sleeping baby
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Does my baby sleep too much?

Most parents expect to sleep very little during their babies’ first year, when nighttime can be quite a noisy and fitful affair. When Baby finally sleeps through the night without making a peep, it will feel like a miracle. Sometimes Baby will even apply the same restful approach to daylight napping. But eventually, these welcome exceptions to popular experience can beg the question: “Is my baby sleeping too much?”

Monitor his sleep

First, try keeping track of how much time Baby typically spends in dreamland. The average newborn gets about 16 hours of sleep each day: these hours can range from long, steady periods to brief and intermittent bouts. However, some babies tend to hit the pillow harder and can rack up as much as 18 to 20 hours of sleep each day!

What happens if Baby sleeps more than most?

This higher-end sleep average is no cause for alarm, but it will usually mean having to interrupt Baby’s sleep cycle for feeding and other essentials. While this might make for some audible angst, most babies need to eat every 2 to 4 hours for the first two months or so. However, as Baby gets older, he will eat a little more each feeding time, and will be able to wait longer in between. In addition to feeding, he also needs to receive sufficient “touch time” with you. One way to get your cuddles in without waking Baby regularly is to wear him around the house in a body sling for a few hours each day. This will allow Baby to keep on counting sheep while feeling physically close to you. Babies with jaundice tend to sleep a little more than babies without it, but it’s especially important for them to eat at regular intervals, since getting sufficient amounts of the right nutrients helps them recover from jaundice.

Going forward

For the long haul, be sure to keep an eye on your baby’s behavioral development. As long as your baby continues gaining weight and responding to your voice and other stimuli, chances are the next several months should be smooth sleeping.

  • M. Lampl, M.L. Johnson. “Infant growth in length follows prolonged sleep and increased naps.” Sleep. 34(5): 641-50. Web. May 2011.
  • “How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?” National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, 2017. Web.
  • “Sleeps too much?” AskDrSears. AskDrSears. Web.

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