Do newborns sleep a lot the first day?

Welcome to the intriguing world of newborns and their mysterious sleep patterns.

A question that often puzzles new parents is, do newborns sleep a lot on their first day? The answer is yes, newborns do tend to sleep significantly during their initial 24 hours, drifting in and out of sleep for most of the day.

This introductory guide will delve into the hows and whys of this phenomenon, offering insights and reassurances to those adjusting to life with a tiny new family member.

Do newborns sleep a lot the first day?

Yes, it is widespread for newborns to sleep a lot on the first day. Many newborns will sleep over 16 hours during that first 24-hour period, waking only briefly for feeding or diaper changes before falling back asleep.

Factors like delivery method, medical interventions during labor, and individual temperament can impact precisely how much a baby sleeps.

But spending most of the first day sleeping and eating is normal newborn behavior as they recover from the rigors of birth and adjust to life outside the womb.

As long as the baby is feeding regularly when awake and showing adequate output, long sleep stretches on day one are nothing to worry about.

Sleep Patterns on the First Day

After the rigors of labor and delivery, it is widespread for newborns to sleep quite soundly during their first day of life.

Many infants will sleep for large periods, sometimes 4-5 hours straight or only wake briefly for feedings and diaper changes before nodding back off.

However, factors like birth trauma, medical interventions during delivery, hunger, and personality differences can affect a newborn’s sleep patterns.

For example, some babies may appear extra sleepy, especially if the mom received medications for pain management during delivery, which passed through to the baby.

Others may have more difficulty settling if labor is particularly long or stressful. They feed well but have shorter 1-2 hour stretches of sleep between meals as their little bodies regulate.

Every baby is unique, but rest assured that spending much of the first day sleeping is developmentally normal and healthy newborn behavior.

Factors Influencing Newborn Sleep on the First Day

From delivery methods to feeding changes, many variables can shape a newborn’s first sleep experiences. Being aware of what factors may be at play can help parents understand any variations.

Delivery Method: Babies born via C-section are often initially quite sleepy from medications given to moms during surgery. Vaginal deliveries can also be exhausting for newborns, but these babies are less likely to have residual sedative effects.

Medical Interventions: Additional oxygen support, IV fluids, and medications during or immediately after delivery can all impact newborn awareness and energy levels. The more interventions involved, the sleepier the baby may be.

Personality & Temperament: Some babies simply come out more alert and active, while others prefer to sleep the first day away.

Easygoing and observant babies may sleep deeply as they adjust, while feistier babies protest more when disturbed. Parents, keep an eye out for your little one’s unique personality!

Hunger Cues: Increased crying or rooting behaviors are signs that the baby is hungry for more milk, which will decrease overall sleep.

Ensuring frequent feeds helps promote enough rest. Newborns should be fed at least 8-12 times per day.

Circadian Rhythm: While not firmly established yet, babies can still experience some natural fluctuations in alertness tied to daylight. Many infants will experience more wakeful periods in daylight hours.

No two newborns follow the same sleep script, but paying attention to delivery details and baby’s feeding cues, temperament, and the time of day can provide hints on what is influencing their rest.

Tips for Parents

The excitement and anxiety of bringing a newborn home can make it challenging for parents to rest as well.

Here are tips on supporting your newborn’s sleep needs and your own during the first day at home:

  • Skin-to-Skin Contact – Holding baby skin-to-skin helps regulate breathing and body temperature and aids bonding and rest.
  • Swaddling – Wrapping baby snugly in a lightweight blanket provides comforting containment that mimics the womb.
  • White Noise – Sounds like rain, wind, or static can drown out disturbing household noises to help you sleep longer.
  • Low Lighting – Keep lights soft and natural during daylight to avoid overstimulation during naps.
  • Nap When Baby Naps – New moms need just as much rest, so grab some shut-eye when baby sleeps.
  • Avoid Oversleeping – Letting newborns sleep too long between feeds during the first-day risks lowering blood sugar levels. Gently rouse for feeds every 2-4 hours max.

Relax, cuddle close with your little dreamer, and remember that rest is essential for health and growth during the baby’s first day home and beyond. Speak with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Common Concerns and Solutions

Despite the relief that may come from an initially sleepy baby, some parents struggle with worries over possible medical reasons for excessive sleep. Here are a few common concerns and remedies:

  • Dehydration – Ensure baby latches well and nurses frequently for plenty of breast milk or formula. Watch diapers for enough pale, dilute urine output.
  • Low Blood Sugar – Check baby’s color and alertness cues. If poor feeding effort, skin discoloration, or limpness are noted, contact your medical provider right away.
  • Birth Trauma – Monitor baby closely and contact the provider if you notice seizure-like tremors, weak cries, or baby is difficulty fully waking for feeds. Emergency assistance may be needed.

While the likelihood is low for most healthy, term babies on their first day, don’t hesitate to call your birthing facility or pediatrician anytime unusual signs are spotted.

Voice concerns and have the baby evaluated rather than wait. Early treatment solves most issues!

Case Study: Liam’s First Day

Little Liam entered the world with a hearty cry after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Apgar scores were excellent, and he breastfed soon after birth.

The euphoric new parents kept visitors away, eager for quiet bonding time as a new family of three on day one.

Over the next 16 hours, Liam woke every 2-4 hours for breastfeeding with his mom, showing strong latch and swallows.

Between feeds, he dozed blissfully in his bassinet, only fussing when his diaper needed changing. The lactation consultant noted excellent technique and output when she dropped by.

By late evening, Liam had clocked nearly 15 hours of sleep, mainly stretched out in 2-3 hour blocks.

Mom woke him every 4 hours overnight to feed him, watching closely for any signs of dehydration or low blood sugar but observed great color, muscular movements, and frequent wet diapers. After eating well from 2 am to 5 am, Liam slept another 4 hours until morning.

While his long sleeping had worried Mom at first, Liam proved to be a healthy baby who simply loved to nap after the hard work of being born! He continued this pattern over the next week, being an easygoing infant who, thankfully, loves breast milk and sleep.


Whether your new arrival on day one is a sleepyhead like Liam or a more wakeful sort, both patterns are well within normal limits.

Allow yourself to relax into those first tender hours, bonding skin-to-skin, feeding on demand, and grabbing some sleep as the baby permits. Before you know it, those newborn nights will be but a sweet memory!

Speak with your birthing center nurses or pediatric care provider for any pressing concerns in those critical first 24 hours. Otherwise, embrace this fleeting period of baby snuggles and rest to fuel the adventures that lie ahead. You’ve got this, parents!

2 thoughts on “Do newborns sleep a lot the first day?”

Leave a Comment