26 answers

How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?

I have a 10 week baby girl and my pediatrician has always just called her one of those "fussy" babies. But, now I'm thinking it might just be related to not getting enough sleep. She now sleeps from about 11pm to about 5 and wakes up for a quick feeding then sleeps again until about 8. After that it is short little naps the rest of the day. The longest maybe 30 minutes depending what we are doing that day. Should I try and get her to take longer naps during the day? It's hard to get her to sleep longer than 30 minutes though. She always wakes up. It is really hard to take her places during the day because sometimes she just screams and is inconsolable. She is gaining weight fine and so far very healthy. I would like some feedback from moms on how much their baby at this age actually slept and if it affected their fussiness and if this gets better with age or if they will continue to be fussy?

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Wow! Thank ya'll so much for all your responses. I'm glad to know that my baby isn't the only fussy one out there. It seemed like to me that all the other babies were so much better than mine and I must have been doing something wrong. I'm really thinking about what you all had to say and go with my instincts as well. I wrote down all the book recomendations and will definitely try and read through them as well as give her some gripe water when she is being particularly fussy. I do think now that some of her problem has to do with reflux because she does do that a lot. And it seems like she does it more in the evening for some reason or when I'm talking to her and she's laughing. So I'm going to moniter that a little closer. As well as kind of go back to feeding her on demand. Also, I did get a baby carrier for her and she does like it when I carry her around in it. She falls asleep pretty quickly in it. So anyways thanks again I didn't even think I would get two responses and I ended up getting way more than that.

Featured Answers

I don't think anyone has mentioned this but there is a chance she could have silent reflux- there is a reason she is always fussy and this could be it. There is a great book called Colic Solved and it was written by a GI pediatrician and it was such a good book...it really helped me to understand my baby. (He was considered a happy spitter...even though he wasn't "happy"....he would spit up 60-70 times a day but he was a super chubby boy)
Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there as possibility. When you lay them down flat, the reflux can really bother them so you want to put them at an incline. My son slept in his swing for the first 5 mos. which helped a ton!
Anyway, just another idea.

1 mom found this helpful

I was going to respond to this but Melissa said EVERYTHING I would have said so I'll just leave it at that!!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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I was going to respond to this but Melissa said EVERYTHING I would have said so I'll just leave it at that!!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think you should stop nursing on demand; even if your baby "uses" you as a paci, that's not terrible & you're not spoiling her by allowing it. It's comfort for her & when they're tiny, especially, they need the comfort. I also don't believe that a breastfed baby will allow herself to eat too much. However, you don't have to offer her the breast everytime she fusses if you know she's just eaten & probably isn't hungry. Find other activities, even if it's five minutes of looking at a book, five minutes of tummy time, five minutes of walking down the hall looking at pictures, etc.

I've had three babies & only one napped for a long period of time during the day. My 5 month old is napping now, but I'm fully expecting her awaken any minute, since it's been about 20 minutes since I put her down. Often I can get another twenty or so by lying down & nursing her back to sleep as soon as she begins to stir. You're lucky that your baby is sleeping so well at night! Be glad you get all of those hours in a row at night & learn to work around the short naps during the day. :)

As far as outings go (& even at home when she's fussy, infact), have you considered babywearing? The Moby Wrap is a wonderful, inexpensive & easy to use wrap that works from newborn to 35lbs with various ways to hold baby, depending on her age & weight. I use it every day & never ever go anywhere without it. My baby (& the one before her) rides in it when we go to the grocery store, library, everywhere! It's also great for calming a fussy baby. They like to be close to momma, it comforts them. Google babywearing & you can read all about the awesome benefits of strapping her kiddo onto you. :)

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think anyone has mentioned this but there is a chance she could have silent reflux- there is a reason she is always fussy and this could be it. There is a great book called Colic Solved and it was written by a GI pediatrician and it was such a good book...it really helped me to understand my baby. (He was considered a happy spitter...even though he wasn't "happy"....he would spit up 60-70 times a day but he was a super chubby boy)
Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there as possibility. When you lay them down flat, the reflux can really bother them so you want to put them at an incline. My son slept in his swing for the first 5 mos. which helped a ton!
Anyway, just another idea.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
I am a older mom, and have been involved with a message theropist. And in studies they show that even new borns sometimes during birth get things out of place in thier bodies. Alot of times their little tummies are out of place, and need to be pulled down. My cousin in North Carolina has a pedi that won't let them leave the hospital without being checked out first by a message theropist to make sure no adjustments need to be done,.. Makes since that being born is the most tramatic thing to your body. Just a thought. Hope everything gets better!

