It's been a long day at the hospital. Your new baby is probably snuggling up to you for her first small sleeps and she'll be at it for a while.
“I never realised how much skin-to skin contact with my baby mattered. When it s time for bed and she feels distressed, we spend some time touching and reassuring, then she quickly calms down.”
Germaine, mum of Amos, 3 months
During the first few weeks, newborns can sleep up to 16-20 hours a day in 3-4 hour stretches.
Make sure that they sleep safely and peacefully by:
- Placing baby to sleep on her back on a firm surface.
- Keeping extras like pillows, stuffed animals and duvets out of the cot.
- Sleeping near baby but not in the same bed.
- Maintaining room temperature at the low to mid-twenties Celsius (around 22 ºC) or around 70 °F.
- Help your baby to learn the difference between night and day by keeping light dimmed during the night and bright during the day.
- Always feed and change baby's nappy just before bed.
- Newborns spend so much time on their backs sleeping that it is important to give them plenty of time on their tummies, or in an upright position when they are awake.
- Avoid unnecessary wake-ups by choosing a nappy that's comfortable and gives lasting dryness, like Pampers Swaddlers.
- Your newborn will need to eat approximately every three hours, around the clock. But don't worry, over time she will learn to go longer between feeds and sleep longer overnight (with a few naps during the day).
Here is a rough guide to sleep by age:
- Newborn: 16-20 hours per day
- 6 Weeks: 15-16 hours per day
- 4 Months: 9-12 hours plus 2 naps
- 6 Months: 11 hours plus 2 naps
- 9 Months: 11-12 hours plus 2 naps
- 1 Year: 10-11 hours plus 2 naps