How To Keep A Newborn Awake During The Day: 6 Tips

How To Keep A Newborn Awake During The Day: 6 Tips

As you know, babies do what they want, when they want. This also includes when they sleep and when they are awake. When your baby is born, they may not realize that daytime is the designated “awake” time, and nighttime is the designated “sleep” time.

As parents, one of your first big tasks is to help adjust your baby’s sleeping pattern so they stay awake more during the day than the night. 

In the early newborn days, their sleeping schedule is anything but a schedule. 

Their sleeping patterns can seem random to you but may make perfect sense to them. The key is figuring out that pattern and adjusting it so your baby stays awake more during the day. 

Understanding how much newborns sleep by their age can be the first step in figuring out their sleep patterns.

Newborn Sleeping Patterns

To begin with, the newborn stage is considered from birth to two months of age. These days can be the Wild Wild West days, where anything goes. It is helpful to understand what newborn sleeping looks like week by week, especially to help you determine if they are obtaining the right amount of sleep.

One Week & Two Weeks Old

Your brand new baby will sleep substantially in the first couple of weeks. The average is around 16 to 18 hours a day, and their sleep is broken up into chunks. 

The stomachs of newborns are tiny, and they will need to be replenished with milk or formula often – about every two hours. Usually, newborns at this age do not stay awake longer than 45 minutes before falling asleep again. Their naps will range from one and a half to two hours. 

Three Weeks to Four Weeks

At this stage, your baby will start to sleep between 14 to 16 hours a day and will stay awake longer in between napping. The best-case scenario is they will also begin to have longer stretches of sleep during the nighttime. 

Instead of waking up every two hours to feed, you’ll be waking up about every three hours. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician to ensure that your baby has gained enough weight to sleep longer stretches without needing to be woken up to be fed. 

Five Weeks to Six Weeks

Again, babies will sleep for around 14 to 16 hours a day, but their time between naps will lengthen even more, to about an hour and a half of awake time. Around this time, you will probably start to notice patterns in their sleep, and you’ll be able to tell if your baby is sleeping lightly or heavily. 

Seven Weeks to Eight Weeks

Around the end of their newborn phase (time, please slow down!) you’ll hopefully start to see a shift of longer nighttime sleeping hours and longer awake daytime hours. 

In total, your little one should still be sleeping around 14 to 16 hours a day (this amount of time will continue through at least eleven weeks old). Your baby may still be waking up during the night to feed, but they are hopefully asleep for more prolonged hours during the night. 

Keeping Newborns Awake During the Day

Now that we are aware of the approximate sleeping totals and time awake for newborns, we can discuss ways of making the shift to more awake time during the day happen. As with anything having to do with babies, gradual shifts are best at keeping your baby calm and content.

For how rapidly they grow and change, babies enjoy a predictable routine and typically do not enjoy big surprises to their feeding and sleeping schedules. If there is something new you are adding to their routine, do so little by little. 

Take all the time you need while your baby adjusts, and give both you and your baby room for things not to go perfectly on the first try.

Exposure to Daylight

When your baby first wakes in the morning, hold them near a window that allows natural light to come through. Exposing your baby to sunlight is a great way to keep them awake a little longer in between naps. 

Going outside for a walk for fresh air and light is a great way to get both of you out of the house! Be sure to stay out of direct sunlight though, it can get a little toasty!

Household Noises

Let the washer and dishwasher run, vacuum as normal, and allow music or the TV to play. These noises can help engage your baby and keep them awake as they look around for where the noise is coming from. 

As an added bonus, while they are sleeping during the day, these sounds can help desensitize them from becoming light sleepers as they get older. As much as we want our baby to stay awake during the day, it is also helpful not to have to tip-toe around when they are sleeping.

Talking and Singing

Engaging your baby with conversation and song can help keep them entertained and awake for a little longer.

Stay Awake For Feeding

Keep baby awake for feedings: many babies fall asleep while being fed. A way to sneak in extra awake minutes is to keep your baby awake while feeding them. This also helps your baby feed until they are full, which lets you know that they are getting all the nutrition their little body needs. 

Swaddle At Night

Swaddling at night allows your baby to feel more snug and secure and can aid in helping them sleep more hours during the night, which helps them stay more awake during the day. 

Keeping your baby unswaddled during the day can help them make the connection that night = swaddle = snug = sleep. 

Choose A Cycle

Choose one cycle where you help your baby stay awake for a full pre-determined rotation. You may decide that the 45 minute stretch after the first-morning feed is when you want your baby to stay awake. You may need to incorporate several methods, like going for a walk and singing, but try to keep your baby awake for the full 45 minutes.

After this is accomplished, you can add more “awake” durations to their schedule. 

Keeping Newborns On Nighttime Routines

Establishing a bedtime routine at night can help your baby adjust, especially if they have their days and nights mixed up. 

As much as we can show our babies when we want them to stay awake, another effective method of adjusting their sleep schedule is to show them when we want them to sleep. More sleep during the night can help increase their wake time during the day or make the shift to catching more zzz’s at night. This can be done with a consistent bedtime routine.

Creating a bedtime routine is a way to help your little one recognize when the right time to sleep is. It is a predictable routine that allows your baby to feel secure and relax. 

You can start implementing a bedtime routine right around the six to eight-week mark, just as your baby is getting to the end of their newborn stage. Partnering a bedtime routine with the practices you have implemented to keep your newborn awake longer will give that final push to having a more cohesive sleep schedule. 

In the early days of a bedtime routine, the best practice is to keep it simple. You may give your baby a bath, and rock them until they are ready to sleep. As they get older, you can add a few more steps that are comforting to your little one.

Little Yawn Collective for Better Snooze

Little Yawn Collective offers melatonin-free products that are the perfect partner to your little one’s bedtime routine. 

Using their Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula and their Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter help relax your little one with the NaturalSnooze fragrance, which creates an environment that helps your baby with falling and staying asleep. 

Conclusion

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know that bedtime can be hard! From the awake times to the sleepy times, we know that meeting your little buddy’s sleep needs can be tricky to navigate. 

We are here to offer melatonin-free sleep help that is made with natural ingredients and pediatrician-approved. So, what are you waiting for? Come catch some zzz’s with us! 


Sources:

Keeping a Newborn Awake During Feedings | Babywise Mom

Newborn Sleep Schedules By Week + Patterns | The Baby Sleep Site

Infant Sleep | Stanford Children's Health

Essential Oils to Help You Get More Sleep | Sleep Foundation

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