When I had my first baby, at first, I felt like he was sleeping all the time. I actually began to worry that he might be sleeping too much. But growing is a lot of work and it takes a lot of sleep to make up for that! Of course, it’s time for me to to drop that ever-present phrase, “Every baby is different”. But, here’s a basic idea of what you can expect at every stage for your child’s sleeping habits.
Newborn - 2 Months
Total Sleep: 16-18 hours
At this age, there isn’t much difference between nighttime sleep and naps. Your baby will sleep for 2 to 4 hours, waking to eat whenever he is hungry. It is not rare for a newborn to only be awake for an hour at a time at this age.
2 – 4 Months
Total Sleep: 14-16 Hours
(9-10 hours at night, plus 3 naps)
You should be expecting your baby to sleep longer at night (maybe waking up only once to eat) and to develop a regular nap schedule. If your baby is still not sleeping through the night, try exposing her to more sunlight during the day. Our bodies are programmed to be awake during the day and sleep during the night, so letting her experience more day, can trigger her to sleep better at night.
4 – 6 Months
Total Sleep: 14-15 hours
(10 hours at night, plus 2-3 naps)
Babies are usually ready to sleep through the night by this age and do not require a nighttime feeding. But in reality, research shows only about 60% of babies really are sleeping through the night at this age, so if yours is not, don’t worry. Just develop a routine that helps them to get back to bed quickly. Don’t turn on too many lights or fire up the tv – just sit in a quiet dark space and gently rock him back to sleep. It will help your baby to learn how to sooth himself so eventually, he will put himself back to sleep.
6 – 12 Months
Total Sleep: 14 hours
(10-12 hours at night, plus 2 naps)
For the most part, your baby is going to be sleeping through the night. Of course, with teething in the picture now, you might notice a few extra wake-ups during those few days when new teeth are pushing through. Another thing you might notice – no longer does your baby wake up with soft coos and babbling. Now, it’s full out scream mode from the moment they wake up. Take it as a compliment. Your baby has become attached to you, and at this age, is aware enough that you are not around when they wake up. Their cries are a sign of their growing separation anxiety when they cannot see or hear you. So, set the coffee pot to automatic, because there may be no more slowly drifting out of bed in the mornings with the volume steadily increasing on your baby alarm.
12 – 24 Months
Total Sleep: 13-14 Hours
(11 hours at night, plus 1-2 naps)
Eventually, your baby will drop her morning nap, and just take one nap in the afternoon. Try not to let her sleep too long or too late, or it may interfere with bedtime. Bedtime can also be hard for an active or excited toddler that just wants to spend time with mommy or daddy at the end of the day. Now is the time to really stick to your bedtime routine (bath, story, bed, etc.) to make sure she is ready to fall asleep by the time she hits the pillow.