How Long Should My Baby Sleep?

One of the most common questions that new parents will ask their pediatrician is how long should their baby sleep. The fact of the matter is that a baby’s sleep patterns don’t match up with an adults. It’s not really an intuitive thing to predict how long your little one will want to slumber.

Of course, babies are all different, too. Some will need a lot more sleep than others. However, depending on your baby’s age, there are some rules of thumb you can follow to figure out how long to expect your baby to sleep:

  • Newborns. When your baby is first born, she’ll probably seem to sleep just about any time you’re awake, and wake up just about the time you want to try to fall asleep. The main thing with newborns is to not expect them to sleep through the night right away. That usually doesn’t happen until sometime between 6 weeks and 3 months of age. Your newborn will sleep somewhere between 16 and 20 hours each day.
  • 1 to 3 months. Sometime during this stage, you can expect your baby to sleep through the night. She’ll probably sleep 8 hours at night in one long stretch, and then another 8 hours on and off during the day.
  • 3 to 6 months. Your baby’s nighttime sleep will increase to about 10 hours a night at this stage, and your baby’s daytime sleep will start to drop to between 3 and 5 hours.
  • 6 to 9 months. Nighttime sleep should hit around 11 hours at this age. You can expect daytime sleep to fall to somewhere between 2 and 3 ½ hours.
  • 9 to 12 months. Your baby’s nighttime sleep will stay steady somewhere around 11 hours, and daytime sleep should drop by about half an hour from the earlier period.

After one year, things really start to be more individualized. Night time sleeping will be around 11 to 12 hours a night, and drop by a little every six months or so until your child levels off at around 10 hours a night at the age of three or so. Daytime sleep can vary widely, with most kids needing about a 1-2 hour nap well into their threes.