In the beginning, your newborn sleeps most of the time and you don’t have to worry too much about naps. Your newborn’s sleep schedule and patterns are highly unpredictable, usually, so it’s hard to tell if she will have 5 naps or 8 on any given day. You’ve just given birth (or partnered the birth), so as long as she sorts out the difference between day and night, you probably won’t stress too much about it, unless she isn’t “sleeping like a baby.”
Once the fog lifts, you most likely want more predictability in your day and so you start focusing on getting your baby on a schedule and getting your baby to nap better, especially if your baby won’t nap. Just when you succeed, things change again and you wonder where you went wrong. It’s a good idea to know just when your baby will start to transition to fewer naps, so you know just how long you can enjoy good sleep before he changes on you again.
Here are your guidelines to the number of baby naps by age:
From 1-4 months, the number of naps your baby takes will be variable, but will hover around 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps. By 3 or 4 months old, she will lean towards just 4 naps, rather than 5.
From 5-8 months, most babies will have three naps per day (though my son had four until after 7 months) . They will start to resist the fourth nap, no matter how tired they are. There are a few babies who will only have two naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.
From 9-15 or 18 months, on average, your baby will nap two times a day. Although many people believe most babies transition to one nap at 12 months, the average age is actually 15 to 18 months.
From 18 months to 4 years, toddlers will nap once a day. The age to transition away from all naps varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old.
You may want to view and bookmark our sample baby sleep and feeding schedules by age. And, if you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, discounts, peer support, and more! It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations.