Newborn Sample Schedules


Baby sleep and eat schedule

**see example schedules below

Newborns can be very sleepy eaters, so it can often be hard to get a full feed in the first few weeks before baby falls into a coma like sleep (tips on keeping sleepy newborns awake here).  If baby isn't able to get a full feed, then she'll likely feel hungry much sooner than if she had a full feed. Just do your best and feed baby when she is hungry. She will get less sleepy soon and full feeds will be easier to get. Read more about full feeds on this post.

A well rested baby will eat much better than a tired one. You'll struggle to get full feeds when baby is overtired because she'll be too sleepy or fussy. This means that while you may be trying to work on having baby learn to fall asleep on her own, you will also want to make sure this doesn't results in her being too overtired. This is a tricky balancing act, I know!

Keep in mind that baby may fuss for other reasons outside of hunger, so if it hasn't been very long since her last feed, try some other calming methods before offering a feed. Baby may simply have an air bubble or need a little help going back to sleep.

Some babies are very consistency eaters and sleepers from the beginning. And some are not. With your guidance, baby will become more consistent over time. At first, don't worry so much about what time baby is eating and sleeping, as much as you just try to get some sort of routine down. I like to keep with the Eat/Wake/Sleep routine, if at all possible. You can learn more about the eat/wake/sleep routine on this post. Things will get more consistent with time and start to be more 'around the clock'. Starting with a consistent wake up time in the morning will help your day keep more routine. Eventually bedtime and nap times will become more consistent.

All babies have growth spurts every now and then when baby will want to eat more at a feed or eat more often. Just feed baby when baby is hungry and she'll go back to her old routine soon enough.



Example Newborn Schedules (0-3 months old)

The awake times (how long baby can stay awake before needing another nap or bedtime) is set as 1 hour below. How long a baby can stay awake will vary from baby to baby, and also with their age. Generally it will increase as they get older. The awake time for babies 0-3 months olds often ranges from 45 minutes-1.5 hours, but your baby may fall outside this range for some awake periods, especially if they are overstimulated, fussy, or it is the late evening. You can learn more about awake times by looking at the waketime length post.  If your baby generally is ready to fall asleep sooner than 1 hour after being awake, then move the nap time listed below sooner. If they fall asleep later than 1 hour after being awake, then their nap time will be moved later. The eating times will remain the same.

Remember to be flexible with your routine and do what works best for you and baby. While you are guiding baby along to fit into a routine, baby will still have her own preferences on when she sleeps and for how long.

Baby is always changing, and that means you routine is always changing. This can be pretty tricky as a first time mom, but with time you'll start to notice the little changes in baby and naturally make adjustments in the routine. Not changing the routine when it needs to be changed can results in short naps, difficulty falling asleep, and extra night wakings.

You do not need to start your day at 7 am, it is just a common time to start the day. If you start earlier or later, adjust your day accordingly. Just try to be consistent within 30 minutes of this time.


FEEDS EVERY 2.5 HOURS APART and awake time 1 hour
Example 1: feed occurs a little before bed
7:00 am  -  Wake and Feed
8:00 am -   Nap
9:30 am -   Wake and Feed
10:30 am - Nap
12:00 pm - Wake and Feed
1:00 pm - Nap
2:30 pm - Wake and Feed
3:30 pm - Nap
5:00 pm - Wake and Feed
6:00 pm - Nap
7:30 pm - Wake and Feed
8:30 pm - Bedtime
Example 2: feed occurs right before bed with the use of a catnap
7:00 am  -  Wake and Feed
8:00 am -   Nap
9:30 am -   Wake and Feed
10:30 am - Nap
12:00 pm - Wake and Feed
1:00 pm - Nap
2:30 pm - Wake and Feed
3:30 pm - Nap
5:00 pm - Wake and Feed
6:00 pm - Catnap
6:45 pm -  Wake
7:15 pm -  Feed
7:45 pm -  Bedtime
Example 3: cluster feeds in evening
7:00 am  -  Wake and Feed
8:00 am -   Nap
9:30 am -   Wake and Feed
10:30 am - Nap
12:00 pm - Wake and Feed
1:00 pm - Nap
2:30 pm - Wake and Feed
3:30 pm - Nap
4:30 pm - Wake and Cluster Feed
5:30 pm - Nap
6:30 pm - Wake and Cluster Feed
7:30 pm - Bedtime

*feeds between bedtime and the first feed of the morning are night feeds and will include a feed, possible diaper change and NO awake time. They will likely occur every 2.5-3 hours at first, spreading farther apart as baby gets older. Many newborns will naturally cluster feed in the evening. To learn more about cluster feeds look at the cluster feeds post. Many newborns will also naturally take a catnap (short nap) in the evening hours. You may want to add a dreamfeed after your bedtime feed, which usually occurs 2-3 hours after the bedtime feed. To learn more about dream feeds, look at the dreamfeed post.

