When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night? Baby Sleep Schedule Tips

photo by @jeronimocreative

Understanding the Baby Sleep Schedule

Forget about getting enough beauty sleep. When you’ve got a new baby, you just want to get any sleep. But a baby sleep schedule is unpredictable, making sleep deprivation all too real for new parents.

If you’re struggling with long nights, too little shut-eye, and a newborn who won’t sleep, we’ve put together some baby sleep schedule tips and strategies (along with a little help from 4moms products) to help you make a good nights’ rest a reality.

Why Do Babies Sleep So Much?

Between birth and 3 months, newborns need anywhere from 11 to 19 hours of sleep a day. And it turns out there is a scientific reason why your baby is sleeping so much.

Newborns’ bodies and brains are rapidly growing and developing, and sleep plays a crucial role in their physical and cognitive development.  While a sleeping baby may look like they’re just peacefully slumbering away, their little brain is busy processing all the sensory stimuli they were exposed to while awake and their little body is busy growing.  

All of this development requires a lot of sleep, but because newborns have small stomachs, they need to wake up every few hours to eat. To top it all off, circadian rhythms— the brain’s 24-hour internal clock that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness—don’t develop until your baby is two to three months old. Once their circadian rhythms mature, exposure to natural light during the day helps them distinguish day from night, and the chance of your baby establishing a normal sleep schedule goes up.

What Age Do Babies Sleep Through the Night?

As your baby grows, you’ll notice that although they may be sleeping less overall the amount of time they sleep at a stretch increases. Most babies start to sleep through the night when they’re around 3 months old, or when they weigh 12 to 13 pounds. While all babies are different, you can expect your baby’s sleep schedule to evolve over the first year like this.

Setting the Stage for a Successful Newborn Sleep Schedule

Your baby will develop good sleep habits at their own pace, but there are some things you can do to nudge them towards better sleep. Try creating a consistent bedtime routine (more on that in a minute) and using tools like the MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet, which has five parent-inspired motions, speeds, and white noise options to create a soothing environment that helps your baby fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer. 

You may also want to integrate white noise into your bedtime routine to help baby with sleeping. White noise creates consistent and soothing background sounds—think swooshing, swishing, and whirring—that mimic the comforting environment of the womb, promoting deeper and more restful sleep.

Keep in mind, too, that your newborn's sleep needs may change quickly, and a baby sleep schedule that helps them drift off to sleep now might not work next week. Check out this article for more tips to help your baby sleep, especially during the transition to or from Daylight Savings Time.

How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night

If your baby is not sleeping at night, these three key strategies can help: 

  1. Be Consistent: When you want to create a newborn sleep schedule, a consistent bedtime routine is a good way to start. Introduce soothing activities, such as a warm bath followed by a massage, cuddle time, and a bedtime story to signal that it’s time to sleep. After the bedtime routine, many new parents find that laying their baby down to the soothing sounds and motions of the MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet is a big help in getting their baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. 
  2. Teach Them to Self- Soothe: Babies aren’t born knowing how to soothe themselves: it has to be learned. Teach your newborn to self-soothe by gentle rocking or swaying them, offering a pacifier, and providing comfort through soft pats and gentle shushing sounds. Over time, your baby will learn how to settle themselves and start falling asleep (and going back to sleep) independently. 
  3. Don’t Skip Naps: It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want a normal baby sleep schedule, daytime naps are essential. If your baby doesn’t get enough sleep during the day, they can become overtired, which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, shorter and fragmented sleep cycles, increased fussiness, and disrupted feeding patterns. To make naptime more convenient, you may want to set up a playard like the Breeze® Plus in your living area to provide a safe and comfortable space for your baby to nap during the day.

If you’re really struggling with your baby not sleeping at night, remember that this too shall pass and eventually your baby will have a normal sleep schedule. In the meantime, check out these coping strategies for dealing with a sleepless baby.

When to Seek Help: Recognizing Sleep Concerns

It’s normal for babies to have inconsistent sleep patterns and wake throughout the night, but if your baby isn't sleeping well despite establishing a consistent bedtime routine and trying various soothing techniques, it may be time to consult your pediatrician.

While sleep disruption is common in newborns and infants, a pediatrician can provide reassurance and help identify any potential underlying issues that may require further evaluation or intervention.

Embracing the Journey of Getting Baby to Sleep Longer at Night

These sleepless nights won’t last forever—eventually you'll establish a consistent baby sleep schedule. Until then, be patient and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can also seek out tips to help your baby fall asleep without being held to ease their transition to independent sleep.  

Remember, too, that 4moms is there for you every step of the way on your baby’s sleeping journey, with a suite of products that encourage better sleep.