It’s important to recognize that as babies grow, their sleep patterns grow and change with them. In order to establish the best foundation for your baby to build healthy sleep habits, you must first be aware of what to expect during their first year of life. It’s common for first-time parents not to know exactly how much rest their little ones should be getting. At Sleep Shop, we are extremely educated in this matter and can help you understand exactly what your baby needs during these beginning periods. In this article, we are going to break down how long your baby should sleep depending on their age and what you can expect during these priceless growing periods.
The National Sleep Foundation states that a newborn should be sleeping between 14-17 hours in a 24 hour period. However, some newborns can sleep up to 19 hours per day. With that being said, at this stage in their life, newborn babies need to be fed often. You should be feeding them every 2-4 hours depending on whether they are being breastfed or bottle-fed.
It’s normal for your baby to not have any type of sleeping pattern during the first few weeks, as they are even still trying to establish the difference between night and day. Patience is key during this time, but you may be able to help them along by doing things such as dimming the lights at night and keeping their sleeping area very quiet. It’s also important that at this stage, you don’t try to keep your baby up during the day so that they can sleep better at night. Since your baby is already supposed to be sleeping a majority of the day, allow them to take frequent naps. Newborn babies that aren’t receiving enough sleep during the day can actually have more difficulty sleeping through the night. Make sure you also know how your baby should be sleeping. You want them to have a firm, comfortable surface to sleep on with no added toys or other hazards that could be dangerous.
Here are some more tips to help your baby sleep comfortably and safely:
● Use a pacifier: Pacifiers can be a great way to soothe your baby just make sure it’s not attached to anything such as clothing or a toy.
● Have them sleep on their back
● Make sure the room temperature is comfortable for your baby to avoid overheating
● Don’t add anything to their crib such as toys or a blanket
● Use a swaddle
At the age of 3-6 months, babies should be sleeping around 12-16 hours per day. Various babies have different sleep patterns at this age. They might sleep for 2-3 hours off and on throughout the entire day or they might just take 2-3 naps during the day and sleep for 8 hours solid through the night. This is the time where you can really start learning their cues to help shape their sleep patterns. Recognize when they are hungry or tired and try to respond accordingly.
At this point, your baby should start putting together when it’s daytime and when it’s nighttime. To help encourage that understanding, make sure you are being active and playing with them during the day so they know this is the time to be awake and have fun and be excited. Then towards the evening times, it can be helpful to make their last feed rather boring and start to settle things down so they associate nighttime as the time to wind down and recharge. If you want to do a mid-night feed, try to keep them as calm as possible so it’s easy to put them right back to sleep after you finish feeding them.
It can also be helpful to make sure you aren’t always feeding them in order to put them to sleep. This could possibly lead to them being too dependent on their last feed and they could have trouble later down the line falling asleep comfortably.
According to Medlineplus, between the ages of 6-9 months the average baby sleeps for
about 10-12 hours per day. They should also be napping throughout the day. During a baby’s
first year of life, their naps could last anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on
their needs and yours. Your baby could also be struggling with separation anxiety at this point in
time, especially if they are no longer sleeping in your room with you during the night. It’s
recommended that a good way to help them through that is to calmly talk to them or rub their
back or head until they calm down. Do not take them out of their bed when you are comforting
them during their fussy moment. Those techniques can help them relax without giving them too
much attention and lead to them forgetting that it’s bedtime.
9 months-1 year
At 9 months to 1 year your little one should be sleeping 8-10 hours per night and napping around 2 times per day. Your baby should not need a mid-night feeding at this point.
However, it still can be common that your baby wakes up once or twice during the night. This
could be when you start allowing them to self-soothe and overtime they will eventually be able
to sleep through the entire night uninterrupted.
It can be more common for sleep problems to start showing up during the second half of their first year of life. This could be due to all of the growing and changes that they are going through as they start to develop. At this point, you should try and begin to establish a regular bedtime routine for your baby. For babies that really have a hard time falling asleep, it can be great to try different soothing activities for your baby leading up to bedtime, such as a warm bath or calming music.
How we can help
If you are trying every technique under the sun and are still having a difficult time getting your
baby to fall asleep, it may be time for you to hire a sleep consultant. Sleep consultants are
infant and toddler sleep specialists that can help families get their nights back to normal by
providing remote or in-home sleep training. Sleep Shop is staffed with many well-certified sleep
consultants. We have made it our mission to spare as many families from the stress of staying
up all night by sharing our tried and true techniques honed through study as well as years of
personal experience. We tailor our techniques to each individual family’s unique parenting style
and goals so that we can restore your peace of mind. The first few months of parenthood
should be an enjoyable experience for mothers and fathers. We want to make sure that
happens for you!
About Sleep Shop
The Sleep Shop is led by Melissa, a mother of four, and is a member of the International
Association of Professional Sleep Consultants.
We offer one-on-one unlimited consulting, sleep classes with our founder, phone consultations,
1-week jumpstarts, infant sleep guides, 2 weeks of consulting, toddler nap guides, toddler sleep
guides, toddler total resets, and “the toddler tune-up”.
We offer sleep consulting services in all of New York City including Manhattan, Brooklyn,
Queens, the Flat Iron District, Turtle Bay, Tribeca, Upper East Side, Soho, Staten Island, and the
greater NYC area.
Contact us today to learn more.