Sleep is one of the most important parts of your baby’s growth and developments, but with so much confusing information out there, it can be hard to determine how much your infant should sleep. So, as an expert in getting babies sleeping peacefully, I am going to break it down by ages so you have a handy go to guide! It is important to remember that all babies are different, so you might have to do a bit of trial and error with your individual child’s sleep needs.
Importance of sleep and healthy sleep habits
It is so important to honor your infant’s sleep needs. The amount of sleep that they get and how restorative it is has a direct effect on their growth and development.states “respect your baby’s need to sleep.” It is never too early (or too late!) in your infants young life to begin to establish healthy sleep habits. Establishing a bedtime routine, beginning to follow appropriate awake windows and nap needs, having an early bedtime and helping them to begin to develop healthy sleep habits are all ways that you as a parent can begin to establish healthy sleep hygiene for your child.
Age Specific Sleep Guidelines
A. Newborn Stage (0-3 months)
Our newest additions sleep quite a bit! But that comes along with irregular sleep patterns, frequent wakeups and often short naps.
- Birth to age 6 weeks: It is best for your baby if they are getting between 15 – 18 hours a day of total sleep in a 24 hour period. Their naps will range from 30 minutes to 3 hours and they will take somewhere between 4 and 6 naps per day. Most babies this age can only stay awake for 45 minutes to 1 hour and bedtime should be between 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
- 6 weeks to 12 weeks: These little ones can stay awake a bit longer now, but they still need between 12 – 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Their naps will range from 30 minutes to 2 hours and they will take between 3 and 4 naps a day. They can now stay awake between naps for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bedtime between 7:00 -9:00 pm.
- 11 weeks to 15 weeks: 12 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period for these babies, with an average of 3 naps a day. These naps should be between 30 minutes to 2 hours and they can stay awake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Bedtime between 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
B. Infant Stage (4 months – 12 months)
These babies are starting to grow and develop, so you will start to see changes in their sleep patterns, including some longer stretches at night and fewer, but longer daytime naps.
- 4 Months to 6 months: This age group should be getting between 12- 15 hours of sleep per day, with 3 naps per day. Their naps should range between 1 hour to 2 hours, with their awake window now being between 2 hours and 2.5 hours between naps. Their bedtime should be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. At 6 months your baby may show signs of being ready to drop to 2 naps per day.
- 7 months to 9 months: This age group should be getting between 12- 15 hours of sleep per day, with 2 naps per day. Their naps should range between 1 hour to 2 hours, with their awake window now being between 2.5 hours and 3 hours between naps. Their bedtime should be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.
- 10 months to 12 months: This age group should be getting between 12- 14 hours of sleep per day, with 2 naps per day. Their naps should range between 1 hour to 2 hours, with their awake window now being between 3 hours and 4 hours between naps. Their bedtime should be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.
Tips to make your infant’s sleep more restful
- Check the sleep environment. Make sure that the room is dark, cool and comfortable. 18- 22 degrees Celsius (68-72 F).
- Establish a regular, consistent bedtime routine and sleep schedule for your baby.
- Use white noise if necessary. Always keep on low decibel and keep away from the crib.
- Use a sleep sack. This adds comfort for your baby, while ensuring their safety.
- Teach them independent sleep skills, so that they can learn to self soothe and fall asleep on their own.
- Try putting your baby down awake for sleep, so that they can see their surroundings and work on their sleep skills.
- Always follow safe sleep guidelines, such as the ones provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Sleep is a way for your baby’s body and brain to repair and restore at the end of the day, aiding in their growth and development. Honor their daytime and bedtime sleep by following the recommendations above and always putting your child in a safe place to sleep. If you have tried this suggestions and are still struggling with your infant’s sleep, book a Discovery Call with me, so that we can find the right solution for your family. As a sleep expert, my job is to help parents teach their little ones the necessary skill of sleep in a supportive manner, so that everyone in the family is getting the sleep they need. Not looking for support quite yet, but enjoy tips? Sign up for my Getting Started Guide! Sweet dreams await!