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Baby Sleep Needs in Year One!

How much sleep does my baby need? How many naps does my baby need? Why is my baby waking so much?


Ever thought you'd be thinking about sleep this much after having a baby? Literally researching schedules, timing out each nap, planning your

day around sleep, maximizing each moment in order to get your own sleep. It's a lot! I get it, I've been there and I specialize in getting it right and taking the guesswork out of sleep planning for clients.


Because I get it, I wanted to share a snapshot of baby's needs in the first year to help ease the new parent mind.




Check it out and save for future reference!

Newborn

  • 15-18 total hours of sleep

  • Short awake times

  • Naps can be 30-minutes to 3 hours

  • Many night waking's

  • Later bedtime

A newborn baby can sleep about 15-18 hours in a 24-hour day. However, it’ important to note that their sleep patterns are sporadic and vary quite a bit. Sleep for them is not organized like that of an adult on a day/night sleep cycle. As their brain matures, these cycles mature as well, around the 3–4-month mark – see 4-month sleep regression post for more information.


Newborn babies have short awake times, about 45 minutes to 1-hour if under 6 weeks. So, you may find yourself putting baby down often. Keep in mind that this is only temporary, as baby grows, wake times increase. Between 6-10 weeks, you can expect the wake time to increase to 1hr and 15-minutes.

Nap lengths also vary and can range from 30-minutes to 3-hours.


At this stage you can also expect many night wakings. Newborn babies have tiny tummies and need to be fed a lot! As they grow into the second and third month, you can expect this to change and baby can take longer stretches. You can also anticipate a later bedtime with newborns, between 9-10pm.


3-Months

  • 12- 16 total hours of sleep

  • 1.5 hour awake time

  • Approx. 3-4 naps in the day

  • Longer night stretches

  • Bedtime between 7-9pm

  • Common Development: Teething can start as early as 3-months

You can expect a lot of things to feel differently come the third month in comparison to the newborn stage. Baby is taking longer stretches between feedings and longer stretches at night. The wake window for this age is about 1.5 hours, therefore naptime stretches out and you can expect baby to take about 3-4 naps a day depending on the length of the nap.


By the time your baby reaches the 3-month mark, you'll want to adjust bedtime to the earlier side, between 7-9pm.


A typical 3-month-old should get about 12-16 hours of total sleep.


Teething can also have an effect on our baby’s sleep. It may only last a few days but the discomfort during this time can cause sleep to be interrupted.


4 to 5-Months

  • 12-16 total hours of sleep

  • 2-hour awake time

  • Approx. 3 naps in the day

  • Increase in night waking's, then back to longer stretches

  • Bedtime between 7-8pm

  • Common Development: Rolling

There is a lot going on at this age when it comes to sleep. Your child's brain is maturing and organizing sleep in a more structured way. They are moving from 2 stages of sleep into 4, and having much more lighter sleep. This means that your child may experience more wake ups then you’ve been used to. (See What’s a 4-Month Sleep Regression? And, How to Deal?!).


It can take some work to regulate the desired sleep habits and behaviour through and post sleep regression, but once there, baby should be taking longer stretches between feedings at night.


With a longer wake window of two hours and an ideal 1-2 hour naps, baby can expect to be on three naps a day. Bedtime can also gradually be moved earlier at this stage, to between 7-8pm.


At this age rolling commonly happens. As baby works on this new skill, an interruption in sleep is likely. You may find them rolling to their tummies and not yet having the skill to roll back, so you are doing it for them. Once they can roll both ways (back to front AND front to back) comfortably, they can sleep in the position they are in.


A typical 4–5-month-old should get about 12-16 hours of total sleep.


6 to 7-Months

  • 12-16 total hours of sleep

  • 2.5-3-hours awake time

  • Moving from 3 naps to 2

  • May require 1-0 night feedings

  • Bedtime between 7-8pm

  • Common development: Sitting up, beginning to crawl

The big changes at 6-months are around naps and sleep length at night. If baby’s development and weight check out (and doc gives the OK), then feedings at night can go down to one or none, depending on your comfort level. This means you could be looking at a 10-12 hour stretch of sleep at night.


