How Much Sleep Does a Baby Need?

How much sleep does my baby need? In general, the recommended amount of sleep varies based on your baby’s age and stage of development. But if you’re concerned that your baby isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician or other medical professionals. However, in this blog, I’ll outline what the experts have said about how much sleep a baby needs, as well as how you can help your little one get to dreamland more easily and sleep through the night without waking up.


Infants’ Sleep Needs


Infant's sleep


Newborns are actually pretty light sleepers, but they still require an average of 16 hours of sleep in every 24-hour period. However, as they grow older and develop more regular sleeping habits. Their daily sleep needs to decrease to between 12 and 14 hours by six months old and between 10 and 12 hours by one year old. This overall decrease is due to three factors: The infant spends less time sleeping at night (due to teething, for example), naps occur more frequently during daylight hours, and your baby sleeps for shorter periods of time at a time. By 3 years old, most children are able to stay awake for about 11 or 12 hours each day before needing another nap.


Babies Under Three Months


Baby sleeping with peace


Newborns often sleep up to 16 hours a day. Around 3 months, their body clocks shift from a nocturnal schedule (i.e., sleeping during daylight hours) to an adult schedule (sleeping at night and awake during daylight hours). This transition typically occurs sometime between 3 and 4 months. Some babies may take longer, but if your baby is 10 months old and still not sleeping through at night or napping for long stretches during the day, it’s time to consult your pediatrician. How much sleep will my baby need? Well, that depends on his age as well as his overall health. On average, most newborns (under 3 months) sleep 16-18 hours per day—more than older babies or toddlers!


Infants Three to Six Months


Baby sleeps of 6 month's old babies


The exact amount of sleep your baby needs will depend on their age. Babies who are three to six months old need about 14 to 15 hours of sleep per day. If you’re having trouble getting your infant to sleep, you might be surprised by how effective it is to start a bedtime routine (like regular baths and lullabies) in hopes that they’ll fall asleep easier. It can take time for babies to get used to longer naps—but once they do, you should be able to break up those naps into two shorter ones with short playtimes in between.


Infants Six Months to One Year


Cute baby is sleeping with toys


12 to 16 hours of sleep in 24 hours: For your baby’s first six months, it’s critical to get enough sleep. A general rule of thumb is that if you wake up and your baby isn’t awake, she hasn’t gotten enough sleep. After six months, babies need 12 to 16 hours of sleep in 24 hours. If your child still takes two naps during the day, these should last no longer than three hours each. In total, then, you should aim for about 10 to 14 hours of actual sleep at night.


Do Parents Not Sleep With Babies?


baby sleeping with mother


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in their own, separate beds (not with parents) for at least 6 months. Some studies have suggested that babies who co-sleep may not sleep as long or as well as those who sleep separately from their parents. Additionally, some parents worry about rolling over onto their babies or smothering them if they are sleeping with them. The AAP believes that these fears are unsubstantiated and hopes that by having good information on safe practices, many more families will be able to safely share a bed with their infants while they enjoy the close bond it allows them to share.


Should You Co-sleep With Your Baby?


Cosleeping baby with mother


Some may debate whether it’s safe to co-sleep with your baby. Some research has found that it can help decrease SIDS risk, but other studies have found links between co-sleeping and suffocation. The AAP recommends you not share your bed with your baby if you’ve been drinking or using drugs if there is an adult in your bed who’s been drinking or using drugs, or if your child has breathing problems. There is no one right answer when it comes to how much sleep babies need and how they should get their zzz’s, but doctors do agree on some basics.


Final Thoughts

Babies need different amounts of sleep each day, depending on their age. Younger babies typically sleep more; you’ll see a dip in your baby’s sleeping patterns around four months when they start to develop wake/sleep patterns similar to those of an adult. By six months, babies will be sleeping between 12 and 16 hours per day—naps and nighttime. By 12 months, most babies are able to get through an entire night without waking up and usually sleep for 11-13 hours total during each 24-hour period including naps.

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