days and nights mixed up for baby
Mom’s Question:
My one-month-old son seems to have his days and nights mixed up. He sleeps wonderfully, for 3-4 hours at a time.

He is awake for a little bit during the day but seems to fall asleep much better during the day. At night, after his change and feeding, he is wide awake. I do not think he’s still hungry or in general uncomfortable, because as soon as I snuggle him up to me while laying down, he goes to sleep. The second I lay him back in his bed, he wakes up.

How do I get him to go to sleep easier at night without having to be held as well as keep him up for longer periods of time during the day without upsetting him?

Baby Helpline:

How To Help A Baby With Days And Nights Mixed Up

Young babies, especially newborns, often have their days and nights mixed up. Many babies tend to be awake at night while in the womb, while they sleep comfortably during the day when mom walks around. It can take a little while for the baby to get used to being awake during day time instead.

There are several things you can do to help your baby sleep better at night:

  • Make sure he gets as much daylight as possible during the day. Go outside with him in the stroller or baby carrier (avoid direct sunlight, though) or be close to the windows as much as you can when indoors.
    For example, make it a habit to sit close to a window when feeding him. You can even put his bed close to a window as long as it isn’t draughty or in direct sunlight. Don’t ever draw the curtains in daytime when your baby is asleep.
  • You can also play with him and stimulate him as much as possible in the little time he is awake. During the next few weeks to come, he is likely to start staying awake for longer periods. Talk to him, show him stuffed animals with black and white stripes, sing to him and so on. For a few tips on how to play with a 1-month old, click here.
  • At night, don’t change diapers unless you really have to (=poop!). If you have to change diapers, keep the lights as dim as possible, don’t talk and be fast. Use a pajama or sleep bag that enables diapering without undressing your baby completely.

If you do all this, your baby will learn to separate day from night.

Secondly, your baby doesn’t want to sleep without you. He’s been very close to you for nine months, so no wonder close to you is where he feels really safe. Safe co-sleeping is a great way to maximize the sleep quality and amount both for baby and mom.

To help your baby sleep better in his crib, try these tips

  • Make the crib smaller. Put rolled blankets in a circle to make his sleeping place as small as possible. Newborn babies want to have something soft close to their heads. Just make sure you don’t put anything in the bed that can fall over his face.
  • Roll one of your used tops and put it close to his head as part of the small bed you’re making for him.
  • Before putting him back in his bed, make sure it is not too cold. You can either put a warm (not hot) water bottle (or something similar) in the bed for a while or even better, use a sleeping bag for your baby. With a sleeping bag, your baby will enjoy more or less the same temperature all the time, helping him to stay comfortable. If you use a water bottle or bean bag, make sure the bed doesn’t become too warm and take the bottle or bag out before putting your baby in the crib.
  • If nothing works, consider co-sleeping, or “close-sleeping” if your baby is very young. Many babies sleep a lot better together with their mom during their first months of living, but true co-sleeping is recommended against due to risk of SIDS. However, if you or your husband smoke, if the bed is very soft, or if any of you have consumed alcohol, co-sleeping can be very dangerous for your baby. You’ll find more tips on safe co-sleeping here.

Here are additional tips on how to help your baby accept crib sleeping.

Also, remember that many babies do wake up very easily during the first few months. It is part of their natural sleep pattern. You can learn a bit more about babies’ sleep patterns here.

I hope these tips will help you out,


More Babies That Won’t Sleep

Find comments below.

Comments for “Days and Nights Mixed Up for Baby”

Jun 08, 2018 sleeping problems at 2 months
by: Anonymous
My son is 2 months old and I am having problems getting him to sleep at night. He sleeps well during the day but at night he is wide awake for hours of the night. He also keeps wanting something in his mouth all the time. I’m not sure if it has to do with breastfeeding and he wont take a pacifier. And he’s not hungry when I see that he does that with his hand. Is there anything that can be done about that?

