11 Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep and How to Cope (Sleep problems: 0 to 3 months old )

At the newborn stage, babies are still adjusting to a regular sleeping pattern.

Newborns generally sleep about 14 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period, waking up frequently for feedings both day and night.

A 1- and 2-month-old should get about the same amount of sleep, 14 to 17 hours a day, broken into eight to nine hours of nighttime sleep and another seven to nine hours of daytime sleep over the course of several naps. A 3-month-old needs 14 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

Even with all that snoozing, it can feel like your baby isn’t sleeping all that much. Very young babies often sleep in short, catnap-like spurts, in part because they need to eat so often.

So if it seems like your sweetpea is constantly bouncing back and forth between dozing and waking, hang in there. It’s completely normal right now and it will soon start to change.

That said, there are some challenges that can make sleep harder for newborns to come by. At this age, two of the most common issues are:

Resisting back-sleeping

What it looks like: Your baby fusses or won’t settle when laid on her back to sleep. Babies actually feel more secure sleeping on their tummies, but that sleep position is linked to a much higher incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). So experts recommend always putting your baby on her back to sleep.

How to solve it: If your baby just won’t settle down on her back, talk to your pediatrician, who may want to check for any possible physical explanations. Much more likely is that your baby just doesn’t feel as secure on her back. If that’s the case, there are a few tricks you can try to encourage back-sleeping, including swaddling your baby and giving her a pacifier at bedtime. Just skip the sleep positioner, and stick with a consistent routine. Eventually, your baby will get used to sleeping on her back.

Mixing up day and night

What it looks like: Your baby sleeps all day, but then stays up all night long (not such a party for you!).

How to solve it: Your newborn’s nocturnal ways should correct themselves as she adjusts to life on the outside, but there are a few things you can do to help baby differentiate between day and night, including limiting daytime naps to three hours, and making clear distinctions between day and night (like keeping baby’s room dark when she naps and avoiding turning on the TV during nighttime feedings).

Restless sleep due to frequent late-night feedings

What it looks like: Most 2- to 3-month-old babies, particularly breastfed ones, still need to fill their tummies at least once or twice during the night. Waking up every two hours for middle-of-the-night chow-downs, on the other hand, is typically too much of a good thing by this point — and for most babies, not necessary.

What to do about it: First, talk to your child’s pediatrician about how often baby should be eating overnight. If you get the go-ahead to cut down on overnight feeds, ensure baby’s eating enough during the day by offering a feed every two to three hours. Then, work on slowly stretching the time between nighttime feedings.

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