Your Infant’s Sleep Needs: Birth to 4 Months

Sleep is crucial to infant brain development. Study after study shows a positive correlation between duration of sleep, sleep quality, and overall cognitive development, including memory and language development1. But, how much sleep is best for a newborn? And how can you be sure your baby is getting enough sleep?

Infant sleep needs vary by age and infant disposition. However, pediatricians advise that newborns get about 16 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period; this includes both daytime naps and nighttime sleep. As your child grows, their sleep needs will change—by age 4 months, your child should get about 14 hours of sleep per day.

Night wakings, while unpleasant, are common and should be expected for the first two years of your baby’s life. These wakings may increase as a baby approaches a new milestone or is learning a new skill. Changes in routine, teething, and other factors also may impact night wakings.

To reduce the frequency of night wakings:

Don’t skip naps. Sleep begets more sleep and daytime rest is just as critical to brain development as nighttime sleep. Make sure your baby gets the right amount of daytime sleep.

Create a bedtime routine. Begin your bedtime routine about 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Give your baby a relaxing bath, followed by a soothing infant massage. Wrap up bedtime with a cozy snuggle and good book before saying goodnight.

Make evenings boring.  Create a sleepy bedtime environment by dimming the lights and playing soft music. Avoid overstimulation as bedtime approaches.

Meet your baby’s needs. Make sure your baby eats well and is appropriately stimulated during hours of wakefulness. Then, be sure your baby is calm, warm, and comfortable when tucked in at night.

Understanding your baby’s sleep needs helps ensure continued healthy development. ParentPal’s Guide to Infant Sleep Needs shows you just how much sleep your baby should be getting in a 24-hour period.

Additionally, consistent bedtime routines promote healthy cognitive development. ParentPal helps you create bedtime routines that provide rich bonding opportunities and set the foundations for building sturdy brain architecture.

Use ParentPal’s Sleep feature to track sleep time while creating a soothing sleep environment. Lull your child to sleep with eight sleep-inducing sounds or 12 lullabies specially produced for little ears. ParentPal will detect crying, restart the music or sleep sounds, and send light sleepers right back to dreamland.