At Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby, you probably guessed from our name, we are all about sleep! Specifically, helping you and your child develop a routine from the start that will carry them through the years creating a healthy and balanced sleeping routine that focuses on the right amount of sleep, in the right environment, without dependency on anything other than themselves to sleep soundly.
One of the more popular questions our sleep consultants are asked is “how much sleep should my child be getting during the day?” In this blog, we will focus on just how much sleep each age range should be getting, and what is the right age to eliminate daytime naps.
To understand your specific needs, we encourage you to write down your child’s age, and how often they are sleeping during the day. Are they consistent with a particular nap time, and length? Do they fall asleep at random intervals during the day? Are they taking cat naps in the car or during screen time? All of these instances will help our sleep experts determine whether or not your child should be napping, or if they need to adjust their bedtime routines.
When we talk about newborns, the age we refer to a newborn as is 0 – 15 weeks old, or 3 months.
With newborns, they have two main focus areas: sleeping and eating. They also do not know the difference between night and day until they are about eight to nine weeks old. Newborns sleep a lot, and they sleep whenever they darn well feel like it, and it is best to let them. If you are concerned about their length or lack of sleep, please feel free to contact us. We have wonderful resources that will educate you on newborn sleeping patterns and habits.
The studies performed by the National Sleep Foundation have found that newborns typically sleep between 14 to 18 hours in a 24-hour period. There is not a specific time frame that they sleep in, they could vary in sleep patterns from day to day or week to week. In our years of sleep consulting, we have concluded the average amount of sleep a newborn is receiving is averaging about 15 hours a day.
Keep in mind that every baby is different, and even siblings can vary. If your firstborn slept 13 hours a day, and your newborn is now sleeping 17 hours a day, it does not mean anything other than your new baby likes to sleep more at this age. If you have questions or are concerned, we welcome you to call any one of our sleep consultants anytime. We are always happy to help you.
Not so Newbies
When our newborns are about 16-17 weeks, or around the 4-month mark, we have noticed a pattern of roughly four naps, and the time frame of each nap varies. The first nap of the day is the nap that occurs after they have awoken for the day. If you have read our previous blogs on creating a sleep routine, or if you are already practicing this routine, you will notice a pattern of longer periods of sleep during the night, and more pronounced nap times that are shorter in duration than a longer nighttime sleep pattern.
If you find that your baby is sleeping more than 4-5 hours total of the first three naps, it is beneficial for you to skip that fourth nap or try waking your baby up earlier in the morning.
Too much sleep during the day at this age will start to interfere with their sleep at night. You will notice this if you see your baby waking up too early, being fussy at bedtime or not wanting to fall asleep because they have had too much sleep during the day.
We know, it can get confusing, and our sleep experts are here to help you understand and navigate all these sleep schedules, routines, and training. Along with being tired yourself and navigating life with an infant, sleep schedules and routines are a lot to keep track of.
This is why we encourage sleep routines and training to occur immediately. It will help you, and baby create a repetition of a routine that eases both of you into a pattern that not only helps baby to sleep better as they grow, though also provides an opportunity for you and your partner to create a routine that allows for you to have time to yourselves to spend together after baby is asleep for the night.
A rule of thumb is a four-month-old only needs a total of four hours of nap time a day.
5 to 7 Months
As your baby reaches the fifth, sixth- and seventh-month age, you will notice their nap times start to decrease.
At five months old, you should see around 3.5 hours total of nap time during the day. You can spread these out into three naps at one hour each, or two naps for 1.5 hours each. You will be able to gauge what works best for your baby, and if you are unsure, one of our sleep experts will be happy to help you create a routine or sleep training to best benefit your baby.
At six to seven months, you will start to see the naptime battle begin. You will notice your baby fighting sleep. They are more alert and do not want to miss what is going on around them. Your baby should not need more than two naps, and no longer than three hours total.
This is the age that you can really begin to develop a repetitive pattern and sleep schedule for your baby. It is important to stick to that schedule as much as you can so that your baby is developing a routine that creates a healthy sleep schedule.
One and done!
When it is time for just one nap during the day, your baby is now entering the toddler phase and is roughly 12 to 14 months. The need for a nap usually lasts until your toddler is around 3 to 3.5 years old. Some children will nap longer, and some will stop napping earlier. Your toddler will show you the signs of what works best for them.
This is when it starts to get easier to navigate nap time. Having a nap time that is consistent each day and lasts no longer than 2 to 2.5 hours is sufficient. However, the range that is acceptable is 1-3 hours. Some toddlers may only need 1 to 1.5 hours. Again, there is no reason to worry or stress if your child needs only 1 hour or if they are sleeping the full 2.5. Every kiddo has their own sleep rhythm and what works for your friends’ toddlers is not what works for yours.
Try to not let your toddler sleep longer than the 1.5 hours allotted for the single nap time at this age if you are seeing struggles at bedtime!
No more naps!
By the age of 3 to 3.5, your child should no longer need a nap during the day. Now, this isn’t to say they won’t fall asleep in the car, or after school, or take a cat nap here or there. Especially when starting pre-school, or after a long day of activities. There are so many new things in their lives and often it tires them out. These little cat naps are not an issue as long as they do not become a habit, or they are exhibiting signs of exhaustion.
Keep in mind, your child still needs around 11 to 12 hours of sleep during their nighttime sleep schedule. If they are not able to obtain this, or if they are too sleepy during the day, contact one of our certified sleep experts at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby, we can help you work on a sleep training that is ensuring the correct amount of sleep, or if we need to adjust to accommodate their new daily schedule.
We are always happy to help you and can work with you from virtually anywhere. Send us a message or give us a call!