Babies need a LOT of sleep!
By Angela Wilson
Certified child sleep consultant, MA Natural Sciences Cambridge University and co-founder of Baby Smiles Club
Babies need a LOT of sleep! The National Sleep Foundation in the US recommends that a baby gets the following amount of sleep in a 24-hour period:
- 0–3 months old: 14–17 hours
- 4–11 months old: 12–15 hours
- 1–2 years old: 11–14 hours
That’s a huge amount of sleep. And it’s important that they get it – they need it for their growth and development.
Easy, you think – my baby will happily sleep away for hours at a time! Reality check – this is a physical impossibility as babies need to feed around the clock.
Babies have small stomachs, and milk is easily digested, which is why they need to feed so frequently.
Your baby NEEDS to nap!
Putting this together means that in order to get all the sleep that they need in a 24 hour period, babies need to take daytime naps as well as sleeping at nighttime. As a baby grows, they consolidate their sleep to sleep more at night, and less in the daytime.
A baby will go from taking several naps a day as a newborn, to three naps, then two naps at around 6–8 months old, and eventually dropping down to one nap sometime from one year old.
If your baby isn’t getting enough sleep
Now if your baby isn’t getting anywhere near this amount of sleep, don’t just think ‘well that’s just how my baby is’ and ‘you’ll get just through this stage’. And that’s for a few reasons:
- Firstly, your baby needs to get good sleep for their physical growth and mental development. Did you know that a baby’s brain doubles in size in their first year?
- Secondly, if you don’t fix things now, you’re more likely to end up with a toddler with sleep issues. And this can be even harder to fix!
- Thirdly, you’ll become exhausted yourself. We cover why sleep is so important for you in another article, but one reason is that a mother who is sleeping badly is more likely to suffer from postnatal depression.
Our Baby Sleep Program explains how to help your baby get all the sleep that they need. This includes suggested times for naps and bedtime. And MUCH more! Our Program is founded on the most up-to-date science about how babies sleep, and designed to foster and strengthen the parent-child bond.