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Baby Sleep: What is Normal?

White picket fence, green grass, and blue skies.

You’re so tired you forgot to put on underwear. There seems to be dried curry on your pants but that can’t POSSIBLY be right because you haven’t had Indian food in 2 weeks. Is that curry? Your baby just fell asleep in the car and you’re so desperate for a break that you’re going to just drive by your house and take a short jaunt to Canada. Because the minute you stop the car she’s going to wake up. And frankly if that happens you’re going to cry the ugly cry.

All the parenting books say the first year with a baby is spent in a haze of sleep deprivation caused by night feedings, teething, ear infections, etc. The other Moms in your playgroup look equally exhausted and your neighbor is still night-nursing her 5-year-old. So this is all normal. Right?

Is There Normal Baby Sleep?

In a word, yes.

For the first few weeks after birth, baby sleep may be all over the map. They may sleep so much you find yourself wondering why other new mommies seem so tired. Or they may never sleep for more than 45-minute windows leaving you wondering how you can possibly make it through one more night.

Most newborn babies are extra fussy for a few hours in the evening, often from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM. This is known as the “witching hour.” Everybody is exhausted and you can’t even play “pass the cranky baby” because all the people you want to pass the baby to (grandparents, friends, etc.) are at home lounging on the couch thinking about how glad they are not to have a fussy newborn to deal with.

It’s a rough time for everybody and the fussiness and non-sleeping tends to peak at 6 weeks. That doesn’t mean you end up with an easy baby at the 7 week mark but things start to gradually get easier from that point on.

Somewhere between 2 to 6 months your baby will consolidate their naps. This means that instead of taking 4-5 tiny naps throughout the day they’ll take ~3 chunky (45+ minute) naps. However regardless of the configuration of their naps (many small vs. few longer) the total amount of time they spend napping and the total hours of sleep at night should be close to the targets outline in the chart below.

Baby Sleep: How Much, When, How Long

Age # Naps Duration of Naps Time Between Naps Bedtime Hrs of Sleep @ Night Total Hrs of Sleep per Day
Birth – 6 Weeks 4-8 15 minutes – 4 hours 45 min – 1 hour Variable but often late 9:00 – 11:00 PM 8-14 14-18 hours
6 Weeks – 3 Months 3-4 30 minutes – 2 hours 1 hour – 1 hour 45 minutes Variable but often late 8:00 – 11:00 PM 8-13 11-15 hours
3-6 Months 3 1-2 hours ~2 hours 8:00 – 10:00 PM 9-12 12-14 hours
6-9 Months 3 1-2 hours 2-3 hours 8:00 – 10:00 PM 9-12 12-14 hours
9-12 Months 2 1-2 hours ~3 hours 7:00 – 8:00 PM 10-12 12-14 hours
12-18 Months 1-2 1-2 hours 3 hours 7:00 – 8:00 PM 10-12 12-14 hours
18 Months – 3 Years 1 1-2 hours NA 7:00 – 8:00 PM 10-12 11-14 hours

Sources: Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, R. Ferber, M.D. & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, M. Weissbluth, M.D.

Keep track of how much your baby is sleeping for a few days. If you’re somewhere close to the numbers in the chart you’re doing OK. If not, maybe it’s time to make a change.

Common Baby Sleep Problems

Baby is Awake Too Long

Use the chart as a guideline. If your baby is awake dramatically longer than what is indicated in the “time between naps” column, she is likely overtired. This is probably the #1 sleep problem that trips up parents with babies under 1. People think babies will simply fall asleep when they need sleep. It would be great if babies worked that way. It would also be great if babies were born knowing how to use the potty. Sadly neither of these is the case.

Baby is Not Getting Enough Sleep

Your baby should not be getting substantially less sleep than is indicated in the “Total Hrs per Day” column. I can’t tell you how often people try to convince me that their baby just doesn’t need that much sleep.

Bollocks.

I’m not saying that helping babies get the sleep they need is easy. Nor am I saying that you should beat yourself up if you’re doing everything you possibly can and your baby isn’t quite getting as much sleep as you would like. But I AM saying that the chart gives you a pretty good idea of how much sleep your child needs. If you’re vastly off the mark, that’s OK. But let’s keep working towards these numbers as a goal.

Bedtime is Too Late

This is the #2 sleep problem people run into. Typically it is caused by two things. The first is that younger babies (under 6 months) tend to take naps late in the afternoon or early evening which means their bedtime is fairly late (9:00PM – 10:30PM). Whey they stop sleeping in the late afternoon their bedtime should be moved up closer to 7:00PM (parents forget this step and keep the original late bedtime). The second cause is that babies generally wake up far earlier than you would like to. Parents will do just about anything to try to get their baby to sleep past 6:00 AM and they often think that keeping them up later at night will do the trick. However generally keeping your baby up late just reduces the total amount of sleep they’re getting and leads to a chronically sleep-deprived baby.


