Rock-a-bye Baby: Understanding Your Child’s Sleeping Patterns 

Ahhh, a sleeping baby! In terms of pure cuteness, they are in a league of their own. The average newborn sleeps through much of the day and night, and that’s just how it is. They do wake up, though, with a loud wail and mind-blowing tenacity, announcing to the whole neighborhood that they, the Royal Highnesses, are now hungry and ready to be fed. But hey, every baby is Royalty. They are their parent’s treasure and should be treated as such.

Figuring out your baby’s sleeping patterns can be a bit of a mystery at first, especially if this is your first rodeo with a baby. For the first couple of weeks, however, there is no set schedule. This makes it hard for a parent to figure out how often and how long their newborn would sleep.

What is my baby’s sleeping schedule, you ask?

Well, until your baby grows a couple of inches, neither you nor we would know the answer to this question. Like us, the baby remains confused. Many newborns have their days and nights in a twist. One day they are sleeping soundly at night, and the next night they have you questioning the very reason of your existence. But this confusion is part of the process, and you have to simply try and understand your baby while moving through the motions. This process should be followed until your baby is old enough to operate at a predictable schedule.

Is there any discernible newborn sleeping pattern at all?

Well, although there is no definite pattern when it comes to a baby’s sleeping habits, there are certain traits that you as a parent can work around when dealing with it.


Here are a few common sleeping traits among newborns:

  1. A newborn usually sleeps for a total of around 8-9 hours during the daytime and about 8 hours during the night within a 24-hour period.
  2. Since they have a small stomach, they will wake up once every few hours to be fed.
  3. Baby’s start to sleep through the night in 6-8 hours intervals once they reach around 3 months since birth.
  4. However, in some newborns, this may take up to nearly 12 months, so do not worry if it doesn’t happen soon.

Refer to these 4 facts, and they are sure to help you out!

Having said that, after they fall into a predictable sleeping pattern, you will notice that your baby will wake up once every 3 hours for their feeding time. Take this as a cue to have their meals ready on time.

The frequency of hungry-time nagging will often depend on the baby and what they are being fed at their age. Before you make any decisions on a fixed feeding schedule, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a licensed healthcare provider to figure out if you need to wake your baby up, set certain feeding intervals, and what to feed your baby at a certain age.

You must understand that you and the baby are in this together. We can often get lost in comparisons and question why your baby is not behaving a certain way. However, you must realize that each baby is unique, and understanding your own, is the key to mitigate any issues that may arise with their patterns.

However, you should take particular care to watch for changes that may occur in your baby’s sleeping patterns. A slight deviation is acceptable, and there is nothing to worry about. But, if your baby has constantly been sleeping or keeps waking up suddenly and more often, there might be a problem. Of course, there is also the possibility that your baby is simply going through a growth spurt and needs more nom-nom. You can just refer to your doctor and feed them more if that is the case.

Pro Tip: Manage Overstimulation

Some sleep disturbances occur exclusively when your baby goes through changes in development or when the baby is overstimulated.

What exactly is overstimulation? 

Overstimulation happens when children are swamped by more experiences, sensations, noise, and activity than they can cope with.

For example, a newborn baby might get very unsettled after a party where they’ve interacted and have been cuddled by a lot of grown-ups.

When your baby grows up, especially during the first five years of their life, they need a stimulating environment that provides plenty of different activities that pave the way to play, learn and practice what they learn. But they also need some tranquility in a safe and familiar environment to recharge, feel secure, and calm down.

What is the best home remedy for this?

If you see your baby is overwhelmed, take them somewhere quiet, peaceful, and, if possible, with low light. Your baby will start to calm down in such an environment. The best option you can use is the baby’s cot, and if you are out with your baby, you can use your pram. First, tuck them in tight and cover them with a blanket or a light wrap. Ensure that they receive a continuous airflow, and one will notice that the baby will start to calm down after a while. This is the best remedy we can suggest for overstimulation.

Let’s Talk Alert Phases!

The level of alertness in a baby may vary during the time that they are awake. Let us now walk you through all the different alert phases of a newborn.

  1. Quiet & Active Alert Phase

As soon as a newborn wakes up at the end of the sleep cycle, they go through a calm alert phase more often than not. During this time, the baby remains very still, but they are awake, stimulated, and taking in and adapting to their environment. So, what does a baby do when they are in this phase?



They will mostly stare into a blank space or at particular objects and respond to external stimuli such as motion and sound. The quiet alert phase would then gradually progress into the active alert phase, where the baby will still react to external sounds, activity, and sights. Still, in contrast with the quiet alert phase, their responses will be more active, and they will move around more.

  1. Crying Phase

What follows the two alert phases is the crying phase. Babies are easily overstimulated during the crying face, so they will start moving around quite erratically. This is also accompanied by crying and buckle up because it is going to be loud!

It is best to feed the baby before they progress into the crying phase. Once they enter the crying phase, they may be so upset that they will vehemently refuse the breast or the bottle. In newborns, crying is usually a sign of hunger. Therefore, reserve your feeding time to the quiet alert phase, right before overstimulation occurs.

Following the steps under ‘best home remedy for overstimulation’ to manage this phase as we explained above. It is recommended that you find a way of calming the baby and switching the environment or making the existing environment calmer by removing all overstimulating factors is the ideal solution for this. Hold your baby close to you or tuck them in their pram/cot to keep them calm. Apart from this, the best traditional remedy to calm down an overstimulated, crying baby is swaddling.

What is swaddling?

Swaddling is a traditional practice of wrapping your baby up as gently as possible in a blanket that is light and breathable. This will help them calm down and fall asleep. A swaddled baby’s head should never be wrapped and instead should be kept exposed to the air. The idea behind swaddling a baby is to help your little one feel snug and secure, recreating the conditions in your womb.

Take caution as you swaddle!

  1. Since swaddling keeps their arms and legs from flailing, it is recommended to practice this only on newborns.
  2. When your baby is 2 months or older, do not swaddle them as they can roll over onto their stomach. Doing so would increase the risk of SIDS.
  3. Give your baby enough room to move their hips and legs. Tightening the blanket too much will affect their skeletal development. It would also increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.
  4. Be mindful of the weather conditions; do not use a thick blanket when it’s hot and vice versa. Keeping your baby at the right temperature is vital.

Helping your baby sleep

You can put your baby to sleep when they start showing signs of sleep readiness. 

  1. Yawning
  2. Rubbing Eyes
  3. Fussing
  4. Looking Away

Not all babies are capable of putting themselves to sleep. While some parents rock their babies to sleep or make them fall asleep while breastfeeding, it is good not to let these become a pattern because the baby will become overly reliant on such conditions. However, this is totally fine during the newborn phase.


After the newborn phase, the expert recommendation is to allow your baby to feel sleepy in your arms and then placing them on their bed while they are still awake. Doing so would allow the baby to learn how to go to sleep on their own. If you want some extra support, playing some soft music would always be effective!