Baby care 101
Putting your baby to sleep
How much sleep does your baby need?
Your new baby gets about 16 hours of sleep each day. Sleep is important for your baby’s health. Newborns usually sleep in 3- to 4-hour periods. Your baby needs to eat every few hours, which is why she doesn’t sleep for long periods of time. Your baby may get cranky or overtired if she doesn’t get enough sleep.
Don’t be surprised if your baby can only stay awake for an hour or two, before nodding off again. Over time, her body gets into a sleep pattern. She starts sleeping for longer stretches, even during the night.
If you’re worried about your baby’s sleep, call her health care provider.
Can a bedtime routine help your baby sleep?
Yes. Your baby’s sleep schedule changes over time, but sticking to a routine can make bedtime easier for the both of you.
Start setting a bedtime routine when your baby’s around 4 to 6 months old. These tips can help get your baby ready for bedtime:
- Wind down any playtime fun.
- Turn off the phone, television, etc.
- Give him a warm bath.
- Massage his body.
- Stroke his back softly.
- Offer him a pacifier to suck on.
- Sing a lullaby or play soft music.
- Read a bedtime story.
Stick to your baby’s sleep routine whenever possible. Plan ahead if your baby’s sleep routine may need a temporary change, like going out of town travel or attending family parties. Change his bed time the best you can, but try to get back to his schedule and routine as soon as possible.
How can you keep your baby safe when she sleeps?
Use these tips to help keep your baby safe during sleep.
Last reviewed March 2012
Why baby cries
- She's hungry.
- He has a dirty diaper.
- She needs to be calmed.
- He doesn’t feel well.