How Did We Make This Nap Chart
The above chart is derived from over 10 years of experience as a sleep consultant, with thousands of families, in conjunction with the following two books:
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth M.D.
While you can obviously read multiple 200+ page books, we strive to bring you practical information at your fingertips that you can put to use right away.
How Much Sleep Do Babies And Kids Need
Dr. Nilong Vyas, Pediatrician
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We regularly assess how the content in this article aligns with current scientific literature and expert recommendations in order to provide the most up-to-date research.
Sleep is of paramount importance to young children. Early in life, a person experiences tremendous development that affects the brain, body, emotions, and behavior and sets the stage for their continued growth through childhood and adolescence.
In light of this, its normal for parents to want to make sure that their children, whether babies or young kids, get the sleep that they need. After convening a panel of experts to review the existing research, the National Sleep Foundation formulated recommendations for total daily sleep needs by age.
These ranges are for total sleep including at night and during naps. The NSFs experts noted that these are broad recommendations and that an hour more or less may be appropriate for some children. Parents can benefit from using these guidelines as a target while recognizing that a healthy amount of sleep may vary among children or from day to day.
How Sleepy Is Too Sleepy For A Newborn
If baby will not wake up for feeds throughout the day or night and is extremely lethargic, of course contact your pediatrician.
If your baby is simply wanting to rest and nap during the day and still be out like a light at night this is totally normal. If youre nursing then baby is getting all those sleepy happy hormones from you.
Babies will wake up hungry, feed for a while, then try and fall asleep before the feed is over. Some babies, many actually, will still nap for 2 hours after that and only wake up to get more milk. And then theyll repeat it all over again .
Only to wake up for slightly more time around the witching hours and then go right back to bed at night. If baby is having enough wet diapers, dirty diapers, and is otherwise healthy, then consider yourself a lucky, mama.
Get all the info you need for your newborn on my wildly popular post: ultimate newborn sleep schedule: week by week
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Understanding Newborn Needs: Sleep Feeds And Play
The first few months of your babys life is the time to get to know your baby and learn about your babys needs for sleep, feeds, play and settling.
Most newborns spend most of their time asleep they sleep 14-17 hours in every 24 hours. Its common for newborns to sleep in short bursts of 2-3 hours between feeds, both night and day.
Also, newborns need to feed every 2-4 hours. And they need your attention during the day and night.
Newborn play might just be a quiet cuddle or some time stretching out and kicking on a blanket. You might find about 10-20 minutes of play is enough. Some newborns are happy to play for longer than this.
You might find that a very simple, flexible routine seems to help your baby and also helps you feel more in control. But this isnt the time to worry about getting your baby into any kind of rigid routine.
Newborns often need help to settle to sleep. You can use responsive settling to help your baby fall asleep.
What To Do If Your Baby Seems Lethargic
If your baby is lethargic, excessively sleepy, or appears to have no energy, they might seem drowsy, sluggish, or cranky, even when theyre awake. Or, they might not respond much when you try to wake them.
A lethargic baby may not seem interested in feeding or seem too tired to feed. This can sometimes indicate illness or inadequate milk transfer.
Causes of lethargy in newborns may include:
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What Is Safe Sleep
Safe sleep means putting your baby to sleep in ways that can help protect him from dangers, like choking and suffocation , and sudden infant death syndrome . SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. SIDS usually happens when a baby is sleeping. Its sometimes called crib death because the baby often dies in his crib.
When Do Babies Start To Sleep Through The Night
For adults used to sleeping for 7-9 hours each night without interruption, having a baby can be an eye-opening experience. Even though newborns and infants spend most of their time asleep, they rarely sleep through the night without waking up.
