If you’re a new parent and the sleepless nights are bringing your tired fingers to the computer in search of some help, look no further. Learn about the different sleep pattern changes you can expect your baby to go through as they develop. By understanding these sleep patterns, you’ll be able to prepare for when you can expect less or more sleep as your baby continues to grow.
Your newborn is used to sleeping on their own schedule in the womb. This means they may get their days and nights mixed up outside the womb. Each baby is different, but more likely than not, they’ll stay awake only for 45 minutes before sleeping again. Sleep-wise, expect them to get 14 to 17 hours of shut-eye a day.
At the 3-month mark, your baby will begin to sleep less, closer to 14 or 15 hours a day. This equates to three naps a day of around 2 hours each. At this point, they may wake up only one time during the night. If they seem to be waking up too often, reevaluate their nap schedule. Consider an investment in a baby sleeping bag and a white noise machine to help them transition to a consistent nap schedule.
6 to 9 Months
Congratulations! By 6 months, your baby’s sleep pattern should more closely resemble yours. This is a big milestone. Most 6-month-olds sleep 12 to 13 hours a day. The longest stretch of sleep should be at night. During the day, they should have up to two naps ranging between 1 and 2 hours long.
At around 9 months, many babies develop a bit of separation anxiety, so putting your baby down to sleep can become a little more difficult. If it’s safe to do so, try to take them on a car ride or rock them in a rocker before putting them down on a safe sleep surface for their nap.
12 Months and Up
Once again, 12 months is a big milestone. Pat yourself on the back for making it past the sleep deprivation phase! At this point, your baby will likely sleep through the night entirely and take only one or two naps a day. Because they require less sleep at this age, they may sleep only 8 hours a night. However, some one-year-olds still sleep for 12 hours a night.
Every baby is different, which means their sleep schedules are different, too. However, these four sleep pattern changes are fairly common and to be expected. By mentally and physically preparing for them, you’ll set up yourself and your family for success!