This is how your baby learns a day and night rhythm


Newborns have no day and night rhythm. Since they sleep a lot in the beginning, they still don’t see the difference between day and night. They wake up at more or less regular intervals in order to satisfy their needs. However, the time of day does not matter. Parents can help their babies identify the difference between day and night and thus develop a suitable rhythm for the daily routine.

Babies sleep and eat at any time of the day

Newborns sleep a good 20 hours a day. They don’t have a fixed rhythm. Every 2-4 hours, babies wake up to be fed. Sometimes the intervals are shorter, sometimes longer. Feeding should always be based on the baby’s needs. It doesn’t matter whether mothers breastfeed or bottle feed. Newborns eat and sleep at any time of the day. They wake up several times at night in order to satisfy their needs.

It is common for babies to be awake during the night

The older the infants get, the less sleep they need. However, even a 12 month old child still sleeps 14 hours a day. At night it is usually around 10-12 hours, and during the day at least 2 to 4 hours of sleep. How exactly the hours are composed varies from child to child. And so it can happen that a baby who fell asleep blissfully at 6 p.m. is wide awake at 4 a.m. Bedtime is now up for the baby – and to the chagrin of many overtired parents – so is their night.

Get to know the day as such

Parents can help their babies learn the day and night rhythm and tell the difference. The brightness of daylight plays a major role in this. Newborns should sleep in light during the day. This can of course take place in the cot in the room or in the bassinet in the living room. However, the room should not be darkened. Newborns in particular fall asleep everywhere. A walk in a stroller or with a baby sling can also be used for this. Everyday noises are also part of getting to know each other during the day. Babies can and should hear the bell, the vacuum cleaner, or the clattering pots in the dishwasher, even when they sleep. Because the subconscious becomes aware that it is loud during the day and I hear something, even when I sleep.

Pssst, it’s night now

The night is there to sleep – but babies don’t always see it that way. People like to take a gym lesson at two o’clock at night, or insist that it is game time now. Parents can help a little so that the night is recognized as a time of rest and sleep. Fixed rituals help the baby to recognize – and understand – the transition from day to night. This can be putting on pajamas, singing a special song, or simply the music box. Even the last meal, which may take place in the bedroom or the nursery, prepares the baby well for the night.

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Most importantly, the room where the baby will be laid for the night is darkened. If the baby is awake at night, only a small night light is used so that it is not as bright as day, and everything is done very slowly and particularly quietly. When talking to the baby, you should also only use whispers. So it feels that everything is much less exciting at night.

With love and patience to success

All parents want their baby to learn the difference between day and night as quickly as possible. Of course, fast is relative because, as with all developmental steps, every child has their own pace. And his own priorities. Therefore, the question of when a rhythm is possible cannot be answered unequivocally. The various development spurts also like to throw everything upside down again. But with a little patience and a lot of love, the little ones quickly learn to get used to everyday life.

READING TIP: Anyone who would like to find out more about the growth spurts can do so here. During these 8 phases in the first year of life, babies develop completely new skills at lightning speed. Everything new is exciting – but it can also unsettle you. As a result, babies tend to be restless during a growth spurt. This then potentially messes up the day-night rhythm again.


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