How Long is My Baby Supposed to Be Sleeping?
When your baby comes home from the hospital you may surprised at how often your new infant sleeps, or how little. Parents frequently have unrealistic expectations regarding baby sleeping patterns and as a result worry if their baby is getting enough rest, or not enough. As a result, many parents ask their pediatrician for some guidelines as to how long their baby should be sleeping each and every day. The following is an overview of what is considered a normal sleeping schedule for infants, 6-9 month old babies, and toddlers.
In general, babies of all ages should sleep a minimum of 13 hours per day and a maximum of 18 hours per day, of course depending on how old the baby is. These sleeping hours include all nighttime rest as well as daytime naps. You will be surprised at the varying length of naps your baby takes from 20 minutes to three hours throughout the day. Some babies sleep more, others sleep less, and daily circumstances will affect how much your baby sleeps as well. As long as your baby is getting at least 13 hours of sleep per day combined with all naps and nighttime sleep then you have nothing to worry about.
Most infants just home from the hospital will sleep a minimum of 14 hours every day and a maximum of 18, more or less. You might think this sounds great, but babies will not sleep this long at one time. Instead, infants will nap throughout the day and night, sleeping multiple hours during the day with several naps and multiple hours at night with other mini sleep sessions as well. This might make you worry if you are not with your baby during the day when infants frequently sleep more. If you think your baby is not getting enough sleep then talk to the daytime caregiver to see if she is getting rest and how much. Most infants need a couple of months to get on a good sleep routine and until then you can expect your baby to sleep odd hours.
As your baby grows you will notice a stronger sleep routine developing and naptimes decreasing. This is because your baby does not need as much sleep as before despite the fact they will still sleep at least 13 hours per day. Generally, babies in this age range sleep more at night and then take a couple of naps each day in the mid morning and mid afternoon. This routine will continue on as your baby grows and around a year and a half you can expect your baby to still sleep at night for many hours and then take a nap in the afternoon. This differs for all babies, but is a general rule of thumb. Finally, as the toddler years approach you may still like the idea of naptime, but your toddler might fight these day naps and prefer to play.
This overview of baby sleep schedules is general and should help give you an idea as to how much sleep your baby needs and how often. However, each and every baby has their own personal sleep needs and personal situation that will regulate sleep patterns so if you are worried about your baby not getting enough or getting too much sleep talk to your pediatrician. After asking a couple of questions your baby’s doctor will be able to let you know if your baby is getting enough sleep or there appears to be a problem.