6 week old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule

Updated Jul 10, 2024
6 week sleep schedule header

At 6 weeks, expecting the unexpected is likely still the name of the game when it comes to your newborn’s sleep. Babies at this age don’t have predictable sleep schedules — that’s normal! Both short and long naps are common and your little one will need to wake multiple times overnight for feedings and comfort. Closer to 3 - 4 months old is when you may expect your child to have a more predictable 24-hour cycle of sleeping and eating. 

In the article, we’ll go over what you may expect when it comes to 6 week old naps and overnight sleep and reassure you that you’re doing everything “right” to ensure your baby is getting the rest they need. 

Editor's Note

The recommendations listed in this article represent the average amount of sleep typically needed at this age. However, please note there is a wide range of normal as some children have lower or higher sleep needs. Also note for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.


IN THIS ARTICLE: 

How much should a 6 week old sleep?

Naptime schedule for 6 weeks

Bedtime for 6 week olds

6 week old baby sleep FAQ


The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that newborns sleep for about 16 - 17 hours per day [1]. At 6 weeks, sleep is likely still pretty unpredictable — naps may be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours long, for example. Newborns also typically wake multiple times overnight for feedings and comfort. While this schedule (or lack of schedule) can be exhausting for caregivers, babies aren’t developmentally ready for a regular sleep and eating cycle until around 3 - 4 months of age.  

Before your child is ready for a schedule, it can be especially helpful to pay attention to how long your little one can comfortably stay awake. At 6 weeks, wake windows are usually around 30 - 90 minutes before a baby is ready for sleep again. This is often enough time for a feeding, diaper change, a little tummy time, and then a snooze.

When caring for a newborn it can be easy to get caught up in sleep totals and hitting a specific number of naps. Of course, new parents want to be sure they’re doing everything they can for their young baby! However, keep in mind that every child is different and these sleep time recommendations are just estimates. Paying attention to your baby’s overall mood and energy levels can be a more effective way to determine if they’re getting enough rest overall. 

If you’re feeling a bit trapped by your little one’s erratic nap schedule (where one nap is 30 minutes then the next is 2 hours), consider taking advantage of their ability to sleep on the go at this age. Run that daytime errand [2], even if they end up dozing off while you’re out and about. Just be sure to move your baby to a firm surface on their back as soon as possible, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ [3] safe sleep recommendations. 

At 6 weeks, paying attention to sleepy cues and wake windows can be the best way to gauge when your little one is ready to sleep. A typical wake window may be around 30 - 90 minutes at this age. At 2 months old, wake windows may expand to around 45 minutes - 1.75 hours. 

Note it’s common for children to have the shortest stretch of awake time in the morning, before their first nap. Awake periods usually lengthen as the day goes on, which means your baby’s longest period of awake time may be before bedtime. This may not always be the case and that’s perfectly normal too. Newborn sleep is still pretty irregular at 6 weeks and will continue to be until closer to 3 - 4 months.  

Along with wake windows, sleepy cues are a useful tool for determining when your child may need to snooze next. Check to see if you can spot your child rubbing their eyes or rubbing their face on you, staring off into space, yawning, or becoming fussy — these are generally clues that your baby is ready for some shuteye. However, these signs can be fleeting and easy to miss, so we recommend offering sleep if your child has been awake for over 1.25 hours and hasn't shown sleepy signs.

At 6 weeks, you may be hoping that your little one falls into more of a schedule. However, naps will likely still be all over the place at this age since timing and sleep durations can greatly vary for the first few months of your child’s life. Babies aren’t born with predictable or organized sleep cycles [4] and we won’t expect a more regular nap pattern until closer to 3 - 4 months. 

It’s not uncommon to see short naps and long naps at this point. Sometimes naps will be 30 minutes and other times they may be 2 hours — both would be considered normal at 6 weeks. 

You likely won’t be able to rely on a specific number of naps or a set sleep schedule when your baby is 6 weeks old. At this point, sleep is largely controlled by sleep pressure and hunger since their circadian rhythm [5] is still developing. 

Since your little one’s sleep is likely still pretty irregular, their longest stretch of sleep in a 24-hour period may begin around 9:00 or 10:00 PM — or sometimes later. And that’s OK! Babies may be ready for an earlier bedtime at around 3 - 4 months

Due to an immature circadian sleep-wake system, sleep will likely be pretty evenly distributed between day and night. However, you may find that your newborn is still confusing night and day [2] at 6 weeks and wanting to stay awake for long periods overnight and sleep longer during the day. This day/night reversal typically resolves by 8 weeks. However, if you want to help “fix” it faster, there are a couple of tricks to try. 

We recommend keeping your child’s environment noisy and bright during the day and then quieting it down at night to set the tone for sleep. As much as possible, avoid stimulating [1] or waking your baby when you feed or change them at night.  

We don’t recommend trying to keep your baby awake for extra long stretches during the day in hopes of an earlier bedtime and more overnight sleep. Doing so can backfire and often leads to overtiredness that makes it harder for a newborn baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Instead, aim for adequate daytime sleep and rest assured that this exhausting period won’t last forever. 

6 week old baby sleep FAQ

Q: Can a 6 week old baby sleep through the night?

A:

At 6 weeks, your baby needs to wake overnight for feedings and comfort and we do not expect them to sleep continuously through the night. Instead, your baby should be fed around every 3 - 4 hours [6] until they’re back to birth weight, have established a pattern of weight gain, and have been cleared by a pediatrician or lactation consultant. Your child’s healthcare provider will be able to provide specific information about how many overnight feedings they need.

Q: How often do 6 week old babies sleep?

A:

At 6 weeks, most babies can comfortably stay awake for around 30 - 90 minutes before sleeping again. They won’t have a set schedule at this age, so instead of specific bedtimes it’s helpful to evaluate their sleep needs using wake windows and sleepy cues. Signs your baby is ready for a nap include rubbing their eyes, staring off into the distance, yawning, and becoming irritable.

Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 6 week old?

A:

Your baby may spend around 9 - 12 hours in their sleep space overnight, but they won’t continuously sleep this entire time. It’s expected that newborns will wake multiple times at night for feeding and comfort.

Q: How much awake time for a 6 week old?

A:

A typical wake window for a 6 week old is around 30 - 90 minutes, meaning they can comfortably stay awake for this length of time before needing to sleep again. Don’t be surprised if wake windows are often shorter in the morning and then get slightly longer as the day goes on. The wake window right before a baby’s evening bedtime may be their longest stretch of awake time in a 24-hour period. If not, that’s OK too!

Q: How much daytime sleep for a 6 week old?

A:

It’s normal for daytime sleep to be largely unpredictable in the first few months of a baby’s life. A good estimate is around 5 - 6 hours of sleep during the day, spread out over multiple naps. While it’s easy to get hung up on the specifics when it comes to the number of naps and their lengths, it can be helpful to look at total sleep in a 24-hour period instead. Plus, your little one’s mood and energy levels may be better indicators that they’re getting enough sleep.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

6 Sources

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2024). Safe Sleep Tips for Sleep-Deprived Parents. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/safe-sleep-tips-for-sleep-deprived-parents.aspx

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2009). Reversing Day-Night Reversal. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Reversing-Day-Night-Reversal.aspx

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2023). How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx/

  4. National Library of Medicine (2022). Development of the circadian system in early life: maternal and environmental factors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9109407/

  5. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. (2014). Longitudinal Study of Sleep Behavior in Normal Infants during the First Year of Life. https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/full/10.5664/jcsm.4114

  6. Nemours Kids Health. (2022). Sleep and Your Newborn. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleepnewborn.html