How Much Sleep Does a Baby Need?
If you have a newborn, you might be familiar with the feeling that your baby sleeps all the time, yet you never seem to get any rest. This is because infants sleep for the majority of the day, but only for periods of two to three hours at a time.
How long babies sleep depends on a variety of factors, including their age, development level and household routines. So what’s normal when it comes to how many hours a baby should sleep? We’ve broken it down by age.
Newborn to six weeks
Newborns sleep around 16 hours a day for two to three hours at a stretch. Most babies have trouble staying awake for more than a few hours at a time.
They will also wake every few hours for a feeding. At this age, a baby’s sleep cycles are shorter than ours, and include more REM sleep to allow for the incredible amount of brain development that’s going on behind the scenes.
Two to four months
By eight weeks, a baby may be able to sleep for three to four hours at a time. You may begin to notice her sleep periods get shorter during the day and longer during the night.
Babies at this age typically still wake up for one or two feedings during the night.
Four to six months
During this phase, babies can sleep for longer stretches at a time, and many will begin sleeping through the night, around eight to ten hours at a stretch. At this age, your baby is capable of learning the difference between day and night, and you should begin to help her understand that nighttime is for sleeping.
You can help her learn to sleep for longer stretches at night by waking her up and putting her down for naps at consistent times each day and keeping her busy while she’s alert and active. Establishing a bedtime routine will also help reinforce that nighttime is when people go to sleep.
Six months to one year
At this age, many babies consistently sleep for a long stretch during the night, with a couple short naps during the day.
If your baby has previously been sleeping through the night, it’s not uncommon for her to begin waking up during the night again, as if she’s regressing. This is completely normal and a sign that her brain is acquiring new skills.
She may be more socially alert, for example, and is waking up in the night looking for your company. Now is a good time for you to help her to learn to put herself back to sleep.
Of course, your baby has her own internal clock that has a lot to do with when and how long she sleeps during the first year of life. What was your experience like? Join the conversation in our Facebook community, Monparents.