No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap. ~Carrie Snow

Baby Doesn’t Nap at All

If your child is under 3 they almost always need to take a nap. I see parents all the time who have a 2 year old who doesn’t nap who will tell me about how “Little Timmy decided to stop napping just after his 2nd birthday.” Why did Little Timmy get a vote in this decision? Naps are your friend. Even if it seems inconvenient (especially if you have a non-napping older sibling) to maintain a consistent nap schedule with your 2-3 year old preschooler, this is something their little body needs (even if they don’t seem to WANT to do it). Two year old kids are challenging boundaries all day long and are likely to challenge naps as well. Don’t confuse this with a signal that they no longer need a nap.

Baby is Getting Too Much Sleep

I used to believe that there was no such thing as a kid who sleeps too much. In fact I always wanted to be the parent of one of these kids. But I’ve come to learn that some kids who sleep more than expected often have some underlying medical issue that leaves them unusually tired. This is REALLY rare, most often your kid is sleeping longer because you got lucky. If you’re worried, the most frequent causes of sleeping TOO much are sleep apnea and things like celiac disease that hinder your child’s ability to absorb nutrients. Both of which are totally manageable conditions. But if your baby is over 3 months old and seems to sleep far more than what is suggested in the chart, it’s probably time to talk to your pediatrician just make sure everything is OK.

This chart is pretty handy (she pats herself on back) so you may want to download and print out a copy to keep on your fridge for future reference.

DOWNLOAD SLEEP CHART


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315 Comments


  1. Hi Alexis,
    My 17 month old son used to sleep really well. I put him to bed at 7:30 and he would play in his crib for 45 min happily before falling asleep. He would wake at 7:30am and have one nap during the day from 1-3. Now he is a nightmare. He wakes up at 5:45 and refuses to go back to bed. I have no idea what has changed. He looks so tired and he is so crabby.

    • he is not getting enough sleep. you have to make him go back to bed, gently of course. he has to know he can sleep more and doesn’t have to get up because somebody else is or because he sees a light (sun light, hall light, etc.)

  2. Hi Alexis,

    I am a lurker of your site :) Love it!!! Quick question: my son just turned 8 months yesterday. He typically takes a nap about 1.5 hours after he wakes up. However, it is now taking him much longer to fall asleep for that morning nap. I just read everywhere that this is the most important nap of the day bc it’s what prevents him from being overtired the rest of the day. What do you suggest? About how long should an 8 month old be staying awake in the morning before a nap?

  3. Hi! I have a 3 week old who does nothing but sleep! 3 hours total of alertness a day. – can this be normal??!

  4. Hi,
    I’ve been really concerned and a bit worried because when my baby was a new born he didn’t really sleep at all and since 2nights ago he’s had a dramatic change from not sleeping to sleeping all night and waking up till 4am to eat then 7am and sleep all morning and wakes up around 2pm and is awake for 3hrs then back to sleep for hours . Its a big change and I wanted to know if that was normal he is now 8 weeks old.
    Brianna Aguilar recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

  5. Sleep chart – figures don’t make sense.

    I am confused about translating the sleep chart to the reality of my baby. Lets take the 3-6 months entry: 3 naps or 1-2hrs each with ~2hrs between naps, 9-12hrs at night, and a total of 12-14hrs per day. So lets take a baby having 9hrs at night. He should have at least 3hrs of nap time per day. So in the 15hrs of ‘day’ he should fit in 3 naps. Well, those naps are going to be far further apart than 2 hours – more like 4hrs apart. So if a baby is on this schedule, is it ok? He fits the total sleep requirement and number of naps, but spends a long time awake.

    I guess my real question is “whats most important”? Getting the total daily sleep in any pattern? Having long naps with long awake periods, or short naps more often? And I assume that night time sleep isn’t referring to unbroken sleep?

    • I’d like to hear the answer to this as well. My 5 month old started sleeping 12 hours a night at 3 months and immediately started screaming to go to sleep if we had her awake for 1-2 hours of sleep. Then she’d only nap 10-40 minutes. Now were letting her stay awake longer between naps 2:30-3 hours and she doesn’t cry any more but the naps are still short. Sometimes I’ll go in there and rock her back to sleep and she sleep another hour but with out that hour she’s only getting 13 hours of sleep on good days. So what is more important and putting back to sleep after they wake up is that advisable.

