If you think about it, in their first few months of life, babies do like to sleep a lot! New parents might wonder ‘how much sleep do babies need?’ – they seem to be doing it all the time! They wake up, eat, and go back to sleep. Given this schedule you’d think the parents have plenty of time to take care of chores and look fresh and ready for action. So why are parents with a newborn in the house looking like zombies?
Well, the answer is simple: a baby’s sleep, especially in the case of newborns, is not constant like ours. Babies do sleep somewhere between 16 to 17 hours a day, but they do this in short rounds of two to four hours. While during the day this pattern is acceptable for adults, at nights, it’s horrifying to wake up every two hours!
But we’re not here to talk about the parents! Because many new parents are not sure about how much a baby should sleep, I have put together a short guide to help you out. Please keep in mind that every baby is unique and the data presented below serves only as a guide. If you fear there’s a problem with your baby’s sleep pattern, you should talk to your pediatrician as soon as possible.
Factors that Influence a Baby’s Sleep
Before we go through each age’s sleeping pattern, let’s look at the factors that affect a baby’s sleep.
The General Mood
You might think babies don’t know squat about the surrounding world, and while this is true for many things, they are quite perceptive when it comes to emotions. If you’re not in the right mood when you’re putting your child to sleep and he/she feels your tension, then sleepy time will go bye, bye.
Try making a ritual out of putting your baby to bed. Start with dimming the lights, singing, moving slowly around the room, reading a story, do anything that will put you to bed too.
The Level of Comfort
Yes, just like us, a baby needs to be comfortable.For this, you should get a baby crib mattress guide and look for one that accommodates your baby correctly. You should also keep the crib clean of any plush animals and other objects – if your baby has space to move he/she will feel more comfy and cozy.
I think new parents are the most capable of appreciating the power of routine! Babies love a fixed schedule so it’s important to keep to it – you’ll thank yourself later.
How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?
Babies develop different sleep patterns as they grow so it’s normal for their schedule to change. I’ll go through these changes from the first few days your bundle of joy comes into your lives and the time he/she becomes a toddler and the sleeping pattern is a bit more regular.
The First Three Months
During this time, babies can’t tell day from nightso they will sleep about 16 to 18 hours a day (in the first week). For the following weeks (up to two months of age), this pattern will be slightly reduced to about 17 hours a day spread across the 24h.
During the third month, your baby will sleep less (about 15 hours per day) and, if everything goes right, they should start sleeping more during the night.
Four to Six Months
According to experts, this is the time parents start to remember what sleep feels like because babies start to sleep for about 8 to 12 hours per night. However, you should know that this usually happens around five months of age so don’t get alarmed if your 4-months-old baby is still taking longer naps during the day.
Up to 18 Months
The average sleep time from 6 to 18 months is about 14 to 13 hours per day, usually 11 hours during the night and 2 short naps during the day. Once they hit toddler-hood, it may get harder to get them to nap during the day, but at night, they should have at least 10 hours of sleep.
Please remember that every baby is different, and your little one may not follow the description above to the letter! However, I hope you’ve got an answer to your question of ‘how much sleep do babies need?’ and that you’ll be able to plan your baby’s routine better.