How Much Sleep Your Baby Needs and How to Get Enough

How Much Sleep Your Baby Needs and How to Get Enough

Knowing how much sleep your baby needs can be confusing when your neighbor’s newborn baby sleeps 17 hours a day and your friend’s toddler sleeps 13 hours a day. Setting your expectations is an important first step.

Baby and Toddler Sleep Needs Chart

Age Total Amount of Nighttime Sleep Total Amount of Naptime Sleep # of Naps Notes
Newborns to 3 month olds 10-11 hours at night 4-5 hours per day 4-5 naps Short naps are common
4 to 5 month olds 10-12 hours at night 2-4 hours per day 3-4 naps At least two 1+ hour naps
6 to 8 month olds 11-12 hours at night 2-3 hours per day 2-3 naps Two 1+ hour naps and 1 short one
9 to 17 month olds 11-12 hours at night 2-3 hours per day 1-2 naps 1+ hour long each nap
18 month olds to 3 years 10-12 hours at night 1-3 hours per day 1 nap
3 to 5 years old 10-11 hours 0-3 hours Sometimes 1 nap, but most lose between 3 & 4 years old) If napping, the nap is usually ~1-3 hours long
5 years+ 9-10 hours 0 hours No nap

Keep in mind that these are just average sleep needs, so some will naturally fall below these amounts, and some above. If your baby is sleeping a lot more and you are concerned, you should talk to your doctor. Some babies may just need a lot of sleep, but since that is less time to learn and play, you’ll want to make double-check with your pediatrician if your little one’s sleep needs are excessively high.

How much sleep your little one gets and whether she gets enough sleep will depend on quite a few factors, including your diligence in keeping your routine, providing the opportunity for enough sleep, and your baby’s personality / willingness to sleep. We can’t *make* our babies sleep; we can only provide the opportunity.

Here are a few tips to make sure your baby gets the sleep she needs:

  • Keep in mind the average amount of sleep appropriate for your baby’s age.</li>
  • Know your specific average by logging your baby’s sleep for a week or two.
  • Don’t fall into the trap that later bedtime or keeping babies up longer will promote longer naps, better nights, or waking later in the morning. Over-tiredness is the #1 reason babies take short naps, have more night-wakings, and wake earlier in the morning. Strange, but true. Consider reviewing our sample >baby sleep and feeding schedules.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your baby doesn’t need more sleep because she’s happy all the time. Some babies get cranky without enough sleep and others don’t. Even if your baby is happy, she may still need more sleep than you are offering.
  • If your baby is sleeping less than the average and is happy, then don’t stress too much that you are forcing more sleep than she can do. If you know HER average and she’s getting close to that AND she’s happy, breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Adjust how much sleep your little one needs as she gets older. Your baby will slowly need less over time. This should only decrease at a slow rate, though.

Knowing how much sleep she needs is the first step to better nights and better days. Figuring out how to get that much sleep is a whole other matter. 🙂 Hopefully, these tips help get you on the right path.

Happy Sleeping!

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