  6. Need some advice…I feel like we are going through some inconsistency issues with my 6 month old. Here’s a rough outline of our routine:

    Wake between 6:30-7:30am and feed formula (sometimes a fruit too).
    Play, songs, activities until she has been up for around 1.5-2hrs.
    1st nap, usually starts between 8:30-9:30 and can last for 45mins-2hrs.
    Wake and feed formula and fruit or veggie.
    Playtime, walk, run errands, etc.
    2nd nap starts between 12:30-1:30p..never know how long it will last but I can usually count on 45 minutes.
    Wake and feed formula and fruit or veggie.
    Playtime, errands, etc.
    3rd and final nap is typically a short one and starts anywhere between 4p-5:30pm depending on when she’s ready to go back down.
    Up from catnap no later than 6pm, then it’s playtime again.
    At 7p we start bath and bed routine. She gets her bath, then a bottle, then put down by 8pm at the latest (usually closer to 7:30).
    Dream feed always offered between 10p-11p. Never know when she will take it or refuse it.

    Overnight..used to STTN no problems…last 2 or so months though she has been on/off waking around 2-3am, sometimes at 1am then again at 3am…I never know anymore what I’m going to get. Sometimes she takes a bottle and sometimes I just need to pat her back or rock her back to sleep. Last night for example she cried at 2am..offered bottle, she drank a bit, didn’t even fully wake and went right back out (and then I was up the rest of the night).

    Other things to note…I always try and put her down fully awake for naps. This is hardly ever an issue with her morning nap as she will usually put herself down. After that though, the afternoon naps can be a disaster…again I never know what I’m going to get. Today I tried putting her down awake for her middle nap and she was NOT having it..I had to do pick-up/put down for an hour and finally rocked her for just a few minutes before putting her down to sleep. My husband puts her to bed and he always puts her down in that drowsy but awake state and she always goes right to sleep.

    So I need someone to help me analyze this “routine” we have and see if anything sounds off…is she getting too much sleep during the day? Bedtime too early or too late? I guess my biggest issue is the waking in the middle of the night which she never used to do. She also seems to be refusing the dream feed more often than not and I feel like if I could get her to drink during that, she maybe wouldn’t be waking during the night? I am in unpredictable “routine” hell so all help is appreciated!

    • I will add that for the naps, lately she has not been staying awake a full two hours before getting sleepy. She usually is ready to go down for her nap after being awake for 1.5hrs..sometimes she’s even rubbing her eyes after only being awake for an hour.

  7. Trying to figure out what to do with our seven-month-old’s third nap. He goes down around 8 usually and wakes up around 7-7:30. He gets a dream feed at midnight.

    A good nap will last an hour and a half. He usually falls asleep after about 2.5 hours awake. So he will go 930ish to 11ish, 230ish to3ish Ina good day. But when he has two good naps he almost always skips his last nap. We do his routine and put him in the crib and he just hangs out and babbles happy as a clam for an hour. If he doesn’t have two good naps, then he’ll often go down and we end up having to wake him to feed him and do our nighttime routine. What should we do?

  8. Need help. My daughter who is 5.5 months won’t sleep unless its her nanny rocking her or me nursing her or she’s really tired. My problem is she is on the heavy side and is getting too heavy to be rocked and at the same time she only wants to be rocked while lying down horizontally and only by that particular nanny. She won’t sleep if she’s in a vertical position even with rocking or if rocked by other people. She would actually cry and twist her body around if rocked by other people. Because of this (among other reasons) we want to start sleep training her. We tried putting her down sleepy but awake (w PDPU) but she ALWAYS wakes up and would end up staying awake so we end up giving up all the time. Would you recommend CIO at this point? Im worried that she just might not sleep with CIO.

  9. My baby is 10 months old and we started CIO 11 days ago. So far so good, but recently has has not been taking great naps which causes nights to be semi-sleepless. He has been waking up from his last nap aound 3 and goes to bed at 7:45p. Is this too much of a gap? Also, I have always heard naps no longe rthan 2 hours but if he is sleeping good still, can he nap longer?

  10. My daughter is 6 weeks old and will not sleep At night she is in a swing we have tried everything!! She is full not wet I just don’t no the scary thing is she doesn’t sleep during the day either maybe 45 mins twice during the day what can I do??

  11. OK my 10 week old has finally figured out sleep (mostly) so my question is a little different…

    When to start the day?

