How much sleep does a baby need?

When you first brought your baby home, were you surprised at how much they slept throughout the day? It’s not unheard of for some new parents to even feel a little sad or disappointed that their baby isn’t up for as much interactive time as they expected. Well have no fear, because it won’t be long before your little love will be up and ready to spend lots of active time with you.

But for now, know that all of that sleep throughout the days and nights is so important to the growth and development of your child. Now you may already be aware that children four months and older need about 11-13 hours of nighttime sleep. But just how often should an infant or toddler be napping during the day?

Many new parents are not aware of their newborn’s sleep needs during the first few weeks, or even the first year, and beyond. Before I became a sleep consultant, I know had never thought about this either.  

So here’s a quick guide to knowing how much time awake your infant can handle between naps based on age.

Birth - 3 months             45 minutes to 1 hour

4 – 6 months                   1 to 2 hours

7 – 11 month                    3 to 4 hours

The structure changes a bit between 1– 3 years* when your toddler should be taking one long nap about 5 hours after getting up for the day. This means the time awake after the nap may be 5 hours or less depending on the length of the nap.  

*Some children may not be ready to transition to one nap a day until 14-16 months or so. This is totally normal and depends on the child.

So with these timeframes in mind, keep an eye on your child and give them the opportunity to nap when you see those first signs of fatigue. These signs could include yawning, staring, face rubbing, eye rubbing, ear pulling or even back arching (in newborns).  Getting your little love down before they become overtired will make naps and bedtime much easier.

And if your baby or toddler loves to fight sleep and you don’t know what to do, let’s talk! Set up your free 15-minute call now to find out how I can help.