What should a newborn baby sleep in

How your baby learns to sleep

How much do babies sleep?

Newborns sleep an average of 14.5 out of 24 hours. However, there are very large individual differences, ranging from 9 to 19 hours a day.
Little by little, the sleep behavior changes and more and more sleep time is shifted to the night. At six months, babies only sleep three times a day on average, at one year there are only 2 naps a day and at one and a half years a single nap is usually enough.

How long do babies sleep?

During the day, newborns sleep around 2-4 hours at a time, at night they need four to six hours, usually more than 2-3. Over time, nighttime sleep increases while daily naps shorten. It usually takes six months for the baby to sleep through the night.

How and where should babies sleep?

It is very important that your child has a suitable and safe sleeping environment. Because this greatly reduces the risk of sudden infant death. It is particularly important that your baby's breathing is not impaired and that it does not overheat.

This is what the optimal sleeping environment for your baby looks like - compiled on the basis of the recommendations of the Federal Center for Health Education:

  • Location. Your baby should only sleep on their back. So it can breathe freely. It is best to have your feet close to the end of the bed, because then it cannot slip under the bedding so easily.
  • Bedding. The rule here is: less is more. For example, you should not have a pillow for your baby. Better than a blanket is a sleeping bag that cannot slip over your head. Extra blankets, towels, furs, large soft toys or pillows do not belong in the bed. They could lead to overheating or reduced air circulation. Hot water bottles and heating pads are also taboo.
  • Dress. Your baby shouldn't be over-dressed to sleep. A diaper, underwear and pajamas are sufficient, in summer even a body over the diaper is sufficient.
  • Bed. It is best if your baby has its own bed or an extra bed that can be docked to the parents' bed. If your child is to sleep in the parents' bed (which is especially useful when breastfeeding), some additional safety measures must be observed.
  • Location. In the first year, the cot can be in the parents' bedroom. So you are very close. In addition, the parents' breathing sounds have a positive effect on the baby's breathing rhythm. Make sure that the cot is neither near a heater nor in the sun.
  • Indoor climate. A room temperature of 16-18 ° is ideal. The room should be ventilated at least once a day with the window fully open. Of course it is not allowed to smoke in the room, it is best not to smoke in the whole apartment.

Why doesn't my baby want to sleep?

In the first few weeks and months, the irregular sleep rhythm is still completely normal. There are several reasons for this:

  • The sleep-wake rhythm has yet to develop.
  • Babies need a lot of energy in relation to their height. However, a breastfeeding or bottle meal only lasts a few hours.
  • The different stages of sleep are shorter in a baby. Baby's sleep can be divided into REM sleep and non-REM sleep (which in turn includes other stages). But while a cycle of the stages takes 1.5 hours for an adult, it is only around 50 minutes for a newborn.

In addition, if you think your sweetheart has trouble sleeping and is having trouble falling asleep, you can ask the pediatrician for advice. This is especially true if your baby snores - this could indicate breathing problems while sleeping.

What helps you sleep through the night?

You can help your baby learn their sleep patterns and sleep through the night. You should adapt your sleeping habits to the age of the baby.

Your baby will soon sleep through the night with these tips:

  • Evening ritual. Children and babies love rituals with fixed, predictable processes. Find a suitable bedtime ritual for your baby. Baby bathing and baby massage have proven to be particularly helpful. Both of these relax your child and help them sleep longer. You can start the ritual with evening feeding, which also helps your baby sleep.
  • Separate day and night. Help your baby tell the difference between day and night. For example, the sleeping area should not be used to play. If you had to feed or change your baby at night, it is best to act differently than during the day: turn on only a small light (for example a night light), keep quiet and do not drag the processes out. Better to save tickle games and chats for the day.
  • Have an afternoon nap in the frame. By the time your baby is 6 months old, they should take 2 naps of around 1.5 hours each day. If he sleeps longer, you can gently wake him up. The number and duration of naps decreases with age. Also, make sure that the afternoon nap is not too late, it should be in the early afternoon.
  • Suitable sleeping environment. A cool, calm, and dark sleeping environment will help your baby fall asleep and sleep through the night.
  • Lay awake in bed. Of course, your baby prefers to fall asleep in your arms. But gradually you should get used to falling asleep alone at night. First of all, you can lay it down when it is already very sleepy. If possible, you shouldn't be kidding afterwards, but rather comforting them in some other way (if necessary).


To support your baby's sleep needs, you will find a sleep log here to print out and keep track of.


1 N. Datta & S. Vella (2009): The sleep of the child, sleep disorders and their clarifications, PAEDIATRICA Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 21.-29.