The amount of sleep your baby needs will change gradually as she grows. She will transition from needing as much as 16 to 20 hours of sleep every 24 hours in the first few weeks after birth to about 10 to 13 hours a day when she is a toddler. Getting Enough sleep is essential to a healthy development especially for babies.
Unlike adults, your baby’s sleep needs, in her first year, cannot be met with just night sleep. The total amount of sleep your child needs, is the time she needs for her naps and her night sleep put together. So if she takes 2 naps of about 2 hours each, another 1 hour nap and sleeps 11 hours at night, a day, she has a total sleep of 16 hours. This is normally sufficient for babies between 6 to 9 months old.
Depending on your child and certain factors including your child’s age, the amount of sleep she needs will vary. Below is a general guide for babies at different stages of development.
1 – 6 weeks: 16 to 20 hours
Typically, even though newborns sleep for up to 20 hours, they do so in short periods of about 2 to 4 hours round the clock because at this age they do not yet have an internal biological clock, or circadian rhythm, so their sleep patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles.
7 weeks – 3 months: 18 to 20 hours
At about 2 months your baby would start sleeping longer periods during the night and staying up longer during the day. The day and night-time confusion ending. You may notice your baby developing a more regular sleep pattern. This is when you can start shaping your baby’s sleep by encouraging and guiding her towards having longer night sleeps and helping her sleep through the night.
3 – 6 months: 14 to 16 hours
Most Babies at this stage still need at least 2 naps a day, from 1 – 3 hours each. one nap in the morning, and one in the afternoon and probably one cat-nap about an hour in the late afternoon. At about 4 months, your baby should be sleeping through at least one nighttime feeding and perhaps through the entire night.
7 – 12 months: 14 to 15 hours
At seven months, your baby probably still takes 2 regular naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. She is also likely to sleep through the night as much as 12 hours without needing a middle-of-the-night feeding. But be aware of possible problems ahead: As her separation anxieties intensity in the next few months, she may star to resist bedtime and may wake up more often looking for you.
During this stage you may need to experiment with different strategies on how to your baby to go to sleep such as using a soft blanket or a stuffed animal to help her go to sleep easily.
1 – 3 years: 12 to 14 hours
As your toddler gets to about 18 months she will likely loose her morning nap and start to nap just once a day between 1 to 3 hours. Her night sleep should now be uninterrupted and about 10 to 12 hours long. Most toddlers don’t get as much sleep as they need, because they are more active, they tend to resist bedtime and nap time more strongly
3+- 6 years: 12 to 14 hrs
Most children at 3 years of age typically still take occasional naps up to 4 years, while most at 5 years don’t take any nap at all. They usually go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up around 6 and 8 a.m., just as they did when they were younger, but with shorter naps or no naps at all.
– Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5