T., your little one is just a little over 2 months. Baby she's hungry, continue to feed her on demand. I know you think that you are feeding her too much, you're not. The problem is you're not feeding her enough. To put your mind at ease, if over feeding is a concern, your body adjust to the needs of your baby. When she is full, she will fall off the breast. Child the reason little mama is only sleeping 30 minutes or less at a time during the day, is because she's HUNGRY!!! FEED HER ON DEMAND, and watch the fussiness go away (unless she's colicky). Trust, you will have a much happier baby. Now as she gets older, her demands will began to taper off, then you will be able to put her on a 2 to 3 hour feeding schedule. But for now, let her guide you, that 2 to 3 hour schedule is only a guideline or a base line for you to go by in order to help you know how often she should be eating. Your best guideline is your instincts - trust them! Don't be afraid of what you think is best for your child. The bond is between you and her. Do know that doctors are not always right, nor are our parents, friends etc. It's ok to get advice, but go with whats in your heart. That's your compass. Also, do know that every child develops differently, do not compare your child's progress with another, she is developing fine. When you start back to feeding her on demand, you will notice a change in her sleep pattern. Stop saying I can't do anything or go anywhere with her, because of the fussiness. This is no longer about you and what you want, (stop thinking about what you used to do before the child)it is all about her. On the days you know that you have to get out and you're not comfortable nursing in public, then take some time, pump your breast, and pour the expressed milk in a bottle(s)and give her that, and then you will be able to continue on with your day.

Now you need to know, that if she is demanding to nurse more frequently, she's probably getting ready for a growth spurt; and is commanding your body to produce more milk for this season in her life. Let your daughter be your guide, let her take the lead for now, and as you learn her (because she's the teacher now)then start adding structure to her days. Don't rush her, be patient, remember this is new to her as well as you. You two are learning to communicate with one another, listen intently. What you do as the parent now, can make the bond closer or drive her further away. BE PATIENT, AND LISTEN TO YOUR HEART!!! ok, well good luck - hope this help.

I never like to recommend a book when you are having an immediate issue because who has time to read books? BUT, I would quickly buy "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child" which is similar to the Baby Whisperer. We are on our second child using the methods in the book & things are great. It tells you what to do when you see certain issues and works with you through all stages of development. It is a very simple, easy read, that you can reference quickly. Also, we are currently doing the "silent reflux" thing & as someone stated this may be an issue. Especially if she is arching her back during feedings. If you need a pediatric GI specialist, Mona Dave @ Presby Plano is really good. Best wishes!

if doct said not colic and yyou still think need more sleep then btry little rice cearal in formual or by self

it could be related....i always found the less my baby sleeps...the less he sleeps even more...if there wasn't a good schedule i place...he was much fussier and wouldn't nap well...i recommend the books, "babywise", and "healthy sleep habits, happy baby"....they will help you get on track with a good sleeping schedule. :)

At ten weeks, your baby is getting close to being able to establish a regular sleep schedule. Sounds like she's on her way to good nighttime sleep, but you'll want to consolidate her daytime sleep into 2 naps. Best advice I have for that is my sleep bible: "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr Eric Weissbluth. It coached us through 2 children and has been worth its weight in gold, but only costs $15. It's true that well-slept children are happier, and so are their parents :)
Good luck!

That is EXACTLY the way my daughter slept at that age...it's exhausting! All I can tell you is that she slowly began going to bed earlier (we started a very consistent bedtime routine, turning off televisions and lights etc around 6 to eliminate all the stimulation, then a nice warm bath and jammies and breastfeeding, reading books outloud to here) By 6 months she was going down at 8pm but still woke 2-3 times a night. I moved her short naps closer and closer together until she was taking one 30 minute nap in the morning and 1 60 minute nap in the afternoon. Finally, at one year she just all of a sudden started sleeping 12 hours a night and taking a 2 hour nap! BLISS! I think as she becomes more active you will find that she begins sleeping more. hang in there. It's harder on you than it is on her, trust me!

