Below is a guide to the ‘average’ amount of sleep a baby needs over the first 18 months.
It’s important to remember that all babies are different and it’s quite normal for some babies to need more or less sleep than is suggested below. It’s also worth noting that ‘night-time sleep’ is not continuous, your baby is likely to sleep for a few hours and have periods of waking in between.
16 - 18 hours over 6 - 7 sleep periods during 24 hours.
Your newborn can’t tell the difference between night and day and this, along with the fact that they have a very small tummy and will need to feed frequently, means that they are unlikely to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time during the day. There is no point in trying to create a sleep routine at this age.
Night-time: 8 - 9 hours and daytime: 6 - 7 hours
Naps: 4 - 5
Your baby needs frequent daytime naps to prevent them from becoming over-tired. Your little one may start sleeping for slightly longer periods at night, but will still require frequent feeds. Try to make these night-time feeds as low-key as possible by speaking softly and keeping the lights dim.
Night - time: 10 - 12 hours and daytime: 4 - 5 hours
Naps: 2 - 3
Your baby will have begun to recognise the difference between night and day and is likely to be sleeping longer at night. A familiar bedtime routine will help your baby to develop a sleep pattern so that they learn to go to sleep when placed in the cot at night.
Night-time: 11 - 12 hours and daytime: 3 hours
Naps: 2 - 3
Although some babies have started to sleep through the night at this age, many do not. It’s quite usual for a six-month-old to be still waking in the night to be fed. Babies of this age often have a ‘growth spurt’ – this can last for up to a week – during which time their appetite increases so they want feeding more at night. You may also find that your baby needs more sleep overall during this period.
Night time: 11 hours and daytime: 2 - 3 hours
Naps: 1 - 2
Somewhere between eight and ten months your baby may develop sleep problems. Sometimes, this is caused by teething, but it can also be the result of ‘sleep regression’. This is when your baby’s brain is so busy with all this new information it has to process on a daily basis that he finds it hard to sleep and may wake more often at night. This phase usually only lasts for a week or so.
Night-time: 11 hours and daytime: 2 - 3 hours
Naps: 1 - 2
Some babies are ready to go down to one nap a day now, but many still need the extra sleep that a second nap gives them. If your baby has started walking they will be expending a lot of energy and will need that additional sleep, so be guided by your little one.
Night-time: 13 - 14 hours and daytime: 1.5 – 2 hours
Your toddler is likely to be down to one long nap a day now. However, there may be days when two naps are still required. On a one-nap day you could try putting them to bed a little bit earlier to ensure they get all the sleep needed. Your little one should be able to settle themselves to sleep and go back to sleep on their if awoken during the night.