With wake times increasing to 2.5-3 hours, at this stage you will see naps go from 3-2. At 6-months you may still have the three naps, with the last one being a catnap. Gradually into the 7th month, the third nap may drop off in order to take baby to the appropriate bedtime. Having that extra nap in there can start to cause difficulty getting baby down at bedtime. Ensure you leave enough of a wake window before the bedtime hour.


At this stage, baby is taking some incredible developmental leaps, like sitting up and beginning to crawl. Experimenting with these new skills at sleep time can occur, and thus delay or interrupt sleep. Practice skills during wake times to help get it out of their system and stick to your normal routines to remind them of their sleep expectations.


A typical 6–7-month-old should get about 12-16 hours of total sleep.


8 to 10-Months

  • 12-15 total hours of sleep

  • 3-hours awake time

  • 2 naps a day

  • Bedtime between 7-8pm

  • Common development: Crawling, Standing, grabbing/exploring, heightened awareness

When it comes to scheduling, you can expect sleep to look similar to the previous stage, yet down to two firmed up naps a day, and about 3-hours of wake time between them.


If your baby is still feeding in the night, you can discuss with your pediatrician if night feedings can be removed, shifting the calorie intake to strictly daytime feedings. Commonly at this stage, babies can sleep 10-12 hours at night.


Common skill development at this age is big! By 8-months, most babies can roll in both directions, so if your baby is younger and you are patiently awaiting the 'both way roll', you can rest more easily knowing it will get there. You may now see baby crawling, pulling themselves up to stand and grasping items. Baby is much more aware and looking to explore. This can all be a distraction when it comes to sleep. Keep the activity coming in the daytime hours and try your best to be consistent with sleep routines. Don’t stress too much on the days where baby seems to play instead of sleep, this can be just skill practice – move bedtime earlier for a few days if naps are interrupted.


11 to 12-Months

  • 12-14 total hours of sleep

  • 3.5-4 hours awake time or stick to a set schedule

  • 2 naps a day

  • Bedtime between 7-8pm

  • Common development: Standing, communicating, balance and coordination, separation anxiety

If you got through the last stage with flying colours, then you will find this stage pretty similar. Except, wake times increase again, as our older babies can withstand more sleep pressure to get through the day and to night. However, with this increase, depending on the length of nap your baby takes, you may be best suited to a more set schedule, since four hours between sleep might not work in getting your child to bed at an early hour. So, naps might work best as 10:30am and 3pm, and baby is down for bed between 7-7:30pm.


At this age, I still recommend 2 naps a day. Daycare parents, you may feel inclined to move to one nap very shorty. Try to have a chat with your daycare provider to see you if you can stick to the two naps at 12 months. It does happen where babies transition to one nap at this age, but it isn’t common, and I recommend it more between 13-18 months when your baby might be more ready. If you do need to make the transition, give it time to sort out and put baby to bed earlier while it does.


The new skills at this age can cause some interruption with sleep so keep at your routines and give baby lots of practice time in the day. Separation anxiety can present itself at this time and as early as 9-months. Your little one will be more aware that you are leaving the room and will be missing you. Take in all those extra cuddles at wake time and during those quality bedtime routines and try not to create any habits of lying with them or holding them to sleep if you want to maintain their independent sleep through this age.


My closing piece of advice when looking back on year one, is to remind yourself that change is inevitable. There is so much of it when our babies are little, from one month to the next they can go from a cute squishy buddle to a chattering rolling machine. So embracing it and making the necessary adjustments to your routine, lifestyle or simply your expectations, can help you manage any sleep interruptions that occur along the way.


If you find yourself struggling with your little ones sleep and you not only want it solved (I can definitely do that for you), but you want to adopt a clear schedule that works and you want to understand how to make better decisions around sleep once your child is sleeping well, we must chat! Book a free 15-minute sleep assessment call to share where you are at with sleep and see how I can help you achieve the above.








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