In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies.
The night wakings gradually reduce and within a few weeks (usually around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to go for one long stretch of five or more hours at night. Usually the first stretch to develop will be from bedtime to around midnight, as your baby drops the late evening feed first. Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up earlier to feed, in the hope that it will do away with the 2am feed – babies are usually too tired to feed efficiently and this can cause longer-term sleep problems.
If you’re having sleep problems at this age it is usually one of the following issues:
- Your newborn may have his day and night muddled up.
- Newborns can be too sleepy to feed well, fall asleep at the breast and therefore need to feed more frequently.
- At 2 weeks to 6 weeks, many newborns become more wakeful and hard to settle to sleep, especially during the afternoon and early evening.