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Simplifying Baby Sleep & Sample Schedules: Birth to 3 Months

Baby Sleep 0-6 Weeks

With a baby on the way, or perhaps just arrived, you should be expecting some 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’re here to ease your mind and let you know how much sleep your baby needs, why they sleep so much, and when they’ll start sleeping longer – even through the night!

How long babies should sleep 0-6 weeks

How much sleep does a baby need?

Newborn babies sleep anywhere from 15 to 18 hours every single day. Babies will hardly be awake during the first couple weeks. they only spend somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour and a half (tops) awake between naps. Although it might seem like all your newborn does is sleep and eat, it’s completely normal…and necessary. After spending 9 months in the womb, your baby is accustomed to spending a lot of time sleeping. By 6-15 weeks, babies sleep a little less, about 14 to 16 hours, but for longer stretches.

Total Hours of Sleep (24-hr period)
Daytime Sleep Duration
Nighttime Sleep Duration
Awake Time Between Sleeps
0-6 Weeks
15-18 hours 15 minutes-3 hours (3-5 naps) 2-4 hours 30 minutes - 1.5 hours
6-15 Weeks
14-16 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours (3-4 naps) 3-6 hours 1-2 hours
4-6 Months
12-15 hours 1-3 hours (3 naps) 6-8 hours 1.5-2.5 hours
6-8 Months
12-15 hours 1-3 hours (2-3 naps) 9-12 hours 2-3 hours
8-10 Months
11-15 hours 1-2 hours (1-2 naps) 10-12 hours 2-3 hours
10-12 Months
11-14 hours 1-2 hours (1-2 naps) 10-12 hours 2.5-3.5+ hours

Why do babies sleep so much?

Once your baby is born, life outside the womb can be overstimulating. They’ve just spent nearly a year in the warmth and comfort of your belly – so they’ll spend 2/3rd’s of the day asleep and the rest of the day eating. Their tummies are so tiny, they fill up fast. So, although they might only spend a little time eating, they’ll keep waking up to be fed in between napping. They sleep so much simply because that’s what they’re used to and what their tiny bodies need.

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

Over-stimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little, or sleep when they should be eating due to exhaustion. Babies at this age need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.

If your baby becomes overtired (meaning they’ve been awake too long between naps) they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. To avoid this, try to notice the first signs of drowsiness, and immediately start soothing baby back to sleep. And of course, use a Zen Swaddle as part of their bed time routine. With consistent use at the first sign of sleepiness, the Zen Swaddle will become their cue that it’s time to get snoozing! Not to mention, swaddling will recreate that warm, snuggly feeling of being in the womb for your newborn.

While some babies might wake up every 3 or 4 hours on the dot, others might sleep longer or shorter periods of time. In the very early days, some babies eat every two hours or less! In either case, a safe bet is to schedule feeding times every 2 to 3 hours, or ask your pediatrician for a recommendation based on your baby’s needs. More importantly, have your baby weighed frequently by their pediatrician to ensure they’re gaining enough weight and getting enough food and consult your baby’s doctor with any sleeping or eating concerns.

When should babies start sleeping through the night?

In the newborn stage, don’t expect your baby to be sleeping soundly through the night. They’ll be waking every few hours to feed, get a fresh diaper, etc. In fact, since newborns nap so frequently, they really don’t even have a fixed “bedtime.” Additionally, babies don’t know the difference between day time and night time during the first six weeks. They will be waking up round-the-clock to be fed, so the days of getting a good 8-hour night’s sleep are over for you – for a while anyway!  Somewhere around six weeks, your baby will (fingers crossed!) start sleeping for slightly longer stretches at night. Most babies won’t start sleeping through the night until 6 months or older.

Even though your baby might not have a fixed bedtime, it’s helpful to start using a bedtime routine anyways. This can also help clear up the day/night confusion because the routine will signal that it’s bedtime not naptime. Keep the days light and upbeat – even when going down for a nap- and the nights dark and limit activity to a minimum. Maybe start with a nice bath, an infant massage, the Zen Swaddle, and a feeding right before putting baby down for bed. And even though you wish bedtime was at 7 p.m., the bedtime routine should take place later at night – anytime between 8 and 11 p.m. This time can vary night-to-night, but keep the routine the same!

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 sleep bedtime routine of bathing, reading, feeding rocking. Before you know it, your baby will be sleeping through the night.

Duration of Sleeping Periods
# of Awakenings
0-6 Weeks
N/A 1.5-3.5 hours 4 times per night
6-15 Weeks
8-11 P.M. 2-4 hours 3-4 times per night
4-8 Months
6-7:30 P.M. 6-8 hours 0-1 times per night
8-10 Months
6-8 P.M. 9-12 hours None
10-12 Months
6-8 P.M. 10-12 hours None

Baby Sleep 6-15 Weeks

Congratulations – you did it! Your baby is now 6 weeks old, and you’ve survived the newborn stage. It was tough. There were probably times you didn’t think you’d make it; you most likely passed out from exhaustion on more than one occasion, you might have gone weeks without leaving the house because you were just way too tired…you now know that a good night’s sleep should never be taken for granted. But the most important focus here is that you made it, and you got your baby through it too! Good news is that by 12-15 weeks most babies tend to sleep for longer stretches. Bad news is that for some, it may get a little tougher before it gets easier.

how long baby should sleep 6-15 weeks

How much sleep does a baby need?

Your newborn probably slept up to 18 hours a day without any set schedule! Now that they’re approaching that three-month mark, you will see a pattern emerge. During the day, your baby can stay awake longer between naps, which means more playtime. Your baby will be interactive, cooing and smiling. Keep your camera ready. Their naps will get longer too. Their total number of naps will change to 4 or 5 instead of the 6 or 8 they were taking as a newborn. They still need 14 to 16 hours of sleep per day, but the longest stretch of sleep will be at night (woo!), around 5-6 hours by the time they reach 10-15 weeks.
If you haven’t already, start a nap schedule. Napping once in the morning, twice during the afternoon, and then another in the evening before bedtime is often a good balance. You can read more about baby’s naptime during their first year AND get a naptime schedule here.

Will my baby sleep through the night?

The short answer is: no. But, that doesn’t mean you’re not almost there! Two months is a long time- so things are going to be constantly changing from week 6 to week 15. During the newborn stage, you had to deal with waking up every few hours for feedings, diaper changes, etc. but for the most part, all your baby did was sleep. Now, your baby will be awake for longer periods of time and sleeping longer stretches- but this doesn’t happen overnight.

Now that your baby’s sleeping a little less during the day, you can start to implement a more consistent bedtime, usually between 8 and 11 p.m. The younger the baby, the later the bedtime; as your baby continues to grow you can gradually start shifting to the earlier side. By 15 weeks, you should be able to put your baby down for bed around 8 p.m. But keep in mind, this time will be different for every baby, depending on their nap schedules during the day. And even though 8 p.m. is “bedtime”, remember they still won’t be sleeping through the entire night.

At 3-4 months old, your baby will still wake up once or twice to be fed, but the stretches in-between can be 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.

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 while 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. 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!”

There is no comparison to your baby. Every baby is different. I can’t stress that enough. So, don’t compare your baby’s sleeping habits to another baby’s because they WILL be different. Like I 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. 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.

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!

Manasi Gangan

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