Huggies Forum

Huggies® Ultimate
Newborn Nappies

Learn More
  1. home
  2. Baby Forum
  3. Newborn
  4. Sleep & Settling
  5. 3 weeks - awake for how long?

3 weeks - awake for how long? Rss

How long should a 3 week old be awake for? Because Tobey can be awake for upto 4 hrs each time and just will not settle himself to sleep! I'm worried he's getting overtired. He will not feed to sleep either, I've tried cuddling him, putting him in a sling but nothing seems to work.

I should add, he's not crying at all, just really unsettled and needs his dummy (tried breast but pulls faces, only wants dummy I guess because no milk comes out!) He probably would end up screaming if he didn't have the dummy.

He is spending about 10-12 hours a day awake, is this too much??
[Edited on 07/07/2008]
Congrats on your new bub!

It is a while since I had one so little (DS is 21 months) but it would seem to me that 4 hours is a long time for one so little to be up. Most routines and books talk about maybe a 1.5 hour awake time in total, including a feed. I used the Gina Ford routine and although she varies this time a bit it seems to be the average (and not dissimiliar to other books I read).

That said, every baby is different.

I would look out for the classic tired signs like eye rubbing, not wanting to make eye contact etc - they can take a bit of looking for but check books for a full list (Kaz Cooke's book was a good general one).

Make sure you use whatever sleep signals suit you to flag it is sleep time as well. And even when in a good routine they will occasionally flight it!

If you baby is generally content, feeding well and gaining weight I would not stress too much. Check with your child health nurse too.

Hope this helps.

I know all babies are individuals but that does seem like a long time to be awake. And of course it gets harder to put them to sleep when they become overtired. There's some good info on recognizing tired signs and newborn sleeping techniques on this site that I found really helpful:-

hi there, a baby this age should be up 1-2 hours between sleeps. i'd say he is getting overtired and then being difficult to be settle. sometimes when they are overtired they stare a lot and seem to be very alert. i'd suggest putting him to bed after 1.5 hours even if you don't think he looks tired and you might suprise yourself. i was missing tired signs earlier on and my baby was up for hours on end. when i started timing and putting to bed, i found he went to sleep a bit easier. my baby now 3 months gets all sucky, like he's hungry when its bedtime, but he's not hungry he's actually tired and will go down reasonably quickly if i pick the right moment. good luck
I agree with MVS...youmight even find (as I still do with my 6 week old) that he doesnt even make it to the 1 hour mark before getting tired.

Babies often have to be taught how to settle themselves and put themselves to sleep. Watch for tired signs. A good indication is when their hands start to clench. Then put bub to bed. If he cries, go in, turn him on his side and pat his bum till he calms. Then put him back on his back and leave the room. Contiune till hes alseep.

Eventually he will be able to do it all by himself. You might also find that he wakes after 1 sleep cycle (40 minutes) just leave him to see if he resettles and if not repeat the process.

Some kids however (my first was like this) will only ever sleep one sleep cycle and then will be up for a short while and need to sleep again.

Sorry for the essay.
Thankyou everyone for your replies!

I really kept an eye out for the signs you mentioned last night and put him in his bassinet as soon as he started yawning and clenching his fists. It's not real obvious though! But he slept so much better. It still took a while and had to give him his dummy but he was only awake for 2.5 hrs maximum which is alot better than before!

Thanks again smile
Great news smile

Hi there,

Im in NZ and the Plunkett Society and other experts here recommend the time awake for a baby less than 3 months old is only about an hour starting from the beginning of their feed til they are put back to sleep again.

Was wondering also, are you swaddling bub? I know most babies absolutely hate it, but it does help with settling and helping baby sleep in the beginning.

All I know is that with my DD the first few weeks were hell in getting her back to sleep. In some instances she would be awake for 7 hours straight! So know how you feel! I eventually found out that because she was spending a lot of time lying on the floor kicking her legs full on (shes still quite a hypo on the move (or at least wanting to be!) girl at 6 months) she was actually causing her body to release cortisol (stress hormone) which in turn was overstimulating her and stopping her from sleeping even though she was bone tired. As well as making baby feel safe and secure, this is another reason why swaddling is highly recommended for newborn babies.

As soon as I started to swaddle her once an hour was up(ended up half swaddling as she likes her hands near her mouth)and give her her dummy, she would eventually settle and get sleepy. This was sometimes very difficult in that she would grizzle and kick and totally resist her arms and legs being swaddled tightly next to her body. But if I held her tight and restrained her from breaking free I found that she would give in within minutes of fighting. And the fight was by far much shorter and easier to cope with then if she was left to stay awake for 7 hours and then turned into a feral screaming monster in the afternoon (aka arsenic hour)!

Then I would maybe rock her for a bit and sing to her softly while watching for tired signs. Once it was apparent she was ready for sleep, I would place her in her bassinet and in no time at all she would be asleep. I couldn't get over how once I started doing this her sleeping patterns instantly changed for the better!

So maybe...your bubs was like mine in the beginning...extremely active and alert!

Anyway here are the most obvious tired signs and stages in three steps that were explained to me in a way I found to be easy to remember and look for with bubs
1. yawning, jerky movements, clenched fists
2. the vacant/daydreaming, staring into space "lights on but no one home" stare, and
3. eyes drooping and then rolling into back of their heads.

Once stage three is happening, you can pretty much be assured that when you put them down to sleep they will be lights out within minutes, if not straight away!

I found with my bubs that occasionally she would grizzle (not cry) for awhile and fight going to sleep, so every few minutes I would go back in and put her dummy back in, reswaddle if necess (yep they are experts at getting out of them), place her on her side and pat her bottom until she quietened back down and after 2-3 goes at doing this (within 20 mins) she would be asleep!!!

Anyway I know each bub is different, but hopefully some of this helps.

Good luck

Kelz smile
Oh my god Kelz you just saved my life. I have 2 and a half week old that had started sleeping well bit changed within a week to the middle of the day screaming monster. Felt like ideas feeding and changing constantly for a few hours at a time. Your trick of swaddle and hold rightly just worked instantly. So glad I found this post!!
I understand your problem, actually the average sleep of newborn babies in between 11 to 18 hours in per 24-hour's of the period. For more details about this please visit the link that i shared below. May be its' helpful for you

https://www.preciouslittlesleep.com/are-you-kee...

www.creativegarden.nz
www.creativegarden.nz/about-us
www.creativegarden.nz/locate-a-centre

Sign in to follow this topic