Sleeping Habits of an 8-Week-Old Baby

By Miranda Brumbaugh
baby sleeping image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com

Colicky cries, overstimulation and gassy stomachs can wreak havoc for an 8-week-old infant's sleep cycles. For the parent, learning ways to cope is your first step. For infants who sleep on a random cycle, developing habits such as feeding, coddling and rocking before sleepy time might help. If your baby cannot go to sleep because of fussiness or illness, target the problem to find the best sleep solution. A warm bath, dimmed lighting or soothing fragrances will relax most infants until they fall asleep.

What to Expect

Most infants at 8 weeks are sleeping for shorter lengths during the daytime and for longer spells at night. According to the BabyCenter LLC website, this is because babies at 8 weeks are experiencing shorter REM sleep periods and extended lengths of deeper, non-REM sleep. An 8-week-old will usually need a nap every two hours during the day and might sleep for four hours at night before waking for a meal. At this age, it is possible but not typical for a baby to sleep for six or eight hours at night because they need to have a feeding during the night.

Signals that Baby's Sleepy

Because an 8-week-old baby is most likely to become tired every two hours during the day, if you try to wait longer before putting him down to sleep, he can become too tired to relax and resist sleeping at all. The best method for ensuring your infant sleeps when he needs to is to notice signs of tiredness. According to the BabyCenter LLC website, watch for him to rub his eyes or tug at his ear, both of which indicate a tired baby. He might have started to develop the same dark circles you get when you are sleepy, and this is the time to prepare him for sleep. Nap times will become more systematic after you realize the typical signs indicating a need for sleep, making life a bit more structured in the first few months of your new baby's life.

Forming Bedtime Habits

Developing a bedtime routine that is adaptable as your infant grows is a great way to relax and prepare yourself and your 8-week-old to sleep at night time. For an 8-week-old, a bedtime story might not be appropriate, but a warm sponge bath, being dressed in a warm sleeper and a lullaby can be comforting and settling for your baby, according to Dr. Miriam Stoppard, author of "New Babycare." Wherever her bed is located, either in a crib, your bed or a bassinet, always place her in that same place so she can be calmed by the familiarity.

BabyCenter LLC says that if she is unable to sleep at night because she is sleeping too much during the day, start distinguishing day and night differences. For day, keep the house bright and do not minimize noises such as phones or vacuum cleaners. If she falls asleep at a feeding, wake her up. When night arrives, keep interaction quiet and the house calm so she can relate night time with relaxing and sleeping.

About the Author

Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.