Does Your Baby Get Enough Sleep?
How much sleep do our children really need to grow healthily, be curious, and be in good spirits throughout the day? If you search this topic on Google, you’ll find thousands of websites, most of which offer different, sometimes contradictory, information. That’s why I decided to thoroughly investigate the existing literature – examining books, scientific articles, insights from organizations, and international child sleep experts. I’m sharing these findings with you because many parents are confused about this topic:
|Age||Total daytime sleep||Total sleep hours per day|
|1 month||5 – 7 hours||14 – 17 hours|
|3 months||4 – 6 hours||13 – 16 hours|
|6 months||2:30 – 4:30 hours||13 – 15 1/2 hours|
|9 months||2 – 4 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|1 year||2 – 3:30 hours||13 – 14 hours|
|18 months||1:30 – 2:30 hours||12 – 14 hours|
|2 years||1 – 2:30 hours||12 – 14 hours|
All children are different and have different needs. Some children need more sleep (than shown in the table above; others need less. However, studies reveal that the majority of children share similar sleep-wake patters.
Signs of an Over-tired Baby
If your child sleeps significantly less than the sleep norms (described above), she may be overtired. Please take into account that fatigue significantly affects the quality and duration of both daytime and nighttime sleep.
Sometimes, children don’t appear tired. They often don’t show typical signs of overtiredness. Instead, they may appear:
- Easily irritated and moody
- Restless and overly attached to you
- Refusing to sleep (despite they need rest)
Expanded Information on Baby Sleep Norms
Below, you can view a detailed table describing the sleep norms for babies and children up to 3 years old. Many baby sleep consultants use similar data to establish the sleep-wake rhythm for the children they work with:
|Age||Daytime sleep||Number of |
|Naps duration||Awake time||Nighttime sleep||Total sleep hours per day|
|Newborn||Sleeps all day,|
wakes up to feed
|15 min. – 4 hours||45 – 60 min.||8 – 14 hours|
wakes up to
2 – 4 houre
|17 – 19 hours|
|1 month||5 – 7 hours||4 – 5||40 min. – 3 hours||60 – 90 min.||8 – 10 hours||14 – 17 hours|
|2 months||5 – 7 hours||4 – 5||40 min. – 3 hours||60 – 90 min||8 – 10 hours||14 – 17 hours|
|3 months||4 – 6 hours||4||40 min. – 2:30 hours||90 min.||9 – 11 hours||13 – 16 hours|
|4 months||4 – 5 hours||3 – 4||40 min. – 2:30 hours||1:45 – 2:00 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 16 hours|
|5 months||3 – 4 hours||2 – 4||40 min. – 2:30 hours||2:00 – 2:15 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 16 hours|
|6 months||2:30 – 4:30 hours||2 – 4||40 min. – 2:30 hours||2:15 – 2:30 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|7 months||2 – 4 hours||2 – 3||1 – 2 hours||2:45 hours (до 3:00)||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|8 months||2 – 4 hours||2 – 3||1 – 2 hours||3:30 hours (3:00 – 4:00)||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|9 months||2 – 4 hours||2||1 – 1:30 hours||3:45 hours (3:00 – 4:00)||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|10 months||2 – 3 hours||2||1 – 1:30 hours||3 – 4 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|11 months||2 – 3 hours||2||1 – 1:30 hours||3:30 – 4:30 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 15 hours|
|12 months||2 – 3 hours||1 – 2||–||3:30 – 4:30 hours||10 – 12 hours||13 – 14 hours|
|13 – 18 months||2 – 3 hours||1 – 2||–||3h 30m – 1h 30m|
(with 2 naps per day)
5 h (with 1 nap per day)
|10 – 12 hours||12 – 14 hours|
|19 – 23 months||1:30 – 2:30 hours||1||1:30 – 2:00||5 – 6 hours||10 – 12 hours||12 – 14 hours|
|2 months||1 – 2:30 hours||1||–||5 – 6 hours||10 – 11 hours||12 – 14 hours|
|3 months||1-2 hours||1||–||6 hours (with 1 nap)||10 – 11 hours||10 – 13 hours|
To make this guide, I dug deep into available resources about sleep norms for children aged between 0 and 3 years old. The numbers you see in the table above don’t come from traditional clinical studies. Instead, it’s gathered from real-life observations and experiences of professionals working in the field of children’s sleep. These professionals, ranging from child sleep consultants to medical experts, regularly deal with children who experience issues with their daytime and/or nighttime sleep.
What to Do If Your Little One Isn’t Sleeping Well During the Day or Night?
Even though the data in the table above isn’t from traditional research, I would encourage you to use it when you create a new sleep-wake rhythm for your child. This information can be your starting point for setting up a good daily routine. How to use this information? Let’s take a look:
- Start a Sleep Journal. For at least 5 days, write down all the details about your child’s sleep.
- Analyze the Sleep Journal. Look for patterns and issues. Is your child crying before falling asleep? Are they waking up often? Do they have a hard time falling asleep at night? How long are their daytime naps, and how long are they awake between naps? For babies over 3 months old, are there specific things that disrupt their sleep?
- Create a Plan. Based on the patterns you notice and the data from the table, come up with a possible solution.
- Test Your Plan. Try your new routine for at least 3 days before deciding if it’s working or not.
- Choose the Best Sleep Routine for Your Little One. How do you know which is the best routine for your little one? The right routine will help your child sleep soundly during the day and night, fall asleep easily, wake up happy, stay calm during the day, and will be eager to explore the world around them.
Finding the Right Sleep Solution
Understanding your child’s sleep needs can feel like a puzzle with no clear answer. With contradictory information available online, it can be tough to determine the right amount of sleep your child needs to spend their days happy and explore the world with curiosity. Each child has unique sleep patterns. Whether your child needs more or less sleep than the norm, the ultimate goal is to ensure they sleep soundly, wake up refreshed, and maintain calmness throughout the day.
The strategies provided in this article, such as keeping a sleep journal, analyzing your child’s sleep patterns, creating a plan, and testing it out, can indeed help you set a good sleep routine for your child. However, if you find this process overwhelming or if your child is still having trouble sleeping, do not hesitate to reach out to me. As a baby sleep consultant, I can help you navigate your child’s unique sleep issues.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength. It’s okay not to have all the answers. Together, we can find a solution that best fits your baby’s needs.
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