Newborn babies will sleep when they need to and the same can be said for when they need to eat as well. It may seem stressful, but that is just the way it is. It is difficult if not impossible to try to schedule out a certain nap routine for a newborn. The best thing you can do is to go with the flow, so to speak. However, once your baby progresses past the specific newborn status, you can start to see a little more structure to their sleeping needs and patterns. As a parent of a newborn, you may be too exhausted to notice. Don’t worry, we will go over some sleep needs and cycles for your child during their first year.
Age 0 to 11 Weeks
This will be mostly dictated by their individual needs. They will let you know when they need food and will mostly sleep on their own accord, although they typically follow a 2.5-3 hour cycle that coincides with their feeding needs. Depending on the length of your baby’s naps and whether or not they connect sleep cycles easily, your newborn from birth to 11 weeks will need 4-5 naps daily.
At three months of age, a few things happen. By now, your little one is no longer technically considered a “newborn” (they grow up so fast!) and their daily feed/sleep cycles will be less demanding. They should be getting about 4 naps each day lasting between 45 minutes to 2 hours. Ideally, your baby will be sleeping a solid 6-8 hour stretch of sleep at night. Some will be sleeping through the night, but it is less common for a baby to sleep through the night at 3 months if solid sleep patterns have not been established from the first few weeks of life. It is easier to structure daytime naps more easily at this age and you will begin to see patterns emerge and can encourage napping at certain set times, which really helps!
Around 5 to 6 Months+
Here’s where we take a step down on the naps a little bit. We will want to cut it to about 3 naps each day, but the duration will still be about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how tired your child is. This is a crucial time to help them develop more firm patterns of sleep and wake times, so you may want to really try to stick to a set schedule whenever possible. There may be some sleep regression around this age as well, so be on the lookout for that. That is completely normal and should pass within a few weeks.
At 5-6 months of age, your baby is fully capable of sleeping through the night, so long as everything else surrounding their daily routine is on point. Generally speaking, a breastfed baby will usually need one nightly feed until 9 months of age.
8 Months to 12 Months+
Here is another transition stage in which we will see the naps go down to a firm 2 per day lasting between 1 to 2 hours, at maximum. This will be on a much more firm schedule and keeping a regular schedule for naps at this age is important to developing their entire daily routine, among other things.
Learning your child’s sleep needs and schedules is vitally important to helping them get the valuable sleep they need in order to develop into healthy strong children! We hope these tips have helped you along your journey. If you have any questions about helping your baby to sleep better, or about your baby in general, please reach out to us HERE. We are experts in all things baby and sleep and would love to help!
If you have questions about your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help. Please reach out to us here! We look forward to hearing from you.