How Much Do Babies Sleep? A Sleep Schedule for Your Baby’s First Year

The arrival of a newborn brings immense joy and excitement, but it also ushers in a period of significant adjustments, particularly when it comes to sleep. As new parents, you may find yourself bewildered by your baby’s seemingly unpredictable sleep patterns, leaving you wondering when and how much your little one should be sleeping. Fear not, for this comprehensive guide will walk you through the intricacies of infant sleep, providing a detailed sleep schedule for your baby’s first year.

Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule: Year One

All parents want their infants to sleep well, but many don’t know the nitty-gritty details needed to achieve great baby sleep. They want to know: How long will my baby nap? What time should my baby go to bed? How many hours of overnight sleep can I realistically expect from my baby? When will my baby sleep through the night? How does a baby’s sleep schedule change over time?

The reality for many—if not most—babies is a bit of a roller coaster, complete with happy victories and frustrating regressions. However, there are some reasonable expectations you can have for your baby’s sleep, and those expectations include common zigs and zags that many babies experience during the first year. While this first-year sleep schedule works for many little ones, remember that each baby is unique, and sleep schedules can vary widely.

Baby Sleep Schedules by Age

Baby Sleep Schedules by Age

Here’s how much you can expect your baby to sleep by age, along with typical nap and bedtime routines.

Baby Sleep Schedule Chart

Age RangeTotal SleepDaytime SleepNighttime Sleep
0- to 2-Month14 to 18 hours6 to 8 hours8 to 10 hours
2- to 4-Month12 to 16 hours4 to 6 hours8 to 10 hours
4- to 12-Month12 to 16 hours3 to 5 hours9 to 11 hours
  • Breastfed newborns wake about every 2 to 3 hours, and formula-fed babies do so roughly every 3 to 4 hours.
  • About 62% of 6-month-olds can sleep in 6-hour stretches at night; 43% sleep for 8-hour stretches.

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0- to 2-Month Sleep Schedule

Total Sleep for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds: These teeny babies sleep 14 to 18 hours a day. During the first months, babies sleep in bits and pieces, waking throughout the day to feed. In the early weeks, you can expect your little one to fuss from hunger 10 to 12 times a day.

Wake Time for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds: Your baby’s day usually starts around 7 am.

Napping for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds: Your wee sleepyhead will take lots of little naps—totaling up to eight hours a day. A newborn’s daytime wake/sleep cycle is 45 to 60 minutes of awake time, then one to two hours of napping.

Bedtime for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds: Babies this age often go down around 10 pm.

Nighttime Sleep for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds: Your baby will drift on and off throughout the night, punctuated by occasional feedings. Remember, breastfed babies this age often wake to eat about every 2 to 3 hours, and formula-fed babies wake about every 3 to 4 hours. This is 100% normal and to be expected.

Sleep Tips for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds:

  • Activate Baby’s calming reflex: White noise, swaddling, and motion work wonders starting from the first day of life to help babies sleep better, naturally. These sleepytime helpers are all integral parts of the 5 S’s for soothing babies and helping them sleep.
  • Consider SNOO: SNOO—the smart bassinet developed by Happiest Baby—provides responsive white noise, motion, and swaddling, helping babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer without keeping them asleep when they need to eat.

2- to 4-Month Sleep Schedule

Total Sleep for 2- to 4-Month-Olds: Babies this age are still sleeping a ton, usually around 12 to 16 hours of ZZZs a day.

Wake Time for 2- to 4-Month-Olds: Your little one will most likely wake up a little earlier now. Most babies this age start their day around 6 am.

Napping for 2- to 4-Month-Olds: When babies first emerge from newbornhood (between 2 and 4 months), they settle into two to three daily naps, totaling 4 to 6 hours of sleep.

Bedtime for 2- to 4-Month-Olds: Lights out shifts a bit earlier, with most babies going down around 9 pm.

Nighttime Sleep for 2- to 4-Month-Olds: Babies are able to sleep a little longer now, but they still wake for a feeding or two. Longest unbroken sleep can range from around five hours to up to eight hours.

Sleep Tips for 2- to 4-Month-Olds:

  • Tweak naptime: Once your baby is 2 months old, gently wake them up if their morning or afternoon nap stretches over 1.5 to 2 hours. Long naps mean less daytime eating, making babies hungrier at night.
  • Try a dream feed: Consider adding a dream feed to your nightly routine to help delay Baby’s night-waking. Gently rouse your baby (without fully waking them) right before you go to bed (between 10 pm and 12 am) to feed one more time before you turn in for the night.
  • Assess swaddling: At 2 to 3 months of age—or when your baby learns to roll—it’s time to stop swaddling. Without the swaddle, your baby may startle more, roll more, and wake many times a night. Use white noise as a sleep cue for all naps and nights.

