When you have an infant, you may wonder if their sleep schedule will ever stabilize. It seems like infants sleep all the time or not at all, whatever is the most inconvenient for their parents. However, they will eventually get a nap schedule down but it varies from baby to baby how often they sleep, how long they sleep, and how deeply they sleep. As your baby grows, he or she will change in many ways, including in sleep patterns. Don’t be disturbed by these changes, as they’re totally normal.
When you have a newborn, you’ll probably notice that they sleep in two to four hour shifts. It is uncommon for them to sleep for longer than four hours, which is unfortunate for parents but is quite normal. Newborn sleep is also a light slumber. After about three weeks, you can help your baby start developing a flexible routine. Around the age of about three to four months, babies usually develop their own sleep schedule that can be counted on at least somewhat for another two months or so. At around six months old, babies tend to go down to two or three naps a day, spaced out pretty evenly in the morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon. Babies at this age need an average of three and a half hours of sleep through out the day, and eleven hours of sleep at night.
Around nine months old, your child will probably go down to two naps a day, although some children don’t get there until they are almost a year old. This helps parents and other care providers get a little more done during the day, especially for children who aren’t able to nap anywhere other than their own bed.
Although, there are no hard and fast rules, around 13 months, many children go down to one nap a day, usually in the afternoon. This is where they usually stay until they are about three or four years old, or sometimes even until kindergarten. Through out these years, it is still important to ensure that your child is getting eleven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
If you are worried about any part of your child’s sleep schedule, it is best to contact your pediatrician. It is likely just a natural occurrence that is a part of growing, but it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your child’s health. Also, talking to a certified sleep coach can be helpful. We work directly with a sleep coach, Jennifer Denzel