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Christine Jolly, Owner and Parent Coach

Hobart, Tasmania

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Realistic Expectations for Overnight Newborn Sleep

It helps most newborn parents to know they are not alone with the stresses of newborn sleep. It helps them know that most parents are required to persevere through six weeks worth of newborn wakefulness between 5-10pm. Some may cluster feed for six weeks but do great big chunks of night time sleep. All completely normal.

The following guidelines might help you set realistic expectations for your newborn's sleep. Weigh your baby and decide where they fall.

1. From 4kg you can expect 2 night feeds between 7pm and 7am. Perhaps 3, if there is a 6am feed.

2. From 5kg-6kg expect no more than 2 feeds during the night.

3. From 6.5kg it is physically possible to sleep from 10:30pm-7am on one feed if all day feeds have been adequate.

Below are two examples of two feeds overnight. Choose one that works for you.

1. Feed and sleep at 7pm. Feed, change, sleep when they wake at 1am. Feed, change, sleep at 4am. Wake and feed at 7am.

2. Feed and sleep at 7pm. Wake (60 minutes to create a "sleep debt"), feed and sleep at 10:30pm. Feed, change, sleep at 3:30am. Wake and feed at 7am.

The first option is good for mums who want to get to bed early. The second option is for mums who don't want to wake up more than once in the night so start the 10:30pm wake,feed,sleep before they themselves go to bed. The second also teaches them to drop the 3:30am feed first giving the mum a longer stretch of sleep.

As you can see, either option still has two feeds between 7pm and 7am. Their bodies are excellent calorie regulators. Choose a method that works best for you.

Let us know if we can help you choose an option best suited for your family. Get in touch.

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Disclaimer: Articles on our website are for education purposes only.  Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.