Six years ago I begged my lactation consultant to PLEASE give me a newborn schedule for my newborn. Someone! Anyone! When should my newborn feed? When should my newborn sleep? I even handed off a legal pad and a pen to my LC and was like, “Please! Write something down!” I was so upset when she couldn’t write it down because that’s all I wanted.
And if you are holding a newborn right now, I know that’s all you want. So get ready because I’m about to give you the exact newborn sleep schedule I wish I had 6 years ago!
Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll always be up to date on how to keep making sleep a thing in your family! In fact, I wish I had had this channel myself six years ago. Our oldest daughter was a terrible newborn sleeper. I don’t know if she legitimately was just that awake baby or if it was because I didn’t know what I was doing. I have told this story often and it still sends like shivers down my spine. But the breaking point for Chad and me was when we woke up and our three and a half month old baby was under our covers and we had no idea how she got there.
That is a scary place to be and it’s still, it’s still freaks me out. It was about then that I started looking for help in how to get my newborn to sleep. I was thankful for a lactation consultant who was my friend as well, and as I already shared…begged her for days to give me a schedule!
My personality is if you equip me with the tools, I’m going to do it. So if I had just had a schedule I knew I could implement it!! So before we get into the specifics, I have good news…. I have a Newborn Daytime Routines Guide FREE for you!!! The exact newborn sleep schedule I wish I had 6 years ago. Free, for you right now!
The first one you’re going to print off and put it on your fridge or other space you’ll see often. It’s also super helpful to have this for other’s who are helping you throughout the newborn days.
So first I want you to just release the word schedule. This is not a schedule. Your newborn is not ready for the specific times every single day. Instead we’re using the word routines. So take the word schedule and replace the word routine. All day long, your baby is going to go through an awake and asleep and awake and asleep and it’s very, very small.
In fact, a newborn can only handle 45 to 60 minutes of being awake before they need to go back down for another nap.
So when they wake up in the morning, 45 to 60 minutes later time for a nap, they wake up from that nap.
45 to 60 minutes later down for another nap. Your newborn is going to eat, sleep, eat, sleep. Maybe a little play in there all day long, throwing a little poop in action, a little change in their diaper acts and that’s all they’re doing.
There is no concept of a newborn being “worn out” – so don’t worry about your baby not being tired enough for a nap. Newborns are not like us. They have a very, very, very small frame of how much awake time they can handle. There is no such thing as being like worn out from playtime.
Actually, the opposite happens! If you go over the 45 to 60 minute wake windows like I did with our oldest, you are going to experience the intensity of a witching hour! The witching hour can actually be for hours, and start around 5PM after a day of total over-tiredness. In our case, Ellie was so overtired she couldn’t stop crying and no amount of soothing seemed to help. For fours on end she screamed, until we finally were able to get her to crash to sleep.
I don’t wish that on anyone!
All day you’re just looking at the clock as your guide. Baby wakes from a nap, 45-60 minutes later– they are down for another nap!
Since newborns will have 5-6 naps per day, we can’t expect every nap to happen in their crib or bassinet or pack and play. It’s not going to happen, and you’ll never leave your home if you try that!
In fact, if you could aim for 2 or 3 naps naps in the crib or the bassinet or a pack and play, awesome. The others you’re probably going to have on you a baby carrier, take a walk, rock them (the joy of having a newborn!) or take a drive.
Again, since your newborn will have so many naps they won’t all be 1 hour+ naps. Short naps will happen, and it’s okay! 30 minute naps aren’t junk naps. Your baby took a rest and woke up. The good news is that if they do take a 30 minute nap, they’re only awake for 45 minutes before another nap!
According to the National Sleep Foundation newborns need 14-16 hours of sleep within 24 hours.
This amount of sleep is spread from night and naps, not all consecutively. Newborns are also not meant to sleep 11-12 hours solid at night so take that total and spread throughout 24 hours to gauge how much sleep your baby is getting.
Probably the #1 reply from exhausted newborn parents in regards to the tiny awake times is this: “My baby takes 20 minutes to feed. Does that count within the 45-60 minute awake window?”
The answer is YES! Your baby is awake feeding, so that counts in the awake window.
We are not here for linear progress with your newborn’s sleep. You can expect to be taking steps forward, sometimes having a bad day and then coming back to having a good nap. It really is all over the place and that characterizes newborn asleep. Newborn sleep is chaotic. Their sleep cycles don’t make sense.
And I want you to know above all, the number one rule, the number one thing you just probably didn’t know about your newborn is they can only handle being awake for 45 60 minutes and they need to go to sleep all day long.
Wash, rinse, repeat all day long.
Remember to NOT stress about a set schedule for your newborn. Instead, use timers (Alexa is great at this!) and/or a watch to help you stay focused on the small awake windows. Your newborn will go down for a sleep every 45-60 minutes, regardless if they slept 20 minutes or 2 hours at their last nap.
I’d love to know, what is your favorite baby tracking app that helps you stay on top of feeds and sleep? Share in the comments with us!
Above all….Congratulations!!! You are doing an awesome job and you are the right parent for your baby.
Thanks so much for being here you guys.
Sweet dreams & see you next time,
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