Reasonable Napping Expectations for Baby

The fact of the matter is that most parents of newborns relish those times when baby goes down for a nap. Those nights of interrupted sleep can be truly draining, and the fact of the matter is that wise parents will take advantage of whatever pockets of time they can find in order to catch a few extra minutes of shut-eye. Having a firm grasp on napping expectations is key if you’re going to keep your sanity and get what sleep you can.

Here’s what you can expect during those first couple of years in terms of your baby’s sleep patterns and napping expectations:

  • For the first couple of months, babies’ sleep patterns will be very unpredictable. Babies may sleep anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. They may sleep for several hours at a time, but not always during the nighttime. They’re probably going to be awake for about one to three hours at a time.
  • From the ages of three months to about 11 months. You can expect your baby to have between two and four naps each day, and each will last between about 30 minutes and two hours. This schedule will shift noticeably when you baby stops nighttime feedings (usually around six months). By the age of 9 months, about ¾ of babies will sleep through the night, and establish more routine naps.
  • From the ages of one to three years, you can plan on your baby sleeping, overall, about 12 to 14 hours each day. At this stage of the game, your child is likely to still be napping, and naps are still beneficial at this point. Your baby will probably nap in the afternoon, and that nap will probably last for between one to three hours. If you put your baby down for a nap too late in the day, it can also interfere with his ability to fall asleep at bedtime.

Keep in mind, of course, that every baby is different. Your baby may take fewer or more naps than another child of the same age, and even children within the same family often establish different napping patterns.