You might wonder if your baby is sleeping enough or too much. However, we are sure of one thing, and that is: same with adults sleeping patterns and durations differ from one baby to another. However, there are some averages for how much sleep your baby needs that could be followed:
Sleep at night
Nap during the day
Total sleep time
8 ½ hours
3 naps, totally 7 hours
15 ½ hours
3 naps, totally 5 hours
2 naps, totally 3 ½ hours
14 ½ hours
2 naps, totally 3 hours
10 ½ hours
2 naps, totally 3 hours
13 ½ hours
Sleep in newborns
When your baby is born, you will feel like it sleeps almost around the clock when it’s not drinking, screaming or nappies being changed. Actually, newborn babies sleep for 17 to 20 hours daily, in a 3-4 hour interval. Therefore, at night you will be woken up every 3-4 hours because your baby is hungry. And with this you can even count yourself among the fortunate parents: Some babies wake up even every 1-2 hours.
This is a stage all parents must undergo. You hardly get any sleep at night because as soon as you have fallen asleep, your baby starts to cry again and needs to eat. This is completely normal and has an important reason: For your baby’s brain to develop adequately, it is dependent on nocturnal meals until it is six months old.
Newborn babies do not have a day/night rhythm yet which means they don’t care if it’s bright or dark outside. Their brain must adjust to this pattern first. However, you can assist your baby to develop the rhythm for sleep and wake up time, and the more consistent you are in teaching the child, the quicker they learn when to sleep/wakeup.
When is my baby tired?
Pay close attention to your baby for signs of tiredness. Newborns will probably not have the ability to stay up for more than two hours. As soon as your baby gets tired, put it to sleep because all the new impressions are processed during bedtime.
The following are signs that baby needs sleep:
- Crying, or the opposite: getting very silent
- Sucking on fingers
- Fluttering eyelids
- Pulling at ears
- Closing fists
- Staring into one direction
- Loss of interest in playing
Babies sleep duration from a month old
During the first to the second month after childbirth, the baby sleeps for about 4-6 hours at night; however naps during the day are also compulsory.
Maybe you are among the few parents whose baby is sleeping adequately 4 to 6 hours at night until it gets hungry again. However, only a few babies at this age act this way. Many of them wake up after 3-4 hours and are hungry again. A nursing baby gets hungry faster than a baby who is older because milk digests quickly.
Always ensure you get up frequently to check if your baby is hungry. Your baby’s stomach will develop to the point where food can last for up to 7 hours during the 4th month, and the child will have the consciousness to let go of night food from the 6th month. And only then you can start to assist in developing a rhythm for sleep and wake-up.
Develop healthy wake/sleep customs
You can help your baby find a rhythm and learn when it’s time to wake up and when to sleep. It might take some time, but as day and night time system will become clear, this will quickly make the baby know when to sleep and wake up. Here are some samples of how to develop a healthy wake/sleep rhythm:
Your baby sleeps for about 15 hours daily, but you will notice a decrease in the sleep time during the day. Use the period when your baby is awake to engage it in other activities such as playing, talking and cuddling to increase its sleeping hours at night.
At night avoid picking the baby up at every sound it makes. Just like an adult makes noises when they are asleep, your child could do the same. Sometimes they wake up without the urge to be fed. Be patient and see if it will go back to sleep by itself, do not rush and carry up the baby.
If your baby cries at night, even though it is not hungry, gently lull it back to sleep. Or mabe you prefer to sing; listening to the calming tune and lyrics of a lullaby is one of the best ways for babies to fall asleep.
Other important things to consider at nighttime are:
- When feeding your baby do not turn on a bright light
- Be silent around the baby
- Change diapers only when it’s necessary.
- Quit playing with the baby after changing nappies and avoid cuddling for too long
How much sleep does a 4-6-month-old baby need?
At 4 months old, most babies are used to sleep/wake times; your baby might even be sleeping all through the night. Though there are children that only sleep through when they’ve reached six months, and this is also very normal.
However, the good thing now is your baby is used to the sleep/wake-up pattern providing you with more freedom, and from here you can now schedule better because you know when your baby is awake, needs entertainment/activities and when it’s asleep.
Your baby will need about 14-15 hours of sleep daily during this age. Most of it will be done at night (about 7-8 hours), and the rest sleep time will be spent in the morning or afternoon while taking naps depending on your baby’s individual sleep pattern. Keep in mind that your baby should still sleep best on his back or lying on his side to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
At this point, there should be no reason for your baby to wake up at night because its stomach is now large enough for meals to take him through the night. However, if it still wakes up at night and urges to be fed, here are some tips:
- Wake your baby up a little earlier if it sleeps in the evening so that it is tired enough to sleep at night
- Try to calm your baby down by coaxing and caressing. Only if that does not help, continue feeding
- You can also try to feed it enough in the afternoon that will sustain him all through the evening and night
Tips for bedtime
Now, your baby really wants to explore and is actively participating in his surroundings. It might now be very active in the evening, instead of sleeping. These tips will help put your baby to sleep:
- Continuously follow the sleep/wake rhythm, even when your child doesn’t show signs of tiredness. It’s difficult to restart the process if you neglect it for more than two weeks
- During sleep time, create a calm, serene and harmonious surrounding
- Don’t try to make fun with the baby during sleep time or play games
Does your baby wake up long before you do? You are not alone here, most parents experience this, and there is no remedy for it. If your baby is waking up and making sounds, let it be for a while. Also, you could get extra rest time if you bring your baby to your bed, but be sure not to fall asleep.
Where should my baby sleep?
During the first few weeks, most parents bring their baby to their bedroom because they want to be close to their baby. And indeed, your room is the most ideal location for your newborn baby to sleep. However, some parents decide to bring their baby to their bed. It is called co-sleeping when you sleep in the same bed with your baby. This makes feeding easier in the middle of the night, and your baby also loves the physical presence of their parents around, this makes them relax comfortably.
However, many experts recommend avoiding co-sleeping because it increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is best advised that your baby sleeps in a separate crib (cubicle/cot) or in a bedside sleeper next to the bed of the parents, where it could be guarded.