The sleeping habits of newborn babies can feel contradictory. Because for the first few weeks, it feels like your baby almost never sleeps, at least not when you want him to power down for a few minutes. But, as experts explain, brand-new babies must sleep for the majority of the day. So how much sleep do newborns need, and why does it feel like my baby is awake all the time?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, which defines a newborn as a child who is three months old, newborn babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep every day. This fact is bound to make any new mom laugh until she dissolves into fatigue-induced tears. If your baby is getting double the recommended eight hours adults need, then why are you so tired all the time? Well, this amount of sleep is cumulative. Although a newborn baby who slept fourteen straight hours would be amazing, in reality they will wake up and need to eat about every three hours, as explained in Stanford Children’s Health. So those long hours of sleep come in little fits and bursts throughout the day, often without regard to whether it’s morning, noon, or night. And any parent of a newborn would think this is not news. Newborns manage to sleep all the time and also never.


So why do tiny babies need so much shut-eye? According to the New Kids Center, this is due to their adjustment to life outside the womb, as well as the effects of their rapid growth during this time. It takes a lot of energy to do all that growing, so babies definitely need their rest. And hang in there, new parents: one day your tiny one will sleep through the night.