Sleeping Baby: Average Sleep Duration

A sleeping baby may wake up after a short nap feeling completely refreshed, or s/he may be cranky even after a five hour sleep. How much sleep your baby needs depends upon many factors which we will discuss here.

Do not expect an uninterrupted 9 hour sleep if your baby is just a couple of weeks old. A sleeping baby may wake up multiple times during the night. However, as the baby grows older he (and hence you) start to enjoy a longer duration of sleep.

0 3 Months:

If you have a newborn or a baby who is less than three months old, expect your baby to sleep a lot, though this sleep may be interrupted by demands of milk or suckling from time to time. An average infant sleep is usually somewhere between 15 to 18 hours a day. But this sleep is not a continuous one; obviously the little one requires constant feed, breast or bottle. Your sleeping baby's snooze intervals may be for 4-5 hours maximum, and during that time you can either sleep or finish up your chores. You must wake your newborn up after every 3 hours to offer feeding, in case he doesn't wake up on his own.

If the newborn baby cosleeps with you by sharing the bed with you and your partner, he may wake up with every movement or sound of his parents. 

Swaddling works magic for a sleeping baby.

Many experts believe that swaddling in the first month may help your sleeping baby in getting a longer and sounder sleep as it gives your baby a sense of security. Massages work magic too!

36 Months:

By now, your sleeping baby generally takes 15 hours a day in which 9-10 hours constitute his night time sleep. You also do not have to get up after every 2 hours to feed your little one so things are now starting to get better for you. If you have shifted your baby to crib/ cot, there may be a slight disturbance in his sleep patterns but once he makes a habit of sleeping in his crib, he will find the cot very soothing and comfortable. Make sure you read our article on buying the right crib for your baby for some detailed crib and mattress specifications, and also make sure you check if the nursery is safe for him.

During the 3-6 months' time, your baby normally starts to pop out a couple of teeth and this might be a painful and sleep-depriving process – both for you and your baby. Check out our article on Sleep and Teething to help your little one cope these painful days. 

Different mothers tackle newborn sleep problems differently. Many mothers will tell you to give some semi-solids at night to ensure longer sleep duration of your little one. Many will tell you that feeding a thicker consistency of formula milk at night will ensure a sleeping baby to wake up late. Though the thought of your baby’s sound sleep sounds really tempting, yet it is not a good idea to introduce solids before 6 months, or to experiment with the formula milk. Bottle-milk right before his bedtime (as it takes relatively more time to digest than breastmilk) however works for many moms to ensure your sleeping baby gets a few extra hours in bed.

6 9 Months:

You survived all the late night wake-ups so far. Here is some good news for you: Babies around this age normally start sleeping for a continuous 7 hours – yippee!

On average, babies will sleep for 13-14 hours a day which constitute short naps at day time and long sleep at the night. If you are still having trouble with your baby’s sleep, check out our article on why your baby is not sleeping through the night.

9 – 12 Months:

Congratulations, you are finally there! Your baby will sleep for continuous 10 hours at night, and if you are more lucky than this, 12 hours at night! Most of it depends upon the sleep routine you made through out the months. Click here if you feel your baby is not sleeping as much as he should.

For some babies, co-sleeping helps in a longer duration of sleep at night. Generally, you will find your baby napping for a couple of hours (not more than that) during the day which is a good idea. However, if you feel your baby is very active even at bed time, try reducing the duration or frequency (if more than one) of his day naps. To help you make a nice sleeping routine, read our article on how to manage babies who are up at night and sleep during the day.

A sleeping baby needs to follow a routine.

Every baby is different. Some babies love to sleep while others try to avoid it as much as they can. However, if you make a sleep routine, it will help you big time! Some babies may have problems in sleeping due to colic. Many babies love to hear their mama’s lullabies right before going to bed. Whatever it takes, make a routine. Not only will it allow your baby to quickly fall asleep on his bedtime, it will also let you have some precious sleep.

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