    My baby regularly sleeps 7-9 hours after bedtime (which is 10 pm. Have tried for earlier to no avail!) So he’s waking up anywhere from 5am-7am. I have been feeding him and putting him back to bed, and then he’ll sleep another 1-2 hours. Which means sometimes he’s not getting out of bed until 8 or 9. (But it’s getting him 8-11 hours night sleep)

    I don’t mind this, but it has me wondering if I should be waking him up to start the day at a certain time everyday? Or let him sort this out on his own when he’s older?

  12. Hello! I love your site and have been very excited about the results swadding and white noise have given us. The chart indicating normal waketime has been helpful as well. Thank you! Quick question…

    Why, as the days goes on, does it get harder and harder to put baby to sleep, ending in a very difficult bedtime?

    My 7 week old can put down awake for the first nap, second nap a little more work involved, third- more work, fourth even more…and then bedtime…it seems as though any little noise will cause him to stir.

    • Hi!

      I have found what you described as well and just thought I’d offer what I have found browsing/reading various websites, and my own personal experience with my 3 month old. It does get a bit harder to put them down for naps as the day goes on because I think 1. they get more and more tired as the day goes on, so more fussier etc. and 2. their awake windows get a bit longer as the day goes on. I still stick to the general 1 1/2 hr awake window throughout the day, but I notice her sleepy signals come after 1 1/4 hr for her first nap of the day and in the afternoon she can go up to 2 before her last nap (albeit, a little cranky sometimes).

      Also, at 7 weeks, your baby is still really little and sorting lots of things out! I don’t think I even realized I needed to help my baby fall asleep to nap at 7 weeks (blush), I was just letting her fall asleep when she wanted like in the newborn period… which led her to not really nap at all except when nursing, which led her to want to nurse every hour in the afternoon/evening because she was probably chronically tired and that was the only time she could “sleep.” :(

      It sounds like you are already way ahead of the game with your baby with being able to put him/her down awake for even the first nap, so don’t worry too much! You are doing a great job. :)

  13. Afterthought: He is still organizing his sleep and things will get smoother once he is down to 3 or 2 naps?

  14. Hi Alexis/Everyone,

    My 3 month old (15 weeks) would only nap in the ergobaby from about 7 weeks to 12 weeks, by which point, it just STOPPED WORKING (after it had deteriorated gradually). She was napping about 3-3.5 hours (on average) a day in the carrier, which I felt to be too little for a 2 month old, but was resigning myself to as her “pattern.” I was trying to put her to sleep after about 1 1/4 of awake time.

    As things were getting really bad with the carrier situation, I reached out to some other mommy friends and followed a couple of their suggestions and Alexis’ on this site: I found a pacifier that she would finally take, and a portable Fisher Price swing too. (I live in Japan and they are just NOT popular here. Sigh…)

    So now, she is getting swaddled, sucking on her pacifier, listening to white noise blasting, in her swing, with the curtains drawn. And she is napping like gangbusters. She will sleep for 2-2 1/2 hours (I’ve been waking her up at that point) for one nap, and has two of those around 9 and 1 (depending on when she last woke up). Her awake time now is about 1 1/2 hrs. She’ll take a last catnap of 30 min to 45 min around 4:30/5 if she got two good earlier naps in and we start her bedtime routine around 7:30, bath and nurse her to sleep (for now) so that she is asleep by 8 or 8:30ish. She is sleeping around 10-ish hours at night and 5 and a bit during the day, on average, which is great! On paper.

    My problem is that since she’s gotten used to napping in the swing, and so awesomely, her night sleep is turning to crap. :( Before, she was still waking up to nurse once or twice, but would/could sleep between 6-8 hours for that first stretch. But now… last night, for example, she woke up less than every 3 hours. Sigh. I don’t know what to do. Is she still adjusting to the newness of her sleep cycles with the swing and this will even back out??? Is she maybe going through the 3 month growth spurt (but she is not eating all that much at night when she does wake up…)??? I am worried that she is sleeping TOO well and deeply in the swing during the day and getting day and night switched around now… During the day I am waking her up gently after 2 1/2 hours of napping so that she is nursing at least every 3.5 hours because she seems like she could go “forever”/4 hours at least otherwise… And at night she is only sleeping for 2 1/2 hours or less at a time.