I highly suggest the book The Baby WHisperer. It was great.

I have a 7 week old little girl and she sleeps about those same hours during the night and doesn't sleep much during the day either lately. I asked my peditrician about it and they really need more sleep. They need like 14-18 hours of sleep. I don't do this all the time because I don't want her to only be able to sleep when I do but she will sleep several hours in her baby bjorn. She likes to be that close and snug to me. Might try that. Also, is your little one gassy? That is a lot of my daughters problem when she does cry. We can tell when it is hurting. We give her mylicon drops or gripe water. Really helps!

I doubt she is over full. I breastfeed and it is every 3 hours during the day and for 15 minutes on each side and she's still where she is supposed to be weight wise so she's not over eating but gaining weight. I was told to make sure she gets a full feeding every feeding so that she's not crying in an hour because she's hungry. You May have to rub her back or feet or whatever to get her to stay awake to do this at first but then it gets easier. This way you know if she's crying, it's not because she's hungry, it's something else.

Now I'm not saying my baby never cries by any means (my cousin has one of those babies) but she doesn't cry all the time, and all babies are different as we all know so this might not help, but hopefully it will.
Also, we feed during the day

This sounds exactly like my son at her age. First of all, don't let someone tell you your baby has to have a lot of sleep. THere is a recommend time of sleep, but every baby is different and if she needed sleep then she would sleep on her own. Believe me, babies have an innate sense of what they need...that's why they cry when hungry, wet, etc. So if she wanted more sleep, she would sleep. Also, Drs don't know everything. This may not be a popular statement, but they see your baby for 20min once every few weeks. You are with her 24/7. I think my son had colic. He would cry and fuss ALL the time. I gave him a lot of gas drops and gripe water and that helped, but it didn't eliminate it. And he would only sleep 30 min at a time during the day. It was VERY frustrating. By about 10 weeks, I took my mom's advice (against my Drs advice)and started giving him rice cereal before the bottle. Just a couple of tablespoons at first. I started it first at his night feeding and he slept more soundly (he would wake up and fuss a lot at night and I'd have to get up and give him his pacy to calm him down). Then I added it to his noon feeding. It really helped with his fussiness. I also allowed him to have a pacifier. Before having him, I was majorly anti-pacy, but it has really been a lifesaver. He's almost 2 now and wants his pacy to sleep, but does not need it during the day anymore. Some babies have more intense personalities than others and they need the comfort from the sucking motion. Research shows that babies who don't get that comfort can grow up to comfort them selves by overeating and/or smoking. So, don't let someone make you feel bad for letting her have a pacy. A pacy will also help her relax (much needed for intense personalities) and she'll sleep better and longer. You may have to help her hold it in at first, but she'll get the hang of it. Anyway, that's my two (long) cents. Hope it helps!

I have an 11 week old. Last night, I put her to bed at 9:45 and she work at 7:45 this morning for her first feed of the morning. She is breast and bottle fed. I strongly recommend getting the book "the baby whisperer" because it totally goes through their ages with growth spurts and everything. When your pediatrician suggests "she is just a fussy baby" -Bah humbug! Babies communicate by crying... it may be you haven't learned her language yet. If you get really desperate, the nesting place in grapevine does the "happiest baby on the block" and I personally have seen it change babies. Hope this helps and good luck with your precious one!

I feel your pain. My son did the exact same thing starting when he was 13 weeks old. He would only sleep 35 minutes at a time even though he woke up so tired. He was so fussy during the day because he was so tired. Daycare would always comment on his fussiness. I was at my wits end. It got better when he was 6 months old because I felt at that time it was safe to put him on his tummy to sleep and i needed to do something. Once I did that he started to sleep longer. His morning nap is now 1 hour and his afternoon nap is 2.5 hours. The fussiness got better for a little while but now it's picked back up. I think it's because he is teething.

