Congratulations! You’re a parent or a brand-new caregiver. Or perhaps you’re simply looking for ways to help your little one sleep better.
You’re probably getting a lot of advice — and some of it doesn’t make sense. Don’t let your baby cry; pick your baby up as soon as she cries. Feed her more and she’ll sleep for longer; feed her more and you’ll teach her food is the answer to everything. Get your baby on a sleep schedule; let her set her own pace.
My guess is that by now, you’ve heard it all. And so have I. Throughout my fulfilling career as a baby sleep consultant, I’ve noticed that sleep is the number one worry new parents have. What’s typical, and what’s not? And is your baby on schedule?
Here’s what a typical baby sleep schedule may look like, why some infants have difficulty, and when you need help from an expert.
A Note Before We Begin
Please note that I said “a typical baby’s sleep schedule.” Here’s the caveat: very few babies’ sleep follows professional guidelines to the letter. So if our little one isn’t quite meeting their sleep milestones, don’t worry. Every baby is different.
If you’re concerned, scroll to the bottom of the article to see how you can help get your baby back on track.
Now let’s discuss the general guidelines for your baby’s sleep schedule during their first year.
Baby Sleep Schedule: Newborn to 2 Months
At first, most newborn infants need to eat every 2 to 3 hours. However, this time will gradually begin to lengthen. By about 4 weeks, your baby should have at least one 6 hour stretch of sleep each day.
Daytime sleep usually includes between 3 and 5 naps. Some babies reduce their naps to 2 to 4 times a day by the end of this period.
By 2 months, most babies can go for at least one 8 hour stretch without a feeding. (For lucky parents, this happens at night. If you’re not seeing this progression by about 3 months, see below for guidance on what to do.)
Baby Sleep Schedule: 3 to 5 Months
By about 4 months, most babies are on a consistent nighttime sleep schedule of at least 8 hours. Babies will usually drop at least one daytime nap during this period.
Your baby may seem to sleep like a log, but they’re actually developing important sleep skills now. So if you notice a return of night wakings, don’t be alarmed. Because of this important developmental time, your baby may be more restless at night.
See below for what to do if Baby doesn’t get back on schedule after a couple of weeks.
Baby Sleep Schedule: 6 to 8 Months
By this time, most babies are sleeping 10 to 12 hours through the night without needing a feeding. However, expect a few bumps along the way. This is a time of amped development, such as sitting and crawling. Mastering these milestones can make your baby more wakeful at night.
This is also a time when some infants develop separation anxiety, which can make your little one fearful of being left alone in their crib at night. (Don’t worry — you can get past this! Scroll to the end of the article to find out how.)
Your baby will most likely reduce their naps to twice a day.
Baby Sleep Schedule: 9 to 12 Months
Most babies sleep between 10 and 12 hours a night by the end of their first year.
Nap times also go down to twice a day. And a few babies will only nap once a day at the one-year mark. Don’t worry about this; make sure you clear your baby’s health with your pediatrician, and realize that your baby is just more awake and energetic than most.
What if Your Baby’s Sleep Doesn’t Match the Schedule?
Remember that the above recommendations are averages. That means some babies sleep more than their age calls for, and some sleep less.
If you’re worried about your baby’s sleep schedule, visit your child’s pediatrician. Once you’ve been given the green light to go ahead with infant sleep training, I’m here for you! I offer personalized, one-on-one help to help your baby to sleep better.
- Individual consultations come with a step-by-step sleep plan that I create for your baby, and help with the entire process so that your baby can start sleeping through the night.
- Check out my Consultation Packages, to find the best one for you and your baby.
- And be sure to see what others are saying about how I have helped them on the Testimonials Page.
I can’t wait to hear from you and get you and your family started on creating an environment that’s peaceful, happy, and of course, well-rested!