    Anyone have any suggestions or advice? My original plan with using the swing for naps was to slowly start turning the speed down (a speed a week?), put it next to her crib (which in my tiny Japanese apartment means the doorway to the bedroom–there is literally no other floor space with my bed and her crib in the room), and then stick her in her crib following the same pre-nap routine… But now I am wondering if I should speed things up, try her crib for her first nap, or change it so she won’t sleep “as well” (leave the curtains open, skip the white noise), so that she will get that night time is for deep sleep and nap time is for nap sleep…

    I have been driving myself nuts about her sleep and nap habits and I’m really trying not to anymore… But it’s really hard! I’m terrified of the whole “putting down drowsy but awake thing” and trying to take it in small steps… Any advice or help would be most appreciated! :)

    • Juanita, First, thanks for your reply! It seems like our little ones, mine now 11 weeks old, have similar daytime sleep habits. My little guy Nate, naps in the swing for morning naps now because he doesn’t get solid naps in the morning. (I have to run my preschooler to various activities and we try to stay busy every morning.) I reserve the afternoon for Nate so he can catch up on any daytime sleep lost in the morning. I have decided to let go and relax about where he sleeps and just be happy that he sleeps. Therefore, if he naps in the infant carrier on the way home from an activity, I let him stay in it and finish his nap. I used to worry about this, and would’ve never done this with my first, but I think it’s important to think bigger picture here. While I do believe it might not be the best way to get sleep, at least it IS sleep. So, from my point of view, I wouldn’t worry to much about getting sleep in the swing, infant carrier, or on a stroll.

      That said, I DO feel that it is important to put down baby awake. Your little one will fuss, but I bet she’ll surprise you. I know mine did. I couldn’t take the sound of fussing with my first, but it now just seems natural to me, to let Nate work it out. I know feel more confident and ‘get’ the cries, which ones are sleepy, because of spit-up, a burp, or discomfort, or which ones need immediate attention. It”s usually just a burp and all I do is burp him and put him back down. I still use white noise because I think it is an easy cue to use and if needed I can travel with it.

      My son, goes down for bed around 8 as well. That is also, after a quick sometimes only 20 minute nap. MOST nights, *knock on wood* he sleeps though until 6 or 7am. Occasionally he’ll wake to eat at 5. I am not positive as to how he is able to do this what I feel is early, but here are my ideas. Maybe some will help you.

      1. Our morning begins with a wake-up time around 7-8am. I do wake him now for the day if needed. So far, I haven’t needed to do this much.

      2. I am careful to watch his hunger signs and feed him as much as he will take at each feeding. I think he needs a certain amount of food each day and if he doesn’t get it, will wake for middle of the night feedings. -this does happen every now and then….remember they are not robots!

      3. I will not let him nap past the 3 1/2 hour mark and we aim to feed every 3 hours. I will keep an open mind however, and watch for signs that he is ready to go longer, watching to see an increase in each feeding, ability to stay awake longer. But the point is, I think it is important to teach daytime verses nighttime sleep. The day is for being awake, eating, playing…night is for sleeping.

      4. No matter where he can get his sleep, he must nap every cycle. Like you said in your comment to me…he is sleepy after only 1 1/4 hours in the morning. As the day progresses, you are right in my case, he can stay awake longer, hence the shorter naps, and cumulative sleepiness- preparation for nighttime sleep. So, he takes 4 naps before bedtime.

      5. Lastly, and what I feel has been the most effective, and this might receive criticism, but here it is. I am flexible with how I put him down. We don’t swaddle anymore, because it just felt wrong to me. Who doesn’t want their arms and hands? So, we back sleep, stomach sleep, whatever works. Stomach sleeping? Works. It did with our first too. It’s how he sleeps when I am holding him, it just makes sense to me. My mind says this is okay even though I know I am going against the current advice of back is best, because my Mom had 6 kids and we were all stomach slept. That said, both of my sons had/have good neck control and I made sure of this before we started doing this. Wake time is especially important after feedings so he can get all of his burps out, be comfortable on his tummy.

      When your little one wakes in the night, have you tried giving her a pacifier? I think by 15 weeks she doesn’t need food, but might be waking for comfort in the middle of the night. Also, you should know that we formula feed. I know my sister, who breast fed all of her children, was feeding around the clock for a while. I do believe breast is best! Good for you. It didn’t work for me.

      I think there is a lot we can do as parents to help our children develop good sleep habits, but I also think it is important to be flexible, relax, and keep your stress level down.

      Good luck! Keep calm and carry on. :)

      Rachel

      • Hi Rachel,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post! It meant a lot to me when I read it last night during one of my LO’s late night nursing sessions. It’s good to feel supported, even by a stranger on-line! :)

        I am going to try to stay strong, calm, and work with her to hopefully get her sleeping in longer stretches at night again, and to tank up during the day as much as possible. She has been super distracted and jiggly during her daytime feeds lately…

        I appreciate you sharing your tips and advice with me. I have been wanting to phase out swaddling, but after watching her first few naps in the swing (without it), she is SO active kicking and flailing her arms around that I thought she still needs it to get to and stay asleep. However, she is getting better at finding her hands and fingers to suck on (and breaking at least one arm out of her SwaddleMe by morning anyway) that I am thinking of trying to let her sleep without it tonight… I am kind of in the “it can’t get much worse” mindset at the moment (she says with trepidation).