**If your baby takes shorter than expected naps, then you will want to adjust the routine listed above. Check out the eat/wake/sleep post for tips on how to do this.


FEEDS EVERY 3 HOURS APART and awake time 1 hour
Example 1: feed occurs a little before bed
7:00 am - Wake and Feed
8:00 am - Nap
10:00 am - Wake and Feed
11:00 am - Nap
1:00 pm - Wake and Feed
2:00 pm - Nap
4:00 pm - Wake and Feed
5:00 pm - Nap
7:00 pm - Wake and Feed
8:00 pm - Bedtime
Example 2: feed occurs right before bed with the use of a catnap
7:00 am - Wake and Feed
8:00 am - Nap
10:00 am - Wake and Feed
11:00 am - Nap
1:00 pm - Wake and Feed
2:00 pm - Nap
4:00 pm - Wake and Feed
5:00 pm - Nap
6:00 pm - Wake
6:30 pm -  Feed
7:00 pm - Bed
Example 3: cluster feeds in evening
7:00 am - Wake and Feed
8:00 am - Nap
10:00 am - Wake and Feed
11:00 am - Nap
1:00 pm - Wake and Feed
2:00 pm - Nap
4:00 pm - Wake and Feed
5:00 pm - Nap
5:45 - Wake
6:00 - Cluster Feed
7:00 - Catnap
7:45 - Wake
8:00 - Cluster Feed
8:30 - Bedtime

*feeds between bedtime and the first feed of the morning are night feeds and will include a feed, possible diaper change and NO awake time. They will likely occur every 2.5-3 hours at first, spreading farther apart as baby gets older. Many newborns will naturally cluster feed in the evening. To learn more about cluster feeds look at the cluster feeds post. Many newborns will also naturally take a catnap (short nap) in the evening hours. You may want to add a dreamfeed after your bedtime feed, which usually occurs 2-3 hours after the bedtime feed. To learn more about dream feeds, look at the dreamfeed post.

**If your baby takes shorter than expected naps, then you will want to adjust the routine listed above. Check out the eat/wake/sleep post for tips on how to do this.


COMBO SCHEDULE - Feeds every 2-3 hours with varying awake time lengths (they often vary as baby gets older, usually getting longer as the day goes on)
Example 1:
7:00 am - wake and eat
7:45 am - nap (many babies are extra tired in the morning and don't stay awake very long)
9:30 am - wake and eat
10:30 am - nap
12:30 pm - wake and eat
1:45 pm - nap
3:30 pm - wake and eat
4:15 pm - catnap
5:00 pm - wake
6:30 pm - eat
7:00 pm - bedtime
Example 2:
7:00 am - wake and eat
8:00 am  - nap
10:00 am - wake and eat
11:30 am - nap
1:00 pm - wake and eat
2:30 pm - nap
4:00 pm - wake and eat
5:30 pm - catnap
6:00pm - wake
7:00 pm -  eat
7:30 pm - bedtime


To find out more about average awake times for your baby, cluster feedsdream feeds, sleep cues and how to time early morning feeds, click on the previous links. Be sure to check out the newborn sleep guide, if you haven't already.

22 comments :

  1. Trying for my 4 week old, but finding that after feeding baby very sleepy and sometimes quite fussy, wake time generally is just feeding only, is this the norm for this age?

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    Replies
    1. Ann pan,
      Yes, little to no awake time after a feed is very normal for some babies at this age. Fussiness after a feed not as normal. Maybe gas, a burp, still hungry, reflux? Maybe already overtired.

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  2. Thanks for posting this. My newborn (4 week old) is falling into the feeds every 2.5 hours apart generally in the last few days when a week ago would feed every 3-4 hours. Things change! Baby is sleeping bigger blocks of sleep at night and seems to be feeding up before night time which is very different to my first who fed every 3-4 hours without much deviation. Sometimes my newborn is up an hour sometimes less. Just trying to see what pattern he is going to and making sure he is taking full feeds. Tricky as he seems to feed quite quickly too.

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    Replies
    1. Irene,
      Some babies will eat more often during the day for several days after starting to sleep longer at night. And growth spurts may increase the frequency of feeds too. 4 weeks is still super young so I wouldn't be too worried about patterns changing a lot right now. Just keep focusing on the basics and things will most likely get more stable given a little more time.
      Best, Rachel

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  3. We have been doing well on "eat/play/slee" patterns, but I M still nursing my 11week old to sleep after play. How do you get them to fall asleep peacefully with out nursing?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Hello,

    We are starting to work on bringing the sleep time of our 11 week old from 930/10pm, back earlier and (hoping) to get to the 7am-7pm time frame. At the moment she goes to sleep solidly anywhere between 930pm-1030pm for around 6-8 hours straight, up for 1/2 hr- 1 hr of feeding and settling, then another 2-3 hours (so wakes up around 830am).
    I went cold turkey and attempted to put her to bed at 7pm the other day... It put her right out and she's only just starting to settle back down (was so fussy and upset during the day.. Nap times were thrown, out so she became very over tired, waking 2-3 times a night).
    ANYWAY. Just wondering whether you have a good idea in terms of how we could start to bring her bed time forward? 15 mins earlier a day? A week?
    She's not the best at self soothing yet either but I'm hoping as we get her to the 7am- 7pm time frame, she'll be less over tired and will settle better by herself.

    Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Also, her nap times aren't consistent at this point, so also hoping that as we work on the 7-7 time frame, consistent nap times will potentially start to follow through?

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  5. My son is currently 7 weeks and he is a good napper. His schedule is
    07.00 wake feed play
    08.00 sleep
    10.00 wake feed play
    11.15/11.30 sleep
    13.00 wake feed play
    14.15/30 sleep
    16.00 wake feed play
    17.30 sleep
    18.30 wake feed
    19.00 bed time routine
    19.30 sleep
    22.00 feed and straight to bed

    Usually before 22.00 his schedule has been well established. At his age, I thought he could do the 7/8 hours stretch already. However during night time, he always wakes up at random times and be widely awake. Eyes opened, and will take 1-2 hours to fall back to sleep. I dont think he is overtired because he is not fussy. (But if left alone for 1,5 hours he will start to fuss). I put him awake in his crib at naps so He should have the ability to fall back asleep. How can I get rid of this night wakings. Should I increase awake time?

    Thanks for your help.

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  6. Hello my 8 week old LO used to have 2-3 hour naps them last week bam she was very fussy,gassy, and overtired. Any help or ideas to get my happy baby that has nice naps back

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  7. Hi
    1.) My 3 month old princess usually cries after 5:00 pm if she wants to sleep. Her eyes become red when she is sleepy but very next moment she starts smiling and playing.If I keep her in dark room she keeps her eyes open.

    2.) She doesn't eat after waking up. Her schedule is like Feed, Sleep, Awake and play. How to change this schedule to Sleep, Awake, Feed n Play?

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  8. I know from other parts of your site that you are a fan of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"....Dr W would likely say bedtimes should be closer to 6:30, yes? I'm wondering why the earliest bedtime on here is 7; does that work better for you?

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    Replies
    1. Lsm0415,
      I am a fan of that book, but my sleep suggestions come from the combination of lots of books and others experiences and my own experience. So I doubt I'd ever end up having suggestions that would follow one book exactly. Either bedtime, as long as it works, is fine. If a child were an early riser or it worked better with naps, you'd definitely need a bedtime on the earlier side. I think an early bedtime is very important, but I'm not as pushy about such early bedtimes as hshhc. A lot of the time I just go by 7 because it's a common sleep time: 7 pm -7-am. A starting point to go by, but I expect people to vary what they're doing. Sorry, that was all kind of jumbled, but I hope it made sense :)

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  9. I just found your site & wish I found it with my firstborn! It's so hard to try to get the baby to sleep with a toddler running around. I get major stress when baby nap time comes around :/

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Hello! Is it ok for my newborn (3 weeks old) to sleep 5-6 hour stretches at night? She is exclusively breastfed. Or should I wake her after 4 hours because it may effect my supply? During the day she feeds q 2.5-3 hours by demand or by waking her.

    Thanks!

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  12. Avani Kiera,
    I think it is fine to have her go that long. That is if her weight and growth is ok and your pediatrician hasn't given you advice otherwise.

    Rachel

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  13. Rachel,
    My son is 10 weeks old today. We have done a feed, wake, sleep routine since he was born. He started sleeping through the night (11:15pm-7:15am) at 6.5 weeks old. This lasted for 7 nights then suddenly he started waking during the middle of the night again to eat (usually between 2:30am-5:30am). This lasted for a week or so then at 9 weeks he slept through the night 4 nights in a row, then again went back to waking during the night to eat. Why is this and what should I do to facilitate him sleeping through the night again? He has been moved around a bit lately with the holidays however I feel we've done a pretty good job sticking to schedule...

    Katie

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  14. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for your insightful look into the world of baby sleeping mystery. I have a 4 month old, and we are on a eat/play/sleep schedule. Sebastian does 4-5 40min naps a day, and is usually up between 6:30-7:30 and in bed between 7:30-8:30pm. My problem is, at 3 months Seb was going to sleep at 8pm, and would sleep till 12am or 1am then wake up at 3am then 7 am. At about 3.5 months, he started to wake up every 2 hours through the night. He is a healthy 8 kg baby. Any suggestions on how to increase time between feeds? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Christine Niu,
      If he is waking up that often, then the waking is most likely due to a sleep problem, not a need to eat. So I would try to get him to go back to sleep without a feed. With some babies this happens easily, with others not so much. IF he resists falling back to sleep without a feed, you can try to increase how long he goes between feeds, working at one at a time.

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    2. Thank you! Will try slowly space out the feeds.

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