How Much Sleep Does a Baby Need (Newborn to 12 Months Old)

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Baby sleeping

Sleep is an important component of a baby’s life especially during the initial months. Babies spend close to 70% of the time sleeping in a day during the first three months after birth. All infants are different and so is their sleeping pattern. Thus, there is no fixed answer to the question how long do newborns sleep. It is important to observe and understand your child’s sleeping pattern and then see if they are getting sufficient sleep.

How Many Hours Of Sleep Does A Baby Actually Need? 

Most babies sleep throughout the day during the first few weeks after birth and wake up only for short periods, mostly when they are hungry. Different infants have different sleeping and feeding patterns and it is very likely that you will have to keep your guard up even during the night hours.

Given below is a table that shows the average newborn baby sleeping hours during the first twelve months after birth:

Age of the baby Sleep hours during the day (Hours) Sleep hours during the night (Hours) Total sleep hours (Hours)
Newborn 8 8 to 9 16 to 17
One month old 6 to 7 8 to 9 14 to 16
Three months old 4 to 5 10 to 11 14 to 16
Six months old 3 11 14
Nine months old 2 to 3 11 13 to 14
Twelve months old 2 to 3 11 13 to 14

 

During the initial three months, it is possible that the baby will wake up frequently in order to satiate hunger, and might not sleep for more than three hours at a stretch. This will change slowly and they will have longer sleeping hours as they grow. Once the baby is three months old, you will be able to see a pattern in their sleep and you can form a routine which will help the baby to sleep early during the night and for a longer period of time.

Sleep Tips

Here are some tips which may help put your baby to sleep easily, based on their age bracket.

1. Sleep for Newborn – 2 Months old Baby:

In the initial months, a baby might twitch arms and legs, smile or frown and make sucking noises. This is due to reflexes which they can’t yet control. Newborns do not know how to soothe themselves and will need the parents to do it for them. Using a pacifier, rocking, cuddling and breastfeeding are some ways in which the baby can be put to sleep.

2. Sleep for 2 – 4 Months Old Baby:

This is the time period when the infants start to settle into a nap routine. Expose the baby to a lot of morning sunlight and allow them to play during the daytime. Initiate a pre bed-time routine such as shower, narrating a story, or feeding before putting the baby to sleep. This will create a pattern for the child and indicate to them that it is now time to sleep.

3. Sleep for 4 – 6 Months Old Baby:

During this period, the baby will start to quit night-time feeding and sleep throughout the night at a stretch. At this stage, most babies will not wake up during the night, and even if they do, they will be able to put themselves back to sleep. A little cuddling or patting will be helpful.

Mother helping baby to fall asleep

4. Sleep for 6 – 12 Months Old Baby:

As the baby starts recognising people and understanding things, they develop separation anxiety. They will know when you are not around and this may cause them to wake up at night and cry. A little bit of pacifying will help calm the baby. They will go back to sleep once they realise that you are around.

Sleeping patterns of all babies are different and there is no fixed answer to the question ‘how many hours do newborns sleep’ as it will differ from one child to the other. However, it is important to know the range of hours which the babies usually sleep for and observe their sleeping patterns. This will let you take corrective action if you observe any abnormality in their sleeping pattern.

Also Read: Baby Sleeping Position – What Is Safe?

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