Newborn Sleep Tips for the First 6 Weeks
Newborn sleep can be confusing and unpredictable. The first 6 weeks are very much baby led and it’s important to not worry too much about establishing a routine. Instead focus on getting to know your baby. There will be lots of cluster feeding and holding those first weeks. Don’t worry about “spoiling” baby. That is not going to happen. The only thing you need to do is make sure baby is fed, diapered, sleeping as much as they need and getting LOTS of cuddles!
Below are a few suggestions we have for those first 6 weeks to help start establish healthy sleep habits:
- Make sure baby is eating at least every 3 hours until pediatrician says it’s ok to let them go longer at nights. You will continue to wake every 3 hours to feed during the day or sooner if the baby wants.
- Keep babies awake time to 45- 60 minutes or less. That 45-60 minutes starts from the moment they wake up whether it’s to feed or play. Between the feed, diaper change and a few minutes of playtime, it won’t be very long! Be on the lookout for newborn sleepy cues*
- Try to lay baby in their crib at least once a day for a nap. Generally, the first nap of the day works best. Don’t stress if they won’t stay. Just keeping trying! This is a way to get them familiar with their crib for future naps and nighttime.
- Tummy time! Yes, tummy time starts from day one. Tummy time is so important for building strong neck/back muscles as well as giving baby some exercise and helping to prevent flat head. Tummy time for a newborn can be laying on tummy across a lap or on top of a caregiver that is laying flat (but awake of course!).
- Swaddle arms in for naps and night time sleep only. Swaddling arms in is a great sleep cue for babies and helps to keep them sleeping. Having arms out for feeds and awake/activity times helps baby stay awake, enjoy playing, allows them to exercise their arms and discover their hands.
*Sleepy Cues for Newborn Sleep
Early Sleepy Cues
- Looking away
- Turning head
- Zoned Out / Blank Stare
Time to Nap NOW
- Pulling ears
- Rubbing eyes
- Uncontrolled crying
- Arching back/leaning back
- Difficult to calm