When Will He Sleep?


(If your baby is under 24 hours old, please read Too Sleepy first.)

How long will he sleep? Basically, the answer is, "it depends on the baby." Your baby will fall asleep whenever he needs to, and sleep as long as he needs to. An "average" baby will waken to be fed about every two to four hours, but it won't be a regular pattern at first.

Brand new babies don't have a pattern to their eating and sleeping. A normal baby may need from four to eight weeks to settle into predictable eating and sleeping patterns. One of the reasons it is so exhausting to live with a newborn is that they are unpredictable.


When Can I Take Care of Myself?

  • "Will I be able to brush my teeth?"
  • "Will I get a shower before noon?"
  • "When can we eat dinner?"

These normal adult activities that we all take for granted "before baby" become big accomplishments with a new baby in the house. The baby can't wait, but we adults can, and must. The new baby comes first — even before our own basic need for sleep.

Sleep especially becomes an issue for new parents. If the baby is sleeping, lay down, even if you don't feel sleepy. Get as much sleep as you can, whenever you can. In a couple of months, your baby will settle into a sleep pattern and things will be more predictable. In the meantime, be patient with yourself, the baby, and everyone else.


When Will He Sleep Through the Night?

When will he sleep through the night? Again, it depends on the baby. By four months old, about half of babies will sleep eight hours straight. Unfortunately, it may not be the eight hours YOU would like him to sleep.

After he is two months old, it really is OK to put him in his bed awake and let him cry. Really. He won't remember at that age, and he will develop good sleep habits. Most new parents find it impossible to let their baby cry himself to sleep. If you are like most parents, you will learn the hard way, and you will only do this with your second child.


Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.