Sleep Tips for Newborns

Sleep Tips for Newborns

5 min read

Preparing for a baby is such an exciting time in our lives. With so much to think about in the buildup to having your baby, you probably won’t think much about their sleep until you are safely back at home with your little bundle. 

We’ve teamed up once again with renowned sleep expert, Jenna Wilson of the award-winning ‘Little Dreams Consulting’, to create this essential guide on what to expect in the first 12 weeks of your newborn’s life and how you can help set the foundations for good sleep habits early on.  

We’re pretty sure you will have heard a lot of well-meaning comments such as ‘start getting used to no sleep’ or ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ which is easier said than done, particularly if you have other children to take care of too. But it is useful to know roughly how much sleep your little one really needs at each stage.  

For the first 0-12 weeks of their lives, newborns average approximately 6-8 hours of sleep during the day, and 8-10 hours at night – unfortunately for you, this is likely to be in short stretches of 2-4 hours at a time as they are likely to wake for regular feeds.  

Their sleep is split between 50% deep sleep (which is where they grow, secrete hormones etc.) and 50% REM (dream) sleep (where they ‘organise their day’). During this time, sleep can be inconsistent, so please try not to worry too much and just take each day at a time. Remember, this is just a phase, and it won’t last forever.   

  1. The best advice we can give is ‘look after yourself’. This is a huge change for you all as a family, so ensure you rest, recover and be kind to yourself! Having a new arrival will take some time to adjust to.  
  2. If things are going well and you would like to work towards a sleep goal, try to help your little one learn the difference between night and day. In the daytime, make sure the room is bright and noisy and, at night, ensure it's dark and quiet. 
  3. Awake windows can be a surprise at this age so it’s good to be aware that your newborn is likely to become overtired if they are awake for more than 45 minutes-1 hour at a time.  


If things are going well, and you are feeling up to it, there are a few goals you can work towards, to help your little one even more, once they get to 6 weeks. But do remember that these are goals, and something to work towards. We would suggest trying them once every day or two, and only once your little one has reached 6 weeks old, as this is when their sleep will have matured (just a little). 

Around this age they can manage to stay awake for between 60-90 minutes, so that gives you more time to spend with them and you can introduce a little more ‘play time’.  

  1. If you are really enjoying your little one falling asleep in your arms, then of course continue to enjoy those precious cuddles. If, however, you feel this is not sustainable for you, try to put your little one down awake, or a little drowsy. It can be almost impossible to stop your little one falling asleep everywhere in the early weeks, but between 6-12 weeks you can start giving it a practice. Our aim is for your little one to be able to connect being tired with falling asleep. Otherwise, they may start to rely on the same way they went to sleep each time they wake up.  
  2. Aim to feed your baby when they wake up, rather than just before a nap. In the first 6 weeks this is unavoidable because, no sooner have they fed, they are ready for another snooze, but between 6-12 weeks, as their awake windows have increased a little, you can try to feed once they wake up from a nap, encourage them to ‘play’ a little (if there is time) and then pop them down for a nap before you repeat. This also helps them to take better feeds, as they should hopefully be rested after their nap. This is the eat, play, sleep routine and it probably won’t work all the time but, again, it is a goal to work towards. 
  3. Once your little one reaches around 8-10 weeks old, you could consider introducing a bedtime routine, if you haven’t already. A bath, or a little wash, can be a good signal to your little one that bedtime is approaching, as it’s different to anything else they do during the day. Your routine could also include a full feed and ideally a short story or song before your little one goes into their cot (ideally not asleep). The Lullaby Trust guidelines are clear that your little one should sleep in the same room you are in until they are 6 months old, to help prevent SIDS, so please do keep this in mind.  

You may not have heard about the ‘4 month sleep regression’ yet but when this happens, your little one will develop sleep cycles and may find it tricky to get themselves back to sleep each time they come to the edge of sleep. You can read more about the ‘4 month sleep regression’ here. 

If you fancy some further bedtime reading, check out our other blogs on sleep; 

Top Tips to help your little one sleep better 

Summer Sleep - Top Sleep Tips for Tiny Travellers  


Above all, the best advice we can offer is to give yourself time to adjust and rest assured (pardon the pun) you will get some well-earned sleep again, we promise.  

If you feel like you need a little extra help with your little one’s sleep, you can book in a free 15-minute no obligation call (or an appointment) with Jenna or a member of her team by calling her on 07572 309404 or email 

Don’t forget to shop our stunning Sleeptime Collection for little dreamers. Explore Scandinavian inspired nursery furniture, beautiful bedding sets, the softest organic baby sleeping bags, cot mobiles, accessories and much more. 

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Jenna Wilson set up the multi award winning Little Dreams Consulting 8 years ago, following ten years working as a solicitor in Childcare Law. She has trained with Sleep Sense™ and The Sleep Charity (UK) and has attended a multitude of courses with the NSPCC and The Lullaby Trust. They offer an antenatal package to educate parents about newborn sleep early, to help prevent sleep issues later on. Please do get in touch to find out more.  


The little Dreams Consulting family is growing and is looking for franchisees across the UK to join their successful team of sleep experts. To find out more, pop them an email at for a (no obligation) chat. 


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