A newborn's sleep schedule can sometimes be difficult to decipher: How much sleep does your baby actually need? And are they getting enough sleep? If you're wondering about how much sleep your 11-week-old baby should be getting each day, we've got some answers for you. Because sleep is so vitally important for your baby (and you, too, for that matter!), we've created a helpful week-by-week guide to assist you in navigating the early months of your baby's sleep journey. You've got this, mama.
To help you navigate these early weeks of newborn sleep, we've put together a handy sleep schedule of how much your 11-week-old is sleeping, plus some tips on these early days of sleeping.
How much sleep does an 11-week-old baby need?
According to The Baby Sleep Site, at 11 weeks old your baby will be sleeping about 14-16 hours total each day—about 10 hours at night, and 4-6 hours total during the day. By eleven weeks, your baby will even be ready for a more predictable bedtime and bedtime routine, too. While this can be flexible, an 11-week-old's bedtime should fall somewhere between 7 and 10 p.m. The first step in creating a difference between baby's nighttime sleep and daytime sleep is having an official bedtime, which will aid in baby's development.
In creating a bedtime routine, keep it short (babies can become overtired otherwise). Consider relaxing activities, like singing a lullaby and reading a simple bedtime story. While some babies do find an evening bath soothing, others tend to get excited during baths, which is the opposite effect you are going for at bedtime.
Related: Baby Feeding Guides & Schedules
"Your baby has almost graduated from the newborn stage and, hopefully at this point, you are starting to see a bit more consistency in their sleep patterns. If you still feel like your baby's sleep is chaotic and unpredictable, don't panic! It is still developmentally normal for sleep to be disorganized," says Rachel Mitchell, founder of My Sweet Sleeper. "You may also notice that your baby doesn't need to be fed as frequently overnight. The average amount of night feedings in this stage is between 1-2 as long as your baby is getting adequate nutrition throughout the day. Typically, I recommend trying to book feeds at each end of the night. For example, feeding about 4 hours after your baby has gone to sleep (between 10-11:30 p.m.) and then again sometime between 4-5:30 a.m. All babies are going to vary when it comes to feeds in this stage and you want to ensure that your baby is continuing to gain weight and speak with your pediatrician before you decide to drop a night feed."
To assist in determining baby's schedule, while keeping in mind bedtime and the evolving differentiation between nighttime sleep and daytime sleep, we have a sleep schedule of what one 24-hour period with an 11-week-old baby would look like. (Note: this is meant to be a rough guide of what you can expect your baby to do; however, this is not meant to be a strict sleep schedule to adhere to.)
11-week-old baby sleep schedule
Wake windows for an 11-week-old
A wake window is the period of time a baby can stay awake in between naps without becoming overtired (because newborn babies are unable to self-regulate their own sleep patterns, they can become overtired instead of simply just falling asleep).
The average wake window for an eleven-week-old newborn is 1 to 1.5 hours, according to Amy Motroni, a baby and toddler sleep consultant. While baby is awake, it's time to for eating, playing and getting a diaper change. As your baby approaches 3 months old, they will likely be staying awake a bit more during the day, while some naps may be getting shorter.
Related: 3-month-old baby milestones
Sleep tips for newborns:
As you work on creating a daytime and evening sleep schedule for your baby, establish a bedtime routine and hopefully get a bit more sleep yourself, it's important to consider the following sleep tips for newborns as well:
- 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.)
A version of this story was published August 24, 2021. It has been updated.