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How Much Sleep Does a Baby Need?

Sleep is very important for a baby’s development and also for parents to be able to get some time to rest, eat and do other activities! As such, the most common question parents of new babies ask is, how much sleep should my baby be getting, and how many naps should they be having every day?

The routines I prefer to follow defines “daytime” as 7am-7pm and “nightime” as 7pm-7am. In all the routines I prefer to follow, the baby should be asleep, quietly drinking milk or trying to fall asleep, during the entire nighttime period. The only exception for this may be during a 1h period from 10pm-11pm if the baby had too much daytime sleep for whatever reason on certain days.

The chart below describes the age-appropriate daytime sleep for babies:

Age (Months)

No. of Daytime NapsTotal Daytime Sleep (hours)

Wake Windows (hours)

0 – 1

35 – 61 – 2

1 – 2

34 – 51.5 – 2

2 – 3

33 – 41.5 – 2

3 – 6

2~3~2
6 – 922.5 – 3

2 – 2.5

9 – 121 – 22 – 2.5

2.5 – 4.5

12 – 181 – 2~2

3 – 5.5

18 – 2411 – 2

5 – 6

24 – 3611 – 2

5 – 7

 

It might be a little daunting initially for new parents to see such charts and struggle with reconciling the experience they seem to be having with their own baby. For many parents, it seems that babies don’t seem to behaving in a consistent manner at all, much less take a fix number of naps with fixed hours of sleep or wake times! It only seems to be some fairy tales which exist in books or websites.

I certainly felt that way after my first baby was born, and felt like a terrible failure for seemingly having a baby that didn’t behave as what the books described to expect. How then, could I ensure my baby got the rest he needed for optimum development?

Through trial and error, further reason and much tears, I finally realized there were certain principles which were very important in making such routines work, and once those principles were adhered to, everything DID fall into place! I was so happy that my baby was getting the rest he needed and I got time I could use to rest, pump, eat or do work. Most importantly, I was relieved of the guilt and anxiety regarding my baby’s sleep. After my next 2 babies were born, I implemented those principles from Day 1 and was very happy they then became (age-appropriate) good sleepers from within 1 week from birth!

I would very much love to share how to develop these routines and good sleeping habits with more parents, so please feel free to chat with me about your struggles via the chatbox on the lower right corner and I’ll try my best to help!

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