Is my 5-week-old sleeping too much?

Q: My 5-week-old seems to sleep too much, like 16 to 18 hours a day, and it's difficult to wake her up. I'm concerned that she isn't eating enough. Is this normal or am I being a nervous new mom?

A: Newborns sleep quite a bit because it takes a great deal of energy to grow--and there is a lot of growing going on. However, they also awaken about 8 times a day to eat in the first 8 weeks of life, so if your baby is not waking up on her own to eat, several times a day, then it should be checked out by your doc. If she wakes up, eats, poops, has a diaper change, fusses a bit, and pretty much goes back to sleep, that is pretty normal. They have more wakeful periods between feedings around 2 months of life.