        I have also experimented with tummy sleeping for napping (my mom also advocates it), but I think she was just really confused and got exhausted lifting her head up the whole time thinking it was tummy/play time and cried herself into a frenzy. That time she did sleep in her crib for 30 minutes after I flipped her on her back and helped calm her down, but I think just because she had cried herself to exhaustion.

        Anyway. I will keep on keeping on. Thanks again!

  15. Help please! I have a 7 week old baby that REFUSES to sleep. I would say on average he gets 5-8 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I KNOW that is not ok! And I KNOW that he is exhausted (overtired), he screams all day every day :( He has been this way for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried everything it seems but I’d still like some suggestions. How do I help him nap, especially during the day? Preferably without having to use my boob as a pacifier/ sleep aid which is what seems to be the only thing that is working at the moment (I know, I know, all I’m doing is creating a sleep crutch that’s going to be harder to break later on but I’m desperate!)

    • Oh you poor thing. Will he sleep in a sling/baby carrier, i.e. attached to your body and moving around? If so I personally would carry him constantly for a few days, so he can catch up on sleep a bit and not be so terribly overtired. Then try working on this:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/the-ultimate-baby-swing-sleep-guide-for-swing-hating-babies/

      When you have a difficult baby, 6-7 weeks is the hardest. I promise you it will get better! Hang in there and don’t beat yourself up about being a boob pacifier if that’s the only thing you can do at this point. You have lots of time to make changes later when the super fussy stage ends.

  16. Hello,

    My baby is 11 weeks old and her schedule is still all over the place. I’m starting to see a few nap times coming out. I’m seeing some times the same at 11, 1:30 and 3:30. The 3:30 nap is the only long nap lasting from 3:30-5:30. Is this ok? Is it too late of a nap?

    Her schedule is this:
    7:30 up & feed
    8:45nap
    10:30 feed
    11 nap
    1 nap
    1:30 feed
    3 nap – 5 ish
    5 feed
    7 nap (short)
    8 feed & bed between 8-9.

  17. My baby is 9 days old and in the category of “sleeping too much” it’s great and all, really. I almost have to wake him for feedings, then he falls asleep from said feeding. He does wake up and we see those big eyes for a very short amount of time but then he’s out again. He does get a bit fussy at night though, but nothing at all like the nightmare I was told it would be. I usually start to doze off nursing him cause he nurses for sooo long. I was worried at first, but I’ve been doing research and this seems to be normal. He checks out just fine at the pediatrician, has a normal amount of dirty diapers and eats just fine. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones!

  18. My 4-week-old has a semblance of a sleep routine, which I am very thankful for! She is generally fussy from 6 pm-11pm, and goes to bed between 10:30 and 11:30. At night she usually has her first feed at the 3-4.5 hour mark, and then feeds at decreasing time intervals until she wakes up at around 10. She is usually fussy in the morning until she has a nap or a series of short naps in the early afternoon, and her next nap starts somewhere between 4 and 7. She is fussy from about 6pm until bedtime.

    I am supremely grateful that things are getting slightly predictable but the only problem is that a lot of the community baby activities (especially a new moms class I signed up for in a couple weeks) seem to start at 10am. I am leary of waking her early and disrupting her routine lest I end up with terrible nights again or longer fussy periods. But if this continues I will miss out on a lot, and possibly be forced to disrupt her sometimes anyway for things like doctors appointments.

    Suggestions? Should I just let her sleep and schedule around her, waiting for time to make her bedtime and wake up time earlier? Or should I try waking her gradually earlier at this young age?

    • Hello Andrea,

      I am a first-time mom and have a 10 month old daughter. My daughter had similar sleeping patterns like your infant. I work in the medical fields with adults, so no pediatric experience except during my education. I strongly feel that we underestimate the importance of sleep and the need for uninterupted sleep in our society and I feel that infants need any minute they can get to sleep without external interuption until their brain is mature enough to establish a sleep pattern on their own (and only with parents help if they cannot find their own). Babys brains mature and grow during sleep so sleep is essential for their healthy development.

      My daughter had very random sleeping patterns when she was 3 months old but this time passed and starting around 5 months she developed her own sleeping pattern. She goes to bed between 7-8.30pm and sleeps through the night until 7-7.30am since she was 5.5 months old. She takes two naps during the day, one around 10am and one around 3pm.

      I understand as a new mom we want to explore everything and don’t miss out on things we believe are important. I believe our Western society puts new moms under immense pressure and doesn’t acknowledge the fact that mom and baby need a lot of alone time especially in the first few months.
      I therefore decided for myself and my babys health and well-being to let her sleep when she wanted as long as she wanted. I didn’t attend any mommy or baby classes until she was 5 months old. I could have gone by myself without her but honestly I didn’t want to be without her. We practise attachment parenting. So, babys now best what is good for them if we allow ourselves to listen to them.
      Good luck in finding what works for you.
      Bettina recently posted..Why Consistency in Cry it Out is Critical: A Case StudyMy Profile

      • I do not believe in letting babys cry it out! We practise attachment parenting and there is no need to use the practise of letting baby cry it out. Babys will get more agitated and are not able to develop this so important skill of trust in their early life.

  19. The chart on this page has been EXTREMELY helpful with trying to figure out if my baby is sleeping enough. I have a question though. On the chart is has an estimated bedtime for each age group. My question is specifically for the 6 week to 3 month group. Does bedtime count as the time they actually fall asleep? I know bedtime with older children is different than sleep time.

  20. My baby slept 3 hours at daycare today. Should I be concerned? This is not normal for her. She is 1 year old. And I must not that she has a cold

  21. I missed spelled a couple of words so I will try this again:

    My baby slept 3 hours at daycare today. Should I be concerned? This is not normal for her. She is 1 year old. And I must note that she has a cold. Do you think the cold played a part in this?

    • Yes! She needed her sleep to get over the cold! Our bodies need every ounce of energy to fight an infection so the body automatically sleeps to preserve energy to fight off the cold.

  22. Thanks Bettina.

  23. I have a question about baby sleep! Our 4 month old has recently started rolling over one way, but can’t go back the other. She gets REALLY mad when she does this in her crib. We go in as flip her over, but she just flips the other way a moment later! Lately my husband and I have been letting her CIO for 10 minutes and then we go in, flip her the way she likes to sleep and try to soothe her. It works sometimes, but other times we have to take her out and rock her to sleep. Alexis, I’m worried we’ll undue all the progress we made with her putting herself to sleep. Should we continue our method, let her CIO longer, keep flipping her over until she’s asleep?
    Sarah

  24. My baby is 5 months and 3 weeks old and he sleeps about 18 hours every day. When he is awake is very busy but doesnt like to be alone for long. Is it normal for him to sleep so much?

  25. Hello! I really appreciate all the baby sleep info! So helpful! So I have a very unhappy little man…he is 10 weeks old and just started on reflux meds. I have him on a pretty strict schedule otherwise he is so inconsolable. Wakes at 7… Eats every three hours and takes about 4 naps a day 1-2hrs long. I look for sleep cues and as soon as he yawns I quickly swaddle him and put him to sleep in his crib awake. I don’t dare drive anywhere because he cries as though he is dying. My question is he showing sleep cues so soon after waking…usually within 1 hour of waking. Should I try to extend this wake time to make it longer? How should I handle bed time when he is napping so late. Thank you in advance!

    • It sounds to me like you are doing great! 1 hour wake time is completely normal at 10 weeks old. My baby is 4 months/17 weeks and she still can only manage about 1 hour 15-20 minutes. Some days we get 3 naps but most days are still 4. I have read elsewhere that dropping to 3 naps by 5 months is typical and that seems right to me.

      Sorry about the reflux. :-(

  26. Hi

    My 7 month old is in absolutely no routine at all, he can go 2/3 nights doing the same routine then quickly changes to nothing!!
    SOMETIMES his pattern is.. 7.30 wake up, breakfast 9, milk 10, sleep 10.15-10.30, lunch 12/1 little bit of milk not long after and sleep for maybe an hour, milk about 4/4.30-5, dinner 6ish few ounces of milk about 8ish bed 8.30/9.. The night time is 9/10 all over the place, constantly waking wriggling very unsettled and unhappy, that 1 out if 10 he’ll wake at 1 I’ll give him water, he wakes again at 3/4 and I’ll give him milk n he goes till 6 n normally just wants a bit more milk n he’ll be off again till 7.30.

    Hope all this makes sense I really am out of ideas! Any advice is very much appreciated. Thank you

  27. I came across this site in the early hours of one sleepless night and love it!

    I have a 7 week old that I need some help with sleeping, both at night and naps during the day. She is breastfed.

