Newborn babies sleep most of the time, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep every 24 hours, and some may sleep as much as 18 to 19 hours.
They also need to be fed every 2 to 4 hours day and night, usually sleeping for two to three hours between feedings, and generally cannot sleep through the night.
How can you tell when your newborn needs to sleep or be fed? Observe your baby’s cues, your baby will show whether they want to sleep or be fed through subtle body language or expressions.
You can also establish a daily routine of feed, play, sleep for your newborn:
Following this routine according to your baby's needs, you can observe the baby's cues and reactions. Your baby may show signs of fatigue soon after feeding, which means that it is time for your baby to sleep, even though there wasn’t much time for you to play and interact with your baby.
Also, your baby may show signs of hunger after play time, just give your baby another feed before putting your baby to sleep. Your baby will naturally sleep better with a full tummy.
Newborn babies occasionally have an extra-long sleep, and that's okay. Unless your baby has jaundice or if there are other special circumstances, there is no need to wake your baby to feed.
At night, it's best to put your baby to sleep right after feedings, not after play.
You can establish a regular bedtime routine for your baby, such as giving them a warm bath,a diaper change, then putting them on the bed. Play soft music or hum songs, and dim the lights in the room to create a warm and cosy atmosphere, these can help your baby fall asleep and learn to distinguish between day and night.
Some experts also suggest that when your baby is drowsy in your arms, put them on the bed and let them fall asleep. This helps babies learn to fall asleep on their own, otherwise once they get used to falling asleep while nursing or in your arms, in future, you may have to hold your baby in order to get them to sleep.
To prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, accidental death of a baby while sleeping), keep the following in mind when preparing your baby for sleep: