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Why do Babies Sleep so Much?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Many new parents worry about the sleep patterns of their newborns. How much sleep can one reasonably expect a healthy baby to need during those first few months of life? Is there a point when a parent should be concerned about the baby sleeping too much? The fact is that babies sleep and it is perfectly normal. Here are some facts about babies and sleep that may help to put the minds of first-time parents at ease.

The reality is that newborns sleep. In fact, newborn babies sleep a great deal. While the sleep pattern for a baby may not gel with the sleep pattern of his or her parents, there is not any cause for alarm if the infant sleeps through most of the night and still sleeps a great deal during the day. Even if the baby sleep reaches up to twenty hours per day, with short periods of wakefulness scattered throughout the time, there is no cause for alarm.

One of the reasons behind what appears to be excessive babies' sleep is the fact that the baby is still adjusting to a new environment, and experiencing a rapid bit of growth at the same time. A lot of sleep for babies early on is a good thing. Proper development demands that babies sleep a lot. Growth hormones are secreted by the pituitary gland at a much faster rate while babies sleep.

As any seasoned parent can attest, the first five months of a baby’s life are marked by rapid growth. It is not unusual for infants to double their body weight by the time the child has reached the age of five months. After that point, the growth will continue at a steady pace, but will begin to slow somewhat over the next several months. Newborn sleep that is interrupted by waking for food and attention now and then is perfectly normal during this time, and should be considered a sign of normal infant health.

There are those new parents that are concerned that excessive sleep on the part of their infants indicates some deficiency in parenting skills. This is not the case at all. As long as parents are making sure the baby is in a comfortable environment, is well fed, kept clean, and is held close during those intermittent periods of wakefulness, there is no deficiency going on at all. Babies sleep because they need it, not to escape parents who are inattentive or inadequate in some manner. Of course, as the child ages, the parents will play a more active role in helping the child to develop sleeping patterns that are in line with the rest of the household. But that will come over time and should not be considered a sign that a parent is failing to do a good job.

Babies sleep so much because that is part of the natural order of things. Don’t be concerned that your child is waking up in the middle of the night because he or she slept too much during the day. Babies have their own internal clocks that do not operate on society’s conventions. Allow babies sleep during that those first months that are so critical to normal development and don’t worry about the baby getting too much sleep. In this instance, the baby knows best.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon1002903 — On Mar 14, 2020

Thank you for posting this article. I was also concerned about my 5 days old daughter who is sleeping a lot. But after reading this post, I feel relieved.

By anon296043 — On Oct 09, 2012

Wow this article shed a whole new light on sleeping babies. Thanks a billion. Without it my baby would be, well, it wouldn't. So thank you for saving little Ambrosia's life.

By anon138154 — On Dec 30, 2010

Thanks for giving me best information about infants sleeping. actually i become a new parent and worry about my five days old baby girl. Once again, thank you so much for providing information. --Hafeez

By anon112322 — On Sep 19, 2010

This article sure put my mind at ease! My son, who is 13 weeks old now sleeps a lot! Everyone tells me that it is okay for him to do this, but as a mother it is only natural to worry. Thank you

By anon100039 — On Jul 28, 2010

Thank you for this article! I was concerned because my baby was getting too much sleep as well. This puts my mind at ease. Thanks again!

By anon40206 — On Aug 06, 2009

Thank you for your article. my daughter was really concerned about our little Angel sleeping many hours. I had to find a way to convince her of what I had already told her. She is truly more at ease now that she has read this article. Thank you.

By anon37258 — On Jul 18, 2009

Thanks very much for the article. I was getting really concerned about my 16 weeks baby long night and day sleep.... Now I feel relieved and relaxed --JoVaz

By anon33948 — On Jun 14, 2009

Thank you for posting the article. As a new parent you get worried about so much stuff because as the pediatrician says "No baby comes with an instruction manual".

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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