What can I expect in the first few weeks with my newborn? #
Know that having a newborn is a big adjustment, whether it’s your first, second, or fifth! You’ll find yourself asking “Is this normal?” probably more than you expected. From the many different colors and consistencies you see during diaper changes (hint: Yellow, green, and brown can all be normal!) to questions like “Will I Ever Sleep Again?” Can I let you in on a little secret? Your baby doesn’t know what they’re doing either. You’re figuring it out together.
When it comes to sleep, here are some things you can expect during the first few weeks (and even the first few months) with your newborn:
They may only be awake for a total of 6-10 hours in a 24-hour period (most of that awake time is spent feeding and diapering).
Wake windows (the time that they are awake from one nap to the next) may only be 35-60 minutes in those first 4 weeks.
Short naps can be common for newborns, but you can try to extend a nap or use strategies to help lengthen those naps.
Feeding and sleeping can (and probably will) look different each day.
Many newborns experience day-night confusion, in which they want to sleep most of the day but wake frequently at night.
Newborns are very active in their sleep. It may look like they’re awake when they’re actually still sleeping!
It’s not uncommon to feel like feeding your baby is taking up so much space in your brain: whether you’re trying to establish a healthy nursing relationship, searching for the formula that works best for your baby, or ensuring that your little one is getting enough calories.
I have so many blogs about newborns for you! Please, start with my Dear New Mama letter straight from my heart to yours, and then check out these blogs:
For even more specific guidance, my First Five Months Bundle will help you with baby sleep strategies that will meet your newborn exactly where they are developmentally and help you lay a healthy sleep foundation. I’ll show you how to navigate newborn sleep, work on longer stretches of night sleep, and give you the tools you need to make sleep successful as your baby grows. I want you to love the newborn stage!
Where should my newborn sleep during the day? #
The American Academy of Pediatrics official safe-sleep guidelines say that infants should always be placed on their backs for sleep on a separate, flat, and firm surface without any bumpers or loose bedding. Only products labeled as a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should be used for baby sleep.
Cara, are you saying I can’t snuggle my newborn for naps? Of course not! Sometimes, that may be the only way to get your sweet baby to sleep. But please know, if your baby is being held or snuggled for sleep, you (or any other caregiver) must remain awake and closely supervise your baby. If you’re feeling like it’s impossible to lay your baby down for sleep, I can help you get your newborn baby to sleep in a crib.
Check out my safe sleep checklist for a complete guide to safe sleep, including other considerations for sleep outside of the crib.
What are newborn sleep schedules by month?#
I’ve created month-by-month guides to help you get started. Each one gives you age-appropriate wake windows, sample sleep schedules, and answers to my most frequently asked questions for that age. Check them out here:
What are newborn sleep schedules by week? #
If you’re looking for a sleep schedule to follow each and every day, I want you to hear me: there’s no such thing. When you think about your newborn, keep in mind that he’s a baby, not a robot; she’s a human, not a clock. Attempting to follow a rigid sleep schedule every day will only set you both up for frustration or feeling like a failure. At the same time, I understand that you may feel a little lost without sample schedules to look at, so I’m happy to give you some examples.
Parents, don’t miss this! Notice that:
Each sample schedule has a different wake up time. Some babies start their day around 6:00 am, while others sleep later.
Nap lengths vary throughout the day (and from day to day). A normal newborn nap can be 20-120 minutes long.
Newborn wake windows are about 35-60 minutes for babies 0-4 weeks and about 60-90 minutes for babies 4-12 weeks. During each wake window, keep an eye out for your baby’s individual sleepy cues during those ranges.
Feedings should be offered according to hunger cues (about every 2-3 hours all day long).
In the evenings, cluster feeding can be normal and developmentally appropriate. It’s vital that we follow your baby’s hunger cues.
If you have a baby or are expecting one, taking advantage of baby offers can save you money on essential items like diapers, formula, and baby gear.
Enter to win $1000 worth of Diapers