    I have scoured countless websites looking for tips and advice on how this can be improved and now hope you can provide some insight into where I am going wrong.

    She goes to sleep at bedtime well, usually after a long/cluster feed, anywhere from 7-8.30pm. We have a bedtime routine which consists of bath, massage, feed then put down to sleep. We keep lighting and noise low.

    The first portion of sleep is good and usally the longest, 3-5 hours. From then on the duration of sleep is progressively shorter after each wakening. It is also harder to get her to sleep as the morning progresses. I am trying not to let her sleep on me, but find more often than not this is the best solution for her to sleep anything longer than 1 hour past 4-5am.

    Up until now, she falls asleep(not completely asleep but in a light sleep I guess you can call it, eyes closed but moves about when put in her moses basket). I would like to start putting her down awake, but she is so alert when awake that I don’t see how this is possible.
    I am currently swaddling her for naps and bedtime. I’ve tried a dummy, but she won’t take it. I don’t mind as would prefer that she doesn’t have one if possible. Have yet to use white noise.

    My first question is how awake should they be when you put them down? I’ve read many things which say put them down sleepy, what’s sleepy?

    My second question is how to improve the sleep during the second half of the night?

    Lastly, with regards to naps during the day; I didn’t realise they needed help to nap during the day until the other week. So now am conscisouly trying to get her to nap when she shows signs of tiredness. I find it very difficult to get her to nap during the day and think she gets overtired because of my struggle which only exasperates the issue.
    I do the same thing when putting her down for naps as I do at nightime, either feed or rock/hold until sleepy/in light sleep and then put in moses basket. How can I improve the ease in which she falls asleep for a nap?

  28. Please help!
    first time mum. 6week old girl who is being breastfed. She nurses to sleep at feeds on my knee and the same at night but as soon as I lay her down she wakens. I’m leaving her long enough that I know she’s out cold before I move her but always end up with the same results.

    Have tried all the dummy brands, white noise, hair dryer noise etc, swaddling.

  29. Hi Alexis,

    I just stumbled upon this page yesterday and have already read through most of your posts! You see, I have a lot of time to do that since I have a baby who hates sleep. He’s almost 9 weeks old and goes down at around 9:30pm and will sleep until 1:30am. At which point my husband feeds him a bottle of breast milk and then he will not go back to sleep for the next 2-3 hours. We place him in his bassinet and rock it, but he will cry the moment it stops moving. We try the pacifier but he will usually wake up the moment he spits it out. The swing works sometimes, but again, he wakes up the moment it stops swinging. We are so exhausted and we just don’t know how to signal to him that that time is for sleeping not playing! Please help!

  30. I am a newcomer to your site and it has been a blessing. Thanks for sharing your information.

    My son will be eight weeks old in two days and he is a struggle when it comes to napping. Currently, our bedtime routine begins at 7:30 pm. We give him a warm bath, lotion him, swaddle him, feed him, sing to him and then put him in a pack/play in our room. He goes down drowsy but not asleep. He will usually fall asleep on his own around 8:30 pm. Sometimes we may have to go back in if his pacifier falls out or he needs some additional rocking. Lately he’s been waking up around 11 pm to eat a little more and then he’ll sleep until 6:00-6:30 am. During the day it’s a nightmare to get him to nap. After he feeds in the morning (about 20-30 minutes in length), I’ll sing to him, do tummy time, or other play activities and I can tell he gets tired within an hour or less so I swaddle him and sing him the same song each time. However, he tends to fight sleep every time I put him back in the pack/play. This pattern is repeated throughout the day and if he falls asleep it’s only for 30-45 minutes. If I wear him in my Moby or ring sling he’ll take much longer naps. Am I doing something wrong in my routines? Should I be concerned that he only wants to take cat naps?

    • Some kids at that age don’t consolidate their naps yet. However he is only 8 weeks so I wouldn’t worry about schedules! The pack and play is probably not soothing enough. A lot of 8 week olds need a LOT of soothing. Check out Alexis’ newborn sleep survival guide (the 0-3 month guide). Swing, swaddle, and white noise are powerful tools. Also check out Dr. Karp’s 5S’s technique.

Trackbacks

  1. Are You Keeping Your Baby Awake too Long? | Troublesome Tots
  2. Safe Baby Sleep or Hatchet Job? | Troublesome Tots
  3. Is Cry it Out the Answer? | Troublesome Tots
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  5. Are You Ready for Cry It Out? - Troublesome Tots
  6. I am the Official CIO Spokesperson. Apparently. - Troublesome Tots

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