In general, it is thought that babies start to consolidate their nightly sleeping period at around six months, making it more likely for them to sleep through the night. At the same time, research has found that the date of this milestone can vary significantly. In one study, a considerable number of six- and twelve-month-old babies did not sleep either six or eight hours consecutively at night:
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Stages Of Sleep In Newborns
The sleep of newborns occurs in four stages:Stage 1: Drowsiness. Your baby becomes drowsy after a period of wakefulness and is ready to fall asleep. Itâs a good idea to put your baby to sleep in her crib when she is drowsy and not yet asleep.
Stage 2: REM or active sleep. Your baby may start to twitch or jerk his arms and legs, and his eyes may move under his eyelids. His breathing may be irregular and stop for 5 to 10 seconds. This is referred to as ânormal periodic breathing of infancy.â His breathing speeds up to a rate of between 50 and 60 breaths per minute, and this rapid pace lasts between 10 and 15 seconds. Then his breathing will return to a regular pace, with the cycle repeating. This type of breathing is completely normal for young babies, and your little one will eventually grow out of it by around 6 months old.
Stage 3: Light sleep. In this stage, your babyâs breathing is regular and sleep is not as active as in the previous stage.
Stage 4 and 5: Deep or non-REM sleep. Also known as quiet sleep, this is the stage your baby falls into a deep sleep. There is no twitching or any other movements. It may be difficult to wake your baby in this stage should you need to for any reason.
Donât miss these must-watch sleep tips from a pediatric sleep consultant.
What Are The Sleep Patterns Of A Newborn
The average newborn sleeps much of the day and night, waking only for feedings every few hours. It’s often hard for new parents to know how long and how often a newborn should sleep. Unfortunately, there is no set schedule at first, and many newborns have their days and nights confused. They think they are supposed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.
Generally, newborns sleep a total of about 8 to 9 hours in the daytime and a total of about 8 hours at night. But because they have a small stomach, they must wake every few hours to eat. Most babies dont start sleeping through the night until at least 3 months of age. But this can vary a lot. Some babies dont sleep through the night until closer to 1 year. In most cases, your baby will wake up and be ready to eat at least every 3 hours. How often your baby will eat depends on what he or she is being fed and his or her age. Make sure you talk with your healthcare provider to figure out if you need to wake your baby for feedings.
Watch for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern. If your baby has been sleeping consistently, and suddenly is waking more often, there may be a problem. Or your baby may be going through a growth spurt and need to eat more often. Some sleep disturbances are simply due to changes in development or because of overstimulation.
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Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.
Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that your little one will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. If you swaddle your baby and they start trying to roll over, that is a sign that you can stop swaddling. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem. In fact, newborns who are held or carried during the day tend to have less colic and fussiness.
Are There Other Ways To Help Reduce Your Babys Risk Of Sleep Dangers Including Sids
Yes. Heres what you can do:
- Make sure your baby gets all her vaccinations. These shots help protect her from serious childhood diseases and may help prevent SIDS. All children should be vaccinated for their own health and so they dont spread infections to others.
- Dont smoke and keep your baby away from other smokers and secondhand smoke . Babies who live with smokers are at increased risk of SIDS. Keep your home and your car smoke-free.
- Dont smoke, drink alcohol or use harmful drugs during pregnancy. Babies of mothers who do these things are at increased risk of SIDS.
- Go to all your prenatal care checkups during pregnancy. Babies of mothers who dont get regular prenatal care are at increased risk of SIDS.
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Can Newborns Sleep For Six Hours Straight
A newborn most likely will not be able to sleep for six hours straight. Newborns typically sleep in one- to three-hour chunks of time and also need feedings every three to four hours. Either your newborn will wake up on his own when heâs hungry, or youâll need to wake him, depending on the advice of your healthcare provider.
Why Do Some Parents Bed
Bed-sharing supporters believe and some studies support their beliefs that bed-sharing:
- encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime breastfeeding more convenient
- increases how many months a mother breastfeeds her baby
- helps babies fall asleep more easily
- helps babies and mothers get more nighttime sleep
- gives moms more time to be close to their infantsy
But the risks of bed-sharing can outweigh the benefits.
