How Much Should a 6-12 Month Infant Sleep?

Most parents have gotten into a good pattern by the time their baby is 6-12 months old. However, baby sleep patterns change a lot and generally in the 6-12 month range baby will sleep the most at night and then need a morning and afternoon nap.

There are some babies this age that can sleep through the night. Others will wake because they are hungry. That’s why it’s a good idea to feed baby just before going to bed to ensure they have a full belly. At six months of age about half of the babies will be sleeping through the night while the other half wakes up one or more times. Many times babies will wake up when they cycle through light sleep, but roll over and go back to sleep. If they wake up and are hungry, cold, scared, uncomfortable, or just unsettled they will cry for you. That’s why babies that usually sleep through the night may cry out sometimes. Babies can also get in the habit of waking up at night.

Parents should keep in mind that sleeping through the night does not mean sleeping for 12 hours straight. That would be amazing and new parents would certainly be more rested. However, sleeping through the night usually refers to sleeping five to six hours straight. When put in this perspective most parents will realize their baby is indeed “sleeping through the night” even if it is not as long as parents hope for. Unfortunately, there is no magic age when babies just start sleeping for longer stretches. In fact, but the toddler years 40% of 2 and 3 year olds still wake once or twice per night. Some will wake more and some will not wake at all.

Dealing with night waking depends on the family. Each family should respond to sleep in the best way for them, not necessarily the best way for friends, family members, or what the books say. Some families choose to co-sleep finding that it reduces the number of times baby wakes at night. Other parents find that sharing their room, with baby in his own crib or toddler bed, works better. Still other families prefer to have their baby/toddler sleep in a separate room. There is no right or wrong way to sleep, just make sure that the baby is safe during sleep and there are no loose blankets, pillows, toys, or anything that could suffocate him.