At 14 weeks old, your baby is inching toward leaving the newborn stage behind (but don't worry–you can totally keep saying you "just" had a baby all the way until they turn 21—it's a mom rule.)
As your little one continues to grow and develop, one of the most eagerly-anticipated milestones parents can look forward to is more sleep. Babies can be all over the map with their sleep patterns in the newborn weeks, but by 14 weeks old, some patterns may be beginning to emerge. Your baby is getting older, they are eating on a more predictable schedule and they may even be learning how to self-soothe in some instances—and all that translates into hopefully more sleep for all of you.
What will your nights look like with your new 14-week-old baby? We've got the scoop on what's in store for your sleep—including tips and a sleep schedule to help you all get more rest.
How much sleep does a 14-week-old baby need?
Although your little one is growing older, your baby still requires a lot of sleep: a newborn should get 14-17 hours of sleep per 24 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
"By 14 weeks, your baby is nearing what most parents refer to as the 'four-month sleep regression,'" says Rachel Mitchell, a certified pediatric and maternity sleep consultant. "This can feel scary if you are anticipating your baby's sleep to become worse, but remember what is actually happening is that your baby is progressing. While this progression can affect sleep, it doesn't affect all babies in the same way. For some it is a very subtle shift and for others, it is more noticeable. Some babies also start this progression a bit early, so if you notice that your baby starts to wake up more frequently at night, or suddenly take short naps, it is possible they are moving through this progression. The best thing you can do for your baby is to stay consistent and keep addressing the foundations of sleep. Try not to panic or change too many things at once, as this can cause your baby to take longer to move through this progression and potentially create additional habits along the way."
Fourteen-week-old baby sleep schedule
By 14 weeks old, your baby may have started to put herself on her own sleep schedule—many babies start to develop natural circadian rhythms sometime around three months old. However, not all babies are the same and some may need a little extra encouragement to find the perfect sleep schedule that leaves you all feeling a little more rested.
The right sleep schedule can actually encourage your baby to sleep more, and get better quality sleep. Every baby is different and it's important to follow your baby's sleep cues whenever possible, but to help guide you along the way, here's what a sample sleep schedule for a 14-week-old baby might look like. (Keep in mind that this is just a sample and your own schedule might look a little different.)
OPTION 1: Early bedtime routine, starting at 6:15 pm, with baby asleep by 6:45 pm.
OPTION 2: Offer a nap at 6:15 pm. Wake up baby at 7 pm, with an 8:45 pm final bedtime.
Wake windows for a 14-week-old
By 14 weeks old, your baby's wake window will start to gradually increase to around two to four hours between naps. However, it is important to keep in mind that even if your baby can stay awake for longer periods of time, it doesn't always mean they should.
At this age, babies still can't always regulate their own sleep patterns and may simply stay awake instead of falling asleep when they're tired. That's why understanding your baby's sleep cues and sticking to a pretty regular sleep schedule (although sometimes, life happens, we know!) can be helpful.
Sleep tips for newborns:
Fourteen weeks can be a somewhat difficult stage as far as sleep goes, because some babies will still be hanging around the newborn sleep phase where anything goes, while others will be tiptoeing into more "normal" sleep and wake patterns.
The most important thing to remember at this age is that every baby develops differently, so don't get discouraged if your friend's three-month-old is snoozing soundly through the night while yours is still waking up every hour to eat. Try to learn your baby's cues to recognize when they are getting sleepy before they get overtired, stay consistent with sleep routines and focus on getting rest when you can if your baby is still not quite there yet. (But they'll get there–we promise!)
Here are some more baby sleep times to help you get through this season of life.
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep, not on the stomach or side. This helps to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID). The American Academy of Pediatrics initiated the "Back to Sleep" movement in 1992, and rates of SIDS/SUID have decreased dramatically since.
- Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, loose sheets, and bumpers out of your baby's crib or bassinet for similar reasons as above.
- Avoid overheating. Even though they're itty-bitty babies, you can dress them according to the room's temperature. Don't over-swaddle or over-layer their clothing.
- Try a pacifier. If they reject it, that's OK. If it falls out, that's OK. If you're breastfeeding, you may want to wait until baby is comfortable with latching and effectively nursing before introducing a pacifier.
- Use a white noise machine. Whether your house is quiet as a mouse, or you've got other kids running around making noise, a white noise machine can help your baby feel soothed (and possibly tune out) in their surroundings.
- Snuggle it up. Your newborn wants your cuddles as much as you want to give them—especially if they're fussy. Swaddle them up snugly, then rock them until they quiet down. There's no such thing as holding a newborn too much (for safety reasons, don't fall asleep with them in your arms).