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Waking Baby For Feeding
To wake or not to wake? If your little one has been snoozing for five hours and youre staring at the clock, wondering what to do, the answer comes down to two factors: how old they are and whether theyve consistently been gaining weight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waking babies to feed every two to three hours during the day and every four hours at night. Its also important to make sure your infant is finishing a full feed and seems full when theyre done. Keep in mind that the end of a feed is when breastfed infants get the nutrient-dense high-fat milk.
Dont Play The Blame Game
Brooding about the situation will make it harder for you to fall asleep when you are given the opportunity. And its wrong-headed, too: You might be doing everything you can to get more sleep, and still be stuck with a baby who sleeps less than average.
Research suggests that the amount of sleep we get at night is strongly influenced by genetics , and, as mentioned above, there is a lot of individual variation among newborns.
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How Will Your New Baby Sleep
Your baby should always be placed on his back to sleep. Avoid using sleep wedges to prop your baby on his side and avoid placing her on her stomach. As your baby gets older, he may roll herself onto his stomach. Once your baby is strong enough to roll herself over, it is ok to leave her sleeping in that position once if she gets there on her own. Back sleeping is strongly recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome .
What Are The Sleep States Of A Newborn
Babies, like adults, have various stages and depths of sleep. Depending on the stage, the baby may actively move or lie very still. Infant sleep patterns begin forming during the last months of pregnancy?active sleep first, then quiet sleep by about the eighth month. There are two types of sleep:
REM . This is a light sleep when dreams occur and the eyes move rapidly back and forth. Although babies spend about 16 hours each day sleeping, about half of this is in REM sleep. Older children and adults sleep fewer hours and spend much less time in REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep. Non-REM has 4 stages:
Stage 1: drowsiness, eyes droop, may open and close, dozing
Stage 2: light sleep, the baby moves and may startle or jump with sounds
Stage 3: deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
Stage 4: very deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
A baby enters stage 1 at the beginning of the sleep cycle, then moves into stage 2, then 3, then 4, then back to 3, then 2, then to REM. These cycles may occur several times during sleep. Babies may awaken as they pass from deep sleep to light sleep and may have difficulty going back to sleep in the first few months.
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When Should I Seek A Doctor’s Help
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby seems to be extremely fussy/irritable or cannot be soothed he/she may have a medical problem such as colic or reflux .
- Your baby appears to have a breathing problem.
- Your baby has a difficult time being awakened from sleep.
- Your baby is uninterested in feeding or persistently shies away from activity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- National Sleep Foundation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 3/23/2020.
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Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be a great opportunity to have 1-to-1 time with your baby.
The routine could consist of:
- having a bath
- changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
- putting them to bed
- reading a bedtime story
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
- brushing their teeth
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
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Limit Caffeine If Breastfeeding
Caffeine passes through your breastmilk and will stimulate your baby just as it stimulates you, which is not what you want to do if you want our baby to sleep well.To determine if caffeine is part of the problem,, try cutting it out of your diet for a few days. If you see an improvement in your babys sleep, you can gradually reintroduce caffeine, but be sure to keep an eye on timing. Morning caffeine may be fine, however after 4:00 p.m. may cause sleep issues.
Establish A Bedtime Routine
When your baby is between 2 and 3 months old, it’s time to introduce a bedtime routine, Dr. Traeger says. Sticking to a consistent schedule of eventssuch as a bath, feeding, reading a book, then bedwill signal to your baby that it’s time to go to sleep.
“Even though the baby’s internal clock really doesn’t kick in until about 4 months, it’s a good idea to set a routine now for when that does happen. And this evening practice of relaxing and preparing for bed can really last your child a lifetime,” says Dr. Traeger.
An effective bedtime routine can include anything, including snuggling and rocking. The objective here is to teach your baby to recognize and understand the cues for bedtime and to learn that after certain rituals, it is time to go to sleep.
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