4- to 12-Month Sleep Schedule

  • Total Sleep for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Your growing baby often clocks 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day.
  • Wake Time for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: The day starts between 6 and 8 am for babies between 4- and 8-months old, depending on your baby, of course!
  • Napping for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Babies this age may still be eking out three naps a day or they may have settled into a comfortable two-nap schedule, totaling 3 to 5 hours of sleep a day.
  • Bedtime for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Night-night often starts around 7 to 9 pm.
  • Nighttime Sleep for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Your baby may have unbroken sleep of 6 to 10 hours, which most anyone would call “sleeping through the night!

Sleep Tips for 4- to 8-Month-Olds

  • Continue with the 5 S’s: At around 4 months old, your baby’s natural calming reflex fades, but introducing white noise during the bedtime routine can help your baby associate it with sleepytime.
  • Help with teething: Teething commonly starts between 4 to 6 months and can disrupt sleep. Loud, rumbly white noise can help your baby tune out distractions like teething pain.
  • Make your crib transition go smoothly: Around 6 months, many parents decide to move their babies to their own room and crib. Follow these tips to make the transition smooth.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 8 to 12 Months

Baby Sleep Schedule: 8 to 12 Months

Total Sleep for 8- to 12-Month-Olds: By the time your baby hits 8 months, they should be snoozing between 12 to 16 hours a day.

Wake Time for 8- to 12-Month-Olds: The day often starts around 6 to 7 am for these tots.

Napping for 8- to 12-Month-Olds: Your little one will likely still be taking two naps a day. Some babies may nap for brief 30-minute periods, while others may nap for up to 2 hours at this age.

Bedtime for 8- to 12-Month-Olds: Night-night often falls somewhere between 7 and 9 pm now.

Nighttime Sleep for 8- to 12-Month-Olds: Your baby’s longest stretch is likely a glorious 7 to 10 hours a night.

Sleep Tips for 8- to 12-Month-Olds:

  • Tackle hunger: If hunger seems to be causing night wakings, add extra fat to evening feeds (avocado, olive oil, or butter mixed into baby food). Ensure your child is getting enough breastmilk or formula during the day.
  • Offer extra pacifiers: Placing a few extra pacifiers in their crib can provide comfort and self-soothing when they need it.
  • Consider a nightlight: While a dark bedroom is important for sleep, sometimes a nightlight positioned away from the sleep space can help an older baby feel more comfortable when waking up.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 12 Months

Baby Sleep Schedule: 12 Months

Total Sleep for 12-Month-Olds: At 1 year old, most babies sleep 12 to 16 hours in a full day’s cycle.

Wake Time for 12-Month-Olds: Rise and shine often occurs between 6 and 7 am.

Napping for 12-Month-Olds: Your little one is likely still clocking two naps a day, totaling two to four hours. (FYI: Most babies drop the second nap between 12 and 24 months.)

Bedtime for 12-Month-Olds: Now your “big kid” will be hitting the hay between 7 and 9 pm, early enough for the grownups to get some alone time.

Nighttime Sleep for 12-Month-Olds: The longest sleeping stretch for 12-month-olds usually averages 7 to 10 hours at night.

Sleep Tips for 12-Month-Olds:

  • Communicate differently: Communicating with kids this age requires a whole new set of tools and expectations. Explore the ins and outs of “Toddler-ese” and bedtime sweet talk to make bedtime easier.
  • Offer a lovey: You can now introduce a lovey to your tiny tot! Loveys offer toddlers much-needed comfort, confidence, and security.
  • Be flexible: One-year-olds (and days with 1-year-olds) can be unpredictable. If your bub is a two-naps-a-day kid but only got one, offer an earlier bedtime on those days. Consider lengthening your tot’s wake window between naps before rushing to a fixed one-nap-a-day schedule.

Final Thoughts on Baby Sleep Schedules

Every baby is different, so your little one’s schedule might vary slightly from the ones outlined above. However, if you’re armed with the right information and resources, you should be snoozing sweetly in no time!

Remember to be patient, observant, and adaptable as your baby’s sleep needs evolve. Recognizing your baby’s sleepy signals, establishing consistent routines, and creating a conducive sleep environment can go a long way in promoting healthy sleep habits. Embrace the journey, celebrate the victories, and know that even the most challenging sleep setbacks are temporary phases.

By understanding the common patterns and misconceptions surrounding infant sleep, newborn sleep, baby bedtime, baby sleep routines, infant sleep patterns, and baby sleep development, you’ll be better equipped to navigate this exciting and sometimes exhausting period. With realistic sleep goals, practical tips, and a willingness to adjust to your baby’s individual needs, you’ll be well on your way to fostering a well-rested and happy family.

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