Newborn babies will sleep between 15 and 18 hours a day, but usually in short stretches of 2-4 hours.
Below the sleep needs of a newborn baby:
2 to 4 Weeks: A baby’s sleep at this time is unpredictable and erratic. There is day/night confusion. They might sleep the longest period of time during the day. This stage is when you want to follow their cues for eating and sleeping. Babies are becoming more alert, wakeful, and aroused as their brain develops.
6 Weeks: First social smile and an indication that night sleep is becoming more organized. The longest period of sleep might be 4 to 6 hours. Fussiness reaches a peak at this age. Now is the time to begin watching for baby’s sleepy signs and putting him down to sleep before he gets overtired. The general rule is within 1-2 hours of wakefulness .
2 to 3 Months: A major biological change is taking place and your baby will sleep earlier at night and for longer periods of time. Now is the time to really pay attention to your baby’s sleep needs, otherwise extreme evening crying can take place. Babies become overtired very easily and this is how they deal with it. Make their sleep environment more conducive to sleep by keeping it quiet, dark and cool.
3 to 4 Months: Any extreme fussiness or colic ends. A baby becomes more social and wants to spend time with you more than she wants to sleep. Night sleeping is better, but naps may still be irregular and brief. Morning nap develops around 9 AM. Baby’s sleep cycle becoming more adult like.
5 to 8 Months: Early afternoon nap develops between the hours of 12 and 2 and possibly a late afternoon nap between 3 and 4:30. Not looking so much for sleepy signs, as getting baby on a morning and afternoon nap schedule. This schedule is aligned with the baby’s natural sleep rhythms. Bad sleep habits can begin to develop.
9 Months: Late afternoon nap and feeding in the night may begin to disappear. If night feeding continues at this age, a habit can easily develop.
10 to 12 Months: Morning nap may disappear, which may lead to an earlier bedtime.
13 to 15 Months: Most babies now just have one nap. An earlier comfortable bedtime may be needed if the baby does not have an afternoon nap. To encourage an afternoon nap, gradually delay the onset of the morning nap so that it begins to take place closer to lunch time and then eventually early afternoon. Depending on the baby and the baby’s activity level, some days will be a 2 nap day and others a 1 nap day.
16 to 21 Months: Morning nap has disappeared. May start setting a later bedtime, but not so late that the baby is overtired.
22 to 36 Months: Afternoon nap in some children can begin to disappear, even though the child still needs it. If the child’s bedtime is too early, (which leads to an early waking), gradually make the bedtime later. If the bedtime is late, gradually make it earlier. In either case you want the child to be well rested in the morning so that (s)he won’t be overtired, otherwise (s)he may have trouble napping.
BABY SLEEP FACTS
- Babies need a dark, cool and quiet sleep environment.
- The quality and time of their naps are more important than the length of their naps.
- The more babies sleep the more they want to sleep. Sleep begets sleep.
- Restorative sleep does not take place when a baby is in motion.
- A morning nap is mentally restorative, while an afternoon nap is physically restorative.
- Babies from the age of 4 months need to sleep when their biological or circadian rhythms dictate.
- Babies need consistency with respect to the time of their naps and the soothing routine associated with their naps.