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How Many Hours Should A Newborn Sleep?

Although it may seem like the words "sleep" and "newborn" shouldn't coincide in the same sentence, wondering how many hours your newborn should sleep (and you, by default, should sleep too) is a question on every new mom's mind. When literally everything about parenting is uncharted territory, it's normal to wonder if your baby's sleep schedule (or lack thereof) is normal or not.

But, like most aspects of newborn life, normal isn't the most accurate word to describe an infant's sleep patterns. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies from zero to three months sleep an average of 10.5 to 18 hours per day. And even though that is a great deal of sleep for a tiny person, Kid's Health noted that their rest will be divided into about two to four hour segments around the clock, due to their inability to differentiate between day and night, and their need for nutrients and nurturing.

Immediately after birth, some newborns sleep for an extended period, of time, according to Baby Center, but in the following days and weeks, babies frequently change their sleep habits as they adjust to life outside the womb.

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In short, there isn't much you can do about your newborn's sleeping habits, because they're not really habits yet; those come later. But you can expect your tiny babe to wake every few hours to eat (or to take in the new world around them in wide-eyed wonder), and to sleep an average of 10 to 18 hours each day.