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How much sleep should my baby have?

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Sleeping Sleeping tips

The first few months can be a bit of a blur with your little one up at all hours. It’s good to know what’s ahead and how their sleep needs change over time.

This guide will help give you a rough idea of how much sleep babies usually need. But all children are different, so remember not to worry if your baby sleeps a bit more or a bit less.

How much sleep does a newborn need?

Photo of a newborn baby sleeping in its mothers arms

Photo of a newborn baby sleeping in its mothers arms

Newborns usually sleep for upwards of 18 hours a day. They tend to only sleep for 2-3 hours at once - and usually not when we want them to! Because they have small stomachs and are just getting used to feeding, they need to eat every 2-3 hours as well.

This can be tricky, especially if you’re breastfeeding and can’t share feeding duties at night, so it is important to try and nap when possible. You will be putting your baby down many times a day, so make sure they are sleeping safely.

How much sleep do 3-4 month olds sleep?

At 3-4 months your wee one may be sleeping for around 16 hours a day. At this age many babies start sleeping longer in one go. This could see your wee one sleep for around 5 hours at night.

It’s important to remember that this is an average and all babies are different. If your wee one is sleeping a little more or a bit less than 16 hours at this age there is nothing to worry about as long as they are alert and happy when they’re awake. Some babies need more or less sleep than the average (just like some adults!)

They might also start to show signs of sleeping more at night than during the day. This might allow you to start introducing more of a pattern at bedtime from when they are 3-4 months old. You might find that they start to have a pattern with their naps during the day too.

Their stomach is still very small so they will continue to need night feeds to fill them up. It can be difficult at this stage and it may feel like forever since you had a good night's sleep. Maybe ask your partner or family member to help round the house while you rest when the baby naps.

How much do 5-6 month olds sleep?

At 5 months old some babies will be beginning to sleep through the night. But most will still be up during the night. After months of broken sleep it can be tempting to try and encourage your little one to fit into a more normal pattern, but at this age it is important to follow your baby.

They may not be quite ready to sleep all night. It could confuse their natural rhythm and stop them feeding during the night when they need to.

They will still likely be sleeping upwards of 14 hours a day across nighttime and daytime naps. It’s important to remember that this is an average and all babies are different. Babies like routine but try to let their needs lead the way when they are this age.

How much do 6-9 month olds sleep?

toddler sleeping

toddler sleeping

You may find that your baby wakes up less for night feeds at this stage, and may begin to sleep through. They may still need 14 hours of sleep across their naps and through the night, though you may notice this slowly decrease. But remember this is an average and all babies are different.

How much do 9-12 month olds sleep?

You may find that your baby wakes up less for night feeds at this stage, and may begin to sleep through. They may still need 14 hours of sleep across their naps and through the night, though you may notice this slowly decrease. But remember this is an average and all babies are different.

Looking after yourself

We all hear stories about babies who sleep through and are no trouble at all. But the vast majority of wee ones are up during the night. Most parents are in the same boat. It is important to look after yourself. A lack of sleep isn’t easy for anyone.

There are things you can do to help your baby get to sleep, and you can contact your health visitor if you are worried about sleep. They can offer support and guidance to help move things forward for you and your baby.

Sleep problems

If you’re worried about your baby or child’s sleep, remember, you’re not alone – there is support out there, starting with your GP or health visitor. The following organisations can also help:

Cry-sis offer help and support to parents with babies who cry excessively or have sleeping problems. They have a helpline you can call on 08451 228 669.

 

Sleep Action offer advice and support to parents and carers, or to young people themselves, for any child aged 18 months to 18 years with a sleep problem. Visit the Sleep Action website to find out more and get in touch.

Twins Trust have advice on sleep if you have twins, triplets or more.

Last updated: 20 Feb, 2024