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Sleep well, develop well

Author Philippa Murphy

Sleep well, develop well

Sleep! One of the most important aspects for our newborns early development and yet, at times, for some, it can remain illusive. I often hear parents say, 'Well I don't mind if he doesn't sleep during the day that well because he sleeps well at night.' While I understand the reasoning around this statement I also know that biologically, all newborns require a certain amount of sleep throughout the day to enhance development, and that the cycle of sleep mentioned in the statement is often indicative that the newborn is experiencing some aspect of Digestive Overload. So let's look at how much sleep is ideal for a newborn over a twenty-four hour period. 

Guidelines to developmental sleep

Newborn to two weeks - 16-18 hours

The ideal period is sixteen hour in a twenty-four hour cycle at this age. Sleep is your baby's main pass time with feeding and winding taking about an hour each feed cycle, which is ideally every three-and-a-half to four hourly to work alongside their digestive biology. However, bubs will have 'cat naps' of five minutes here and there within the hour of being up for feeding and winding. 

Two to four weeks - 14-15 hours

Slowly your baby will be able to be awake for a full one hour after feeds inclusive of feed and winding. This is beneficial for their mental and physical development along with their digestive function. By four weeks, bubs may have times of being awake for one-and-a-half hours. 

Four weeks to 3-4 months  13-14  hours

By four weeks your newborn can be awake for longer after each feed, moving toward two hours of play and winding time is perfect, with this extending to two-and-half hours of play and winding time at around six weeks of age. This nurtures Bio-logical Sleep requirements well, moving into a healthy two-and-a-half hours regular awake time by eight to ten weeks. 

Please remember that these are only guidelines, while these work well for the majority of newborns, aiding developmental sleep through the release of enough wind during the required awake time, there are some cases where the above may be changed for the overall health of that baby.


Last Updated: 15 February 2017