How Much Sleep Do Babies Need in the First Year of Life?

It is likely that sleep deprivation, frustration, incomprehension of what your little one wants, and other emotions led you to this page in search of the answer to the all important question; how much sleep do babies need? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not as straightforward as parents would want.

How much sleep do babies need when they are born?

how-much-sleep-do-babies-needOn an average, a new born sleeps 16 hours in a day, with many babies sleeping up to 20 hours and many sleeping far less than the average. The characteristic of a newborn’s sleep is that the baby will wake up every few hours for a feed; so usually the baby is getting up out of hunger. It is a rare baby who will sleep through the night within the first month or two of life; if your baby sleeps for 5 hours continuously at night you would be a lucky parent.

In the initial months babies tend to sleep in unpredictable patterns and seem to have no regard for day or night time. Their body clocks need time to adjust to the outside. So while we may know that a baby needs about 16 hours, there is no way of saying when he or she will sleep within the 24 hour day.

How much sleep do babies need from three to six months of age?

Babies still need a lot of sleep, and babies will sleep an average of 15 hours each day until they are about six months of age. However the good news here is the fact that most babies are settled by the time they are about 3 months of age and many will now sleep through the night; even as many as 10 hours of night sleep, waking up for just one feed in-between.

During the day, the baby may have about 3 naps that these may also be reasonably predictable.

How much sleep do babies need between 6 and 9 months?

Babies still need about 14 hours of sleep at this age and will most likely be sleeping well through the night. Most babies tend to have two day time naps rather than three by this age. So if you find that your baby is now wanting to sleep only later in the night, try and see if he is willing to give up one of his day time naps – this could help him get to sleep earlier in the evening and stay asleep for longer.

How much sleep do babies need by 12 months of age?

By one year of age, a baby’s major activity is still sleep and most babies continue to need more than 13 hours of sleep in a day. Many babies may need two daytime naps but some seem to prefer a single, longer day time nap.

It may be all very well to hypothesize about how much sleep do babies need, but it is important to remember that each baby is different and a true individual in their own right; and equally the amount of sleep that they need or don’t need may differ.


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