Newborn Sleep Tips

Newborn Sleep Tips


Sleep has got to be the number one thing new parents stress over the most. With good reason. Between eating every 2-3 hours, naps, and wanting to snuggle, newborns get a bad rap when it comes to sleep.

But there is HOPE! We spoke with a Sleep Consultant, Marietta from Little Dreamers, who gave us a ton of awesome tips for newborns 0-16 weeks old:

First thing! Make sure we help our baby figure out day and night.

It's common for newborns to not go down for the night until 1am and the hours before are filled with a fussing, crying, acting hungry but won't eat, acting tired but won't sleep, colicky baby. Then they sleep all day. That is a good indicator that their days and nights are mixed up.

Most babies figure out the difference between night and day by six weeks but oftentimes, babies need a little extra help figuring this out. Here are some things you can do:

  • Light and Darkness. Keep it dark during the night and light during the day. Once your baby is adjusted to his days and nights, I suggest using blackout curtains or something similar to keep his room dark during nap times. Darkness helps to increase melatonin and melatonin helps us sleep.

  • The more we can disrupt the daytime sleep into regular naps, the sooner the longest stretch of sleep will occur at night.
  • Pick a consistent time to start your day (i.e., 7 a.m.) and wake your baby at this time every morning.

  • Do not allow any nap to exceed 2 hours. If your baby has slept for 2 hours, wake him up, feed him, and engage him for 45–60 minutes, and then put him back to bed.

Newborn Sleep Cues:

Your newborn baby will tell you when he is ready to sleep. If you can catch his cues and respond quickly, you can avoid an overtired baby who has trouble soothing to sleep, wakes sooner, and cries more. Following cues for sleep are more important than following a set awake time by the clock. Sleepy Cues Include:

  • Calmer
  • Glazed Expression
  • Slower movements
  • Decreased activity
  • Quieter or less vocal
  • Weaker or slower sucking
  • Disinterested in surroundings
  • Less focused eyes
  • Eyelids drooping
  • Red eyes or eyebrows

The following signs are cues that you are entering the overtired zone and you need to get baby to bed pronto or you could end up with an overtired hard to soothe to sleep baby!

  • Rubbing his eyes
  • Yawning
  • Irritable
  • Cranky
  • Fussing

Soothing a Newborn

Swaddle: Most babies prefer to be swaddled until about 4 months.

Pacifier: The sucking motion is soothing and rhythmic for babies.

White Noise: Can help soothe them to sleep and keep them asleep longer. It's the type of noise they are used to from in utero.

Motion: Rock or bounce your baby until calm, relaxed, and drowsy and then to lay your baby down in the crib.

Cradle: Newborns like to feel secure and may sleep better in items that cradle them as opposed to laying flat in a crib. This includes items like the dockatot or rock 'n play.

Nursing: You may find that if your baby has been awake too long the only thing that will help soothe your baby to sleep is nursing.


We want to thank Marietta with Little Dreamers who provided us with this valuable information. For more information on sleeping for newborns through the toddler years check out 

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