Are you wondering about the proper baby sleep times that you should be aiming for? This article will help you narrow down what might work best for you and help you use it alongside any type of sleep training regimen.
Having a baby is like the best and MOST CONFUSING thing ever.
Baby is tired…
Or is baby hungry…
Or does baby have reflux…
Wait, does baby want a hug…
Or is it all of the above?
You’re probably trying to figure this out, too. Make sure baby is getting enough sleep so that he (or sweet she) is happy, well rested, and getting the restoration that comes from true rest.
That is not only possible, it’s not as difficult as you think. It all boils down to a few things.
Most of which are in this post.
What To Consider About Baby Sleep Time
Let’s dive into all that we need to consider when we talk about baby sleep time and how to have a happy, well-rested baby!
If you are about to work on your baby’s sleep, use our daily baby logs to help you track changes.
Suggested Amount Of Baby Sleep
Let’s look at generally agreed upon sleep times for babies. Some babies will have higher sleep needs than others, so you don’t have to go to the letter.
You know if your routine is working if baby is content the majority of the time.
These are windows, of course. Some babies will sleep on the higher end (or perhaps even more) and some a bit lower than this.
Remember the rule of thumb above!
- Newborn to 2 months: 16-18 hours a day | 7 to 9 naps (one after each feed)
- 2-4 months: 15-17 hours a day | 4 to 5 naps (after each daytime feed)
- 4-6 months: 14-16 hours a day | 4 naps or so (probably dropping the last nap before bedtime)
- 6-9 months: 14-16 hours a day | 3 to 4 naps a day (eventually getting down to 2 naps a day)
- 9 – 12 months: 14-16 hours a day | 2 to 3 naps (eventually getting down to 2)
- 12-18 months: 14-15 hours a day | 2 naps a day (eventually getting down to 1 nap a day)
THIS: How Long Baby Is Awake Between Feeds
Baby’s wake time makes a huge difference in how well they go to sleep.
As such, how well a baby goes down to sleep is determined by how long they’ve been awake!
If a baby is awake too long between the time they start feeding and the time you put them down to nap they will become overtired. Overtired babies don’t nap well.
Babies will fight sleep or seem extremely alert because of that. Then you’ll think, “Baby isn’t tired!” when, in fact, baby is overtired.
Approximate sleep windows
- Newborns should really be up no more than 75 minutes (from the beginning of a feed) until they go back to bed.
- By 3 months they are likely able to be awake 1.5 hours (from the beginning of a feed) until they go back to bed.
- By 6 months they are likely able to be awake about 2 hours (from the beginning of a feed) until they go back to bed, probably a bit longer in the late evening before their bedtime.
- At 9 months they should still not be staying awake much longer than 2 or 2.5 hours at a time before going back down for the morning nap. Then after lunch, back down again. The late evening time may see them awake for 3 or 3.5 hours but then still to bed at a good early bedtime.
These are approximate, but note: if your baby is fussy and fights sleep (aside from medical issues) then they are likely overtired and need to go to bed earlier and/or sleep more than they do.
Well fed and well rested babies are basically happy and smiling 99% of the time!
The 3 Biggest Sleep BARRIERS
While each baby 👶 is unique, sleep issues are not. I’ve helped 1000s of littles, and these are the biggest barriers to restorative rest.
Get On A Routine — Stat
There is no denying it.
The research is unanimous.
There are no negatives (for the baby) to having a routine.
It is all positives.
Better feeding, better sleeping, better moods, more predictability. All round better. The only rub?
Mama’s gotta keep the routine.
This is not easy for some types of personalities.
There is good news, though, and it’s this… if you keep a routine for a week or two you’ll be so impressed with its benefits that you work hard to keep it.
- Newborn Sleep Schedule
- 3 to 6 Month Sample Routine
- 6 to 9 Month Sample Routine
- 9 to 12 Month Sample Routine
- 35+ Printable Routines (aged 6 weeks to 5 years)
Start Healthy Habits Early
If baby is already stuck in habits you don’t like that don’t work for baby, then I encourage you to take my mini sleep series.
However, if you are holding a wee one… start healthy habits early.
This means you need to help little ones learn to sleep without YOU jumping through hoops. You’ll especially be tempted to jump through hoops during witching hours.
That doesn’t help them because it means if they are tired, they cannot sleep. They need you to jump through hoops. And what if you must go to the movies or to work or anywhere else?
Well… baby can’t sleep.
That’s inconvenient for you and unfair to baby. The answer? Refrain from introducing sleep props but instead focus on sleep associations.
- Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
- Common Habits That Help And Harm Baby’s Sleep
- How To Get Your Newborn To Sleep Well From Day One
Establish A Good Bedtime Routine
One of the best ways to get baby to sleep on their own is to have a healthy bedtime routine.
A bedtime routine will do a few things that are important to sleep:
- Help baby calm down
- Give baby habits that he associates with sleep which will release calm down hormones
- Create a period of time where you and baby are bonding in a relaxing environment
- Gives the baby the best opportunity to fall asleep
There are many things you can do to have a healthy bedtime routine, so go with your gut on that. Books, songs, stories, hugging, turning lights down low, white noise, curtains, etc.
These will all create an environment conducive for sleep.
The truth is… all babies are different, but most babies are the same with respect to sleep.
They need sleep.
They want sleep.
And, they just need to be shown the way!