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Is it normal for a 3 day old baby to sleep through the night?

It is very common for newborn babies to wake frequently during the night to feed. However, some babies will sleep for longer stretches, even as newborns. There is no definitive answer about what is “normal” when it comes to infant sleep patterns, as each baby is different. But generally, it is unusual for a 3 day old newborn to sleep through the entire night without waking to feed.

What defines “sleeping through the night”?

There is no standard definition of “sleeping through the night.” Some definitions include:

  • 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • Sleeping from midnight to 5 am without waking

So a 3 day old who slept for a 6-8 hour stretch might be considered by some to be “sleeping through the night.” However, most experts would agree that at 3 days old, it is quite unusual for a baby to go more than 4-5 hours without waking to feed.

Typical newborn sleep patterns

Here are some general guidelines about typical newborn sleep in the first few weeks:

  • Newborns usually sleep a total of 14-17 hours per day
  • They typically sleep 2-4 hours at a time, both day and night
  • Waking every 1-3 hours during the night is very common
  • By 3-4 weeks, some babies may go 4-5 hours between night feedings
  • Most babies do not begin sleeping through the night (6-8 hours) until 3-4 months old

So while every baby is different, it would be unusual for a 3 day old to sleep more than 4-5 hours consecutively without waking to feed. If they did sleep longer stretches, it might indicate a need to wake the baby to offer more frequent feeds.

Reasons newborns wake at night

There are several reasons why newborn babies wake frequently during the night, including:

  • Hunger – Newborn babies have very small stomachs and need to eat every 2-3 hours. Waking for night feeds ensures they get adequate nutrition.
  • Need for comfort/closeness – Babies find comfort in close contact and often just want to be held.
  • Wet or dirty diaper – Discomfort from a soiled diaper can wake a sleeping baby.
  • Difficulty settling themselves – Newborns are still learning to soothe themselves back to sleep.
  • Noise or light disturbance – Newborns sleep lightly and can be woken by noises or lights.

While some babies naturally sleep for longer intervals right away, most newborns will wake frequently at night for at least the first few weeks as they adjust to life outside the womb.

Is it safe for a 3 day old to sleep through the night?

Generally, it is not recommended to allow a 3 day old newborn to go more than 4-5 hours without feeding at night. Here are some concerns with a 3 day old sleeping 8+ hours:

  • Missing needed feedings – A newborn’s stomach is tiny and they need to eat every 2-3 hours. Going too long without feeds can cause dehydration, weight loss, or failure to gain weight.
  • Increased jaundice risk – Jaundice is common in newborns and frequent feeding helps flush out bilirubin from the body. Infrequent feeding leads to increased jaundice levels.
  • Reduced input tells body to produce less milk – Frequent milk removal in the first days signals the body to produce more milk. Infrequent feeds can diminish supply.
  • Difficulty waking for daytime feeds – Allowing very long stretches at night can lead to excess sleepiness and difficulty waking to eat during daylight hours.

If a 3 day old is sleeping for concerning long stretches (8+ hours), it is recommended to wake them to offer feeds every 2-3 hours until feeding is well established and weight gain is on track.

When can a baby start sleeping through the night?

Most babies begin sleeping through the night between 3-6 months of age. Here are some guidelines on when overnight sleep starts to consolidate:

  • 1-2 months: May go 3-4 hours between night feeds.
  • 3 months: Some babies begin sleeping 6-8 hour stretches.
  • 4 months: 50% of babies sleep through the night.
  • 6 months: Most babies sleep through the night.

But every baby is different! Some babies will sleep 8 hours starting around 2 months old, while others won’t consolidate night sleep until closer to a year. If in doubt about your baby’s sleep, consult your pediatrician.

Tips to help a newborn sleep longer stretches

While allowing a 3 day old to sleep through the night is not recommended, there are things parents can do to help a newborn sleep for slightly longer periods:

  • Allow daytime napping but limit excessive daytime sleep to help consolidate sleep at night.
  • Establish a calming pre-bedtime routine like swaddling, rocking, and white noise.
  • Ensure baby is getting enough feeds during the daytime hours.
  • Encourage self-soothing by allowing some fussing before intervening.
  • Optimize the sleep environment by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet.

Even with these tips, it will take time for a newborn to develop more consistent sleep. Have patience during the first few months and focus on following baby’s cues.

When to talk to a doctor

Discuss your newborn’s sleep habits with your pediatrician if you notice any of the following:

  • Sleeping more than one 6-8 hour stretch in the first couple weeks
  • Difficulty waking for feeds or excessive sleepiness
  • Poor weight gain or failure to regain birth weight
  • No interest in feeding every 2-3 hours around the clock
  • Excessive irritability or fatigue from inadequate sleep

While the occasional long sleep stretch in a newborn may be normal, consistent 8+ hour periods without feeds warrants an evaluation to ensure your baby is getting adequate nutrition for growth and development.

Age Typical Sleep Pattern
Newborn 14-17 hours total per day. 2-4 hours sleeps. Frequent night waking every 1-3 hours.
1 month 15-17 hours total per day. 3-4 hours sleeps. Night waking every 2-4 hours.
3 months 14-15 hours total per day. 3-5 hour sleeps. 50% sleeping through the night.
6 months 13-14 hours total per day. 3 naps per day 30min – 2 hours. Most sleeping through the night.


While every baby is different, it is quite unusual for a 3 day old newborn to sleep through the entire night without feeds. Most experts recommend waking healthy newborns to feed every 2-3 hours until feeding is well established. While some early long sleep stretches may happen randomly, allowing regular 8+ hour fasts in the first couple weeks can lead to issues like dehydration and poor weight gain. Have patience, respond to baby’s cues, and talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your newborn’s sleep habits.