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Why Does My Newborn Baby Wake Up at Night and Sleep During the Day?

Key Points:

  • The confusion between day and night in newborns can be seen as long periods of sleep during the day and alertness during the night.
  • It usually occurs at any time between zero and three months of age.
  • Not all babies experience it.
  • It happens because they haven’t developed internal rhythms to distinguish between day and night.
  • Their circadian rhythm is fully matured at around four to five months of age.
  • There are some things you can do to help your child adjust and improve this confusion.

Confusion between Day and Night in My Baby

Did you know that something curious happens to some newborns? It turns out that they can be a little confused between day and night. They might have longer sleep periods during the day, but then be wide awake and alert at night. Also, they keep asking to be fed all throughout the night.

The confusion between day and night usually happens at any time between zero and three months of age. It has been observed that it tends to happen after the first sleep period, when babies start being more awake and aware of their surroundings. This usually happens around four weeks and becomes more evident at six weeks.

Why Does This Happen?

It’s essential to know that not all babies experience it, and there’s no real way to know if your child will have it or not. The confusion between day and night occurs due to the lack of developed internal mechanisms.


In the womb, the concept of day and night didn’t exist. During the day, they felt all the mother’s activity and were constantly soothed to sleep for a specific period. When night comes, and the mother sleeps, the growing baby becomes more active – it’s almost like their playtime. You might recall feeling more movement at night than during the day, which interrupted your own sleep.

Now that they are in the outside world, babies are responsible for their own regulation and simply haven’t developed internal rhythms to help them distinguish between day and night.

What Can Be Done About It?

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. It’s not until about three months of age that melatonin production in your child begins to increase, and it’s not until around four to five months that their circadian rhythm is fully matured.

You simply have to wait. We know this is not what parents want to hear, but it’s biology. However, there are some things you can do to help your child adjust and improve this situation:

  • When your baby wakes up at night to feed, keep the situation very calm, direct, and boring. It’s not time to socialize; it’s simply a change, feeding, and back to sleep.
  • During the day, it’s essential to keep them active, engaged, busy, and enthusiastic. When they start their day in the morning, make sure the room is well-lit with natural light if possible, make lots of noises, and change the tone of your speech from night to day.
  • You can also use a bit of word association, like “good morning, good day”; this will really help them associate those words with the actions you’re performing.
  • Spend time outdoors, as much as possible during the day, and expose them to natural light.
  • During the day, feed your baby every two and a half to three hours. Yes, this means you’ll have to wake them up, but it will help them establish a routine for the night.
  • For nighttime feedings, make sure they are full feedings, whether they are breastfeeding for 15 to 20 minutes, or taking a minimum of three to four ounces from the bottle.
  • In the evening, start to wind down and avoid intense activity if possible. Lower the intensity of lights at home and create a quieter environment to prepare for bedtime.

Be patient, understanding, and loving. While the confusion between day and night in newborns can be a challenging experience for parents, it’s essential to remember that it is a temporary and entirely normal stage in your baby’s development. As our little ones explore the world around them, they are adjusting their sleep rhythms and patterns, and this includes finding the balance between sleeping during the day and resting at night.

Remember that every baby is unique, and the most important thing is to offer them love, patience, and support during this learning stage. With time and consistency, most babies will overcome this phase of confusion and establish more regular sleep patterns. So, hang in there, parents, your little one is growing fast, and soon, you’ll all be enjoying nights of restful sleep!

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