Birth to 4 Months - Sleep

Pregnancy and Beyond

Click here to listen to a message about safe sleep for babies.

A crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. Avoid couches with cushions as baby can get wedged between them. Waterbeds, beanbag chairs, and adult pillows and blankets are also unsafe.

The usual pattern of sleep for newborns is one of short "cat naps" during the day and night. You can expect periods of sleep to be broken up by crying and fussing. Newborns sleep between 8 and 20 hours a day. The older your baby becomes, the fewer naps he needs, and the longer he will sleep at one time.

Your baby should sleep on his back throughout the first year of life at naptime and nighttime. Sleeping on the back reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Make sure everyone who cares for your baby-grandparents, childcare providers, babysitters-is aware that your baby sleeps on his back. Placing your baby on his tummy, with supervision, when he is awake is recommended for his physical development.

Make sure that the room in which your baby sleeps is comfortable - around 70° F. Avoid dressing your baby with too many clothes and don't use pillows, heavy blankets or soft quilts in his crib. Be sure your crib meets current safety standards and that the mattress is firm.

Newborns can be noisy sleepers. They twitch and make jerking movements in their sleep. You may want your baby to sleep in a different room.