Jun 17, 2018 Days and Nights mixed up for baby – Normal
by: Anonymous
Hello New Mom!
I wanted to comment on your little one being mixed up on their days and nights. I believe that this is simply normal. It took some time, but my son eventually grew out of this phase and was able to figure it out. I would encourage napping during the day, but I made sure I limited it so this wouldn’t conflict with his bedtime.

Hang in there. It will get easier!

Mar 15, 2019 Help with days and nights

by: Confused Dad

Okay, my one-month-old is exhibiting the same as the little ones mentioned here. The advice is good and we will try all of the suggestions, but I do have a question…if we allow her to sleep with us for a few months, won’t it be more difficult to get her to sleep on her own in her crib once her nights and days are corrected? My 21-month-old never had this problem, and she was much earlier than the new baby. She is sleeping fine on her own in her toddler bed now, and don’t want the new one to become so attached to sleeping with my wife and I that she becomes one of these kids who sleep with their parents until they’re six years old. Thanks ahead of time for any help you can give.

Apr 02, 2019 cosleeping
by: Anonymous
Just wanted to comment on the previous poster, that the first three months of life are hard for the baby to cope and his nervous system is developing. There’s not much you can do to “spoil” a newborn 3mos or less. Do what you can to help him cope, to create new habits when you can, but don’t worry too much about it at this young age. At three months you can put baby back in his own bed, and he can cope with the separation a bit easier than when he is younger than 3 months, fresh out of the womb. See “Happiest Baby on the Block” book that explains this further. Hope that helps!

Apr 02, 2019 Thanks

by: Confused Dad

Thanks for the advice. I have heard that from a few people about them being so “new” that they don’t develop habits that easily. There is a family member in my wife’s family that had this issue with their youngest. She slept with the mom and dad until she was 11 or 12. Guess that is on a very extreme level, but that was what came to mind when I read the suggestion about sleeping in the bed with us. We’ll give it a whirl and see what happens. Again, thanks.

Apr 11, 2019 years later
by: Anonymous
I had the same experience with my son as an infant, and we successfully were able to get him adjusted to normal sleep patterns that lasted until his teens. Then the sleepiness during the day returned, and now at 23(years old), he has now been diagnosed as having Narcolepsy. I came upon this posting in doing a web search on this topic since he had his days and nights mixed up as an infant. I don’t think there is anything I could have done to prevent him from reaching this point as an adult. Other research suggests it might be genetic. I would keep an eye on your child as they grow up and see if the problems reoccur later in their life. Of course, it might not be related at all.

Jul 25, 2019 Co sleeping ?
by: Anonymous
I was wondering what your advice for co sleeping was. I am breastfeeding my two week old, he sleeps really well if I let him sleep on me but if I put him in the basinett he cries. I don’t mind sleeping with him if it means we can all get some sleep, but I want him to be safe. He won’t do a co sleeper because he wants to be touching me.

Jul 26, 2019 Co-sleeping is often great!
by: Baby Help Line – Paula
Personally, I think co-sleeping is great, as long as you make sure it is safe and both mom and dad (and baby) can sleep better that way. Especially with newborn babies, this may actually be the only way to make them sleep a few hours in a row. So if you like, do continue! You can start the transition to your baby’s own bed later.

Congratulations on your baby,


Aug 05, 2019 I Also Thought Co Sleeping was Safe
by: Hospital Worker
I always thought co-sleeping was safe until recently. I co-slept with my first child, who is now 5 years old, and still will for short naps with my newborn but not for overnight. I work at a hospital and we have had three cases of SIDS in the last year where it is believed that the baby was accidentally rolled on and/or suffocated by mom or dad while sleeping. This hits me close to home because one of these cases was one of my best friends and her newborn son, three weeks old. They had laid him down with them to sleep and when they woke up, he was not breathing and had suffocated. I guess it can never be proven exactly what caused it but they were co-sleeping at the time, as was the cases with the other two families I mentioned above that brought their newborns into the ER unresponsive. I just think it’s better to be safe than sorry and like I said until it hit close to home, I never saw a single problem with co-sleeping.

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