alarming.

From the founder

"Once I finally got our first son sleeping for those longer stretches, I still found myself waking up to go check on him and make sure he was okay. I even called our pediatrician to make sure nothing was wrong! She congratulated and assured me that it meant ‘He is getting good nutrition during daytime. Good job mom! Go get some sleep!’”

- Manasi Gangan, Founder & President, Nested Bean

Read When Do Babies Sleep Through the night to find out when you can expect your baby to sleep through the night based on the milestones he or she has reached.

Read 8 Solutions to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night for additional tips on getting your baby to finally sleep all the way through the night.

 

Ultimately, these baby sleep schedules are just suggestions. Every baby is different. We can’t stress that enough. So, don’t compare your baby’s sleeping habits to another baby’s because they WILL be different. Like we said, some babies start sleeping for longer stretches right at six weeks (even earlier in some cases!) while other babies will take much longer to reach this milestone.

From the founder

"Our first son slept through the night by 12 weeks while our second son was such a poor sleeper that he inspired me to create the Zen Swaddle. Every baby is completely different!"

- Manasi Gangan, Founder & President, Nested Bean

Ultimately, YOU know what’s best for your baby, and YOU know when there’s something wrong. Don’t be stressing out when at 7 weeks your baby is still sleeping for 3 or 4 hours at a time while your friend’s baby is already sleeping through the night. If your instincts are telling you something’s up, call your pediatrician. But otherwise, just keep implementing those healthy sleep habits, sticking to your routine, and using your Zen Swaddle!