If you’ve been wondering if you should let your newborn sleep all day, let’s break it down here for the why’s and why nots.
Go with the flow. Let baby lead. Enjoy this time. Nap when baby naps. Babies don’t keep.
These are things you hear and feel make sense… except when rubber meets the road with your newborn it can be hard to figure out what to do. So let’s get to it…
Should I let my newborn sleep all day?
No. No, you definitely should not. Babies will have strong sleep needs and strong drive to sleep in those early days. Sometimes they’ll try and nap for 4 to 5 hours even. During the middle of the day!
As a certified sleep consultant and mother of 5, take it from me… if they sleep long stretches during they day they will not sleep long stretches at night.
Longer sleep stretches should be at night, not the day
See my newborn sleep schedule here for sample daily routines for your newborn but to quickly get to the point: we want baby to sleep their longest stretches at night.
If they’re taking super long daytime naps and awake half the night, they’re experiencing day night confusion. And the more you let them take their “night sleep” during the day, the longer this confusion will exist.
Well actually they aren’t confused, they are simply sleeping and eating in reverse to the adult world. Which will be a problem since you are an adult and plan on sleeping your longest stretches at night.
How long should newborns nap for?
Because newborns have tiny tummies and need to feed frequently (full feeds, however, full feeds, mama) they will feed every 2 to 3 hours around the clock for a while. So if your baby is wanting to nap for 4 or 5 hours, they’re essentially taking that longest gap during the day.
Instead, you want to make sure you are feeding your baby every 2 to 3 hours during the DAY, and then allowing them to sleep however long they want at NIGHT.
If a newborn has gone longer than 3 hours since the last feed, wake them up and feed them.
Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!Learn More
How sleepy is too sleepy for a newborn?
If baby will not wake up for feeds throughout the day or night and is extremely lethargic, of course contact your pediatrician.
If your baby is simply wanting to rest and nap during the day and still be out like a light at night… this is totally normal. If you’re nursing then baby is getting all those sleepy happy hormones from you.
Babies will wake up hungry, feed for a while, then try and fall asleep before the feed is over. Some babies, many actually, will still nap for 2 hours after that and only wake up to get more milk. And then they’ll repeat it all over again .
Only to wake up for slightly more time around the witching hours… and then go right back to bed at night. If baby is having enough wet diapers, dirty diapers, and is otherwise healthy, then consider yourself a lucky, mama.
Get all the info you need for your newborn on my wildly popular (and highly bookmarked) post: ultimate newborn sleep schedule: week by week
Grab this sample newborn routine, tweak it, and have calmer more peaceful and predictable newborn days.