I think your baby sounds completely normal, whatever that is. I haven't seen too many infants that I would not consider fussy. Your daughter sounds exactly like my youngest son was. He slept ok at night(and your daughter is sleeping great at night!!), but wouldn't sleep for more than 15-45 minutes during the day. I tried it all-bouncy seat, sling, swing, rocking, but I just did what I could and slowly tried to work him into a routine based on his needs and sleep schedule, not mine. By the time he was 5 or 6 months, he was doing so much better and still naps fairly well. He slept(during the day) in his bouncy seat until he could barely fit in it anymore, but that is what he liked and where he slept best, so that's what we did. It will get easier as she gets older. Good luck!!!

My son was similar at that age. What worked for us was nursing on demand even if its just for comfort. Some babies just need that closeness with mommy. I nursed him to sleep as soon as I saw that first yawn and held him while he slept (or wore him in a sling/carrier so I could get stuff done). He always sleeps much longer with me than napping in his crib. Don't worry about being a human pacifier or all the sleep training stuff! They are only babies for a short time and grow out of stuff before you know it. You can also get creatiive about how you spent naptime together. You can sleep with her in a chair if she is securely on your lap or lay on the floor together etc. I think around 15 hrs or so at 10wks is average but just focus on getting to sleep when you see the first yawn and your little one will always tell you when she needs sleep. Good luck!

I have a nine month old baby and have breast fed her exclusively. She began a similar pattern of napping (up after about30/40 minutes). I started nursing her when she woke up and found that she would go right back to sleep and usually sleep for another hour or two. From research I did, I found that it is very difficult to over feed a newborn, especially when they are breast feeding. If they are full, they will stop eating and if they are hungry they will cry to get more food. Your body will adjust to how much milk and what kind of milk the baby is getting based on how the baby is nursing. For that reason, I tended to ignore any kind of set schedule for nursing -- I followed my baby's cues. If she wanted to nurse, I let her . . . even if it was for 45 minutes! I know that she was not getting much milk after 15 minutes or so, but she was getting her sucking need met naturally (no pacifiers necessary) and it forced me to slow down and bond with my new baby. We have a great relationship now and her sleep is much better.

I hope that helps!


A lot of sleep. They need about 13-15 hours, maybe more! My second baby didn't sleep through the night for six months, but took great naps during the day, like 2-3 hour naps! My first started sleeping through the night at 3 months, but never napped very well - maybe only 1-2 hour naps. You could try putting her down earlier in the evening. Mine started going around 9pm-10pm at around 2-3 months. Then earlier and earlier. By 6 months they started going to bed between 6:30 and 7pm, then slept until 5am-6am. Then would take their morning nap around 8am-9am depending on what time they got up that morning. Then another nap right after lunch. Then another between 3-4pm. At 10 weeks she probably is starting to try and find her schedule; or the schedule is changing for her. I know the first year we went through a dozen different schedules b/c they change so much that first year. I would definetly try to put her to bed earlier at night. Hopefully this helps you.

First, congratulations on your new bundle of joy. It truly changes your life for the better. Please pick up the Babywise book. It is so good. My 2 boys are the best sleepers because of this book. She should be napping atleast four times a day and going to bed at 7:00 depending on the schedule you set. Babies love consistency. This book teaches you how to do everything at a certain time. I agree with feeding her every 3 hours, this too will help with scheduling. They become the happiest babies when they get enough sleep. You will be able to come and go as you need to when you have her eating and sleeping on a schedule. Its up to you some people don't like schedules and some do.

1-3 months
Newborns sleep for about 16 hours out of every 24, split into periods of 2-4 hours and divided equally between day and night.

Most can distinguish night from day by 10 weeks. By the end of the third month, the frequency of daytime naps drops from about four to three and most babies will start to sleep for a longer stretch of around 6 hours a night.

3-6 months
Things are changing rapidly, with sleep dropping to about 14 hours a day. Most babies will sleep around 10 hours during the night and 4 hours in the day.

Although by 3-4 months babies are biologically capable of sleeping through the night, many of them will still wake up at intervals. The good news is they are increasingly responsive to routines.

6-12 months
A distinct shift happens in the balance of day and night-time sleep. By 9 months, most babies need just one morning and one afternoon nap.

Length of naps and night-time sleep becomes more predictable, moving towards 11-12 hours at night (either in one block or shorter bursts) and 2.5 hours in total during the day. This should give you a chance to plan around their sleep.

I hope this helps.

Sounds to me like she wasusing nursing like a pacifyer also.
that she sleeps that long at one stretch at night is great, but by that age all four of mine were going around 4 hours between feedings. Maybe that would help her to eat more at the feeding time, and not want something so often,and although I don't like a pacifyer stuck in their mouth when nothing is wrong, if she is fed, dry etc. you might try one when she is fussy. Also she may wake up, but not cry if put in one of those little seats, or even sometimes they just lay there and look around & don't need picked up for awhile.

I definitely recommend Dr. Weissbluth's book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I didn't read it until my 1st child was one, and it saved my sanity. I use his techniques with my 2nd child and life is SO much easier this time around!

I have three kids and in my experience they are much fussier those first few months than afterwards (excluding teething which is pretty rough for some babies!). Do you have a baby carrier, like a mei tai or podegi...basically something that goes over both shoulders and let's you carry baby on front. This is what I always have used and love it. Babies almost always sleep better on mom.

As for nursing, I would keep feedig on demand. She won't overfill like she can on formula. Breastmilk is more similar to water in that way. She also won't over eat. Nursing might help her with any gas discomfort she might be having. It will also help with your supply.

The baby whisperer is good, just be aware of not getting too routine with the nursing. Most of the time it will be okay but during growth spurts the baby will need to nurse frequently in order to increase your supply properly.

Basically some babies are fussier at first but it does improve. Enough sleep helps...and so does some type of baby carrier to keep baby next to you:-)

Hi T.,
This is pretty normal for a baby her age. She is still trying to figure out a routine. If you are consistent with your own nighttime routine (a bath, breastfeed, a few books, in a very soothing voice, then bed time)---you can't start too early on that---then it will help her understand when to sleep.

I would also get started on the nighttime routine WAY earlier than 10 or 11 pm. I can't remember what age he way, but with our baby boy, we found that no matter what time we put him to bed, he always woke up at the same time, like clockwork. So, only by putting him to bed earlier was he going to get more sleep. And he was a lot happier!

We also found that our baby was a pretty gassy baby (I could never figure out what I was eating that was causing this effect in my milk!), so we loved Mylicon drops, which our pediatrician was perfectly fine with giving every few hours (almost every feeding). It can go straight in the bottle, if you use a nighttime bottle of pumped milk (which I highly recommend b/c it gets that husband of yours helping, too, and gives you a little bit more sleep!!) or directly in their mouth.

I hope one or both of these suggestions help you out!
Good luck!

***addition after my original post---how could I forget? We swaddled Connor for each bedtime/naptime and used a sleep positioner to keep him at a slight angle, which helped him to sleep longer...the Kiddopotamus "SwaddleMe" worked great for when he was tiny (like yours) and the "Miracle Blanket" was the best swaddle EVER that he wasn't able to "break out of" until 5 months, which is when we stopped using a swaddle. The slight incline of a sleep positioner might help if she has acid reflux, too --- due to acid reflux, many babies need an incline to sleep on their backs, or they need to sleep on their sides, which the AAP also approves of in stead of lying them on their stomachs. hope this helps!

Is it possible that she could have reflux? Babies don't have to spit up to acid reflux. My daughter had what they call silent reflux where the acid comes up but doesn't make it all the way up and then is swallowed back down. It can be quite painful and often effects a baby's sleep. Some of the symptoms are frequent hiccups, random choking or swallowing noises, neck and back arching after feedings, interrupted sleep, and excessive fussiness. I think that this is many times mistaken for a baby just being colicky. I have a few suggestions for you.

-Monitor your baby for sypmtoms of reflux.
-Elevate your babies head when sleeping and after feedings.
-Read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child! I swear by this book, it did wonders for my daughter! The Dr who wrote had done years of research on infant sleep cycles.
-Consider chiropractic care! I know this may seem a little strange to some, but when my daughter had bad reflux I was referred to a Chiropractor and it was miraculous! I highly recommend Dr. Melissa Shelton in Plano!! She is so gentle; I promise it doesn't hurt. If anything I think my daughter enjoyed it. It was very calming. Even if your daughter doesn't have reflux I feel strongly that it would be very beneficial for a "colicky" baby.

I hope you find something to help! I definitely know where you're coming from:)

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