The Basics about Baby Sleep Patterns

Countless parents get exhausted and frustrated each day, wondering whether their baby sleep patterns will ever get regularized. Parents usually have a lot of questions regarding their baby’s sleep. The one question always asked is how much sleep does a baby need? Here is a general guideline to help answer this question: (see chart below as guideline).

Newborn baby sleep patterns

Newborns usually need to feed and sleep around the clock to develop and grow in the right way, so day and night don’t make much of a difference. Generally, the newborn sleep is around 16 to 20 hours, out of which a newborn usually wakes up out of hunger on intervals of every 2 to 4 hours.

Baby Sleep Patterns

When mothers are breastfeeding, their hormones usually recognize sleep patterns to match the baby’s timings. It is still always better for mums to have naps during the day when the baby is asleep, so as to avoid sleep deprivation. Babies fed with formula tend to sleep longer, but their sleep patterns still mimic those of breastfed babies.

3 Week

Even though 3 week old babies still wake up to eat during the night, they probably sleep for longer stretches like 3 to 4 hours. They also begin to stay awake for longer periods. However, in normal 3 week old baby sleep patterns, babies sleep around 16 to 18 hours out of 24 hours.

2 Months

2 month old babies are just beginning to settle down to the idea of sleep, but still need to wake up to feed during the night. Though baby sleep patterns seem to be more regular at 2 months, the timings also begin to vary a lot. Their rate of “fussiness” also increases, which is normal too because they begin to be awake a bit longer and so tend to cry a lot at late afternoons or evenings.

4 Months

An average 4 month old baby sleeps about 9 to 12 hours each day including 2 to 3 naps as well. 4 month baby sleep patterns are a transition period towards more regular naps of 2 hours. On days when the baby naps twice, he will probably sleep more throughout the night. Most 4 month old babies are usually awake during the day and sleep more during the night. This makes it more important for mums to start sticking to routines to make sure that naps and bedtimes pretty much start happening at the same timings every day.

6 Months

All baby sleep patterns are different. Same goes for 6 month old babies, but they are settled into the idea of sleeping through the night a bit more by now. Average 6 month babies sleep for about 11 hours and settle into a routine of 2 naps. They usually don’t need to be fed so regularly during the night. It becomes more important in 6 month olds to develop more firm bedtime routines, as they are becoming more opinionated around this age. These routines help babies put themselves to sleep and also stay asleep at a stretch.

9 Months

9 month babies sleep about 11 to 12 hours during the night. However, they tend to wake themselves more often during the middle of the night which automatically awakens everyone around due to the high pitch fuss they create. They sometimes tend to sleep back, but often stay up all night long. This becomes quite strenuous for parents. They have 2 naps usually at morning and afternoon which last typically for 1 to 2 hours. No matter how well they nap during the day, they still sleep less at night.

1 to 5 Year Old

By the age of one settling babies down for bed becomes harder, as they are so excited and energetic by their newly found abilities of saying words, moving around and trying to feed themselves on their own. They settle down better at napping for a couple of hours during the day, which reduces to 1 nap around 2 to 3 years of age, and usually with no naps required at age 5. They are more regular at sleeping from 10 to 13 hours without many disturbances during the night, and with almost no night time awakenings.

Some babies are regular long sleepers whereas some are not. Baby sleep patterns always vary depending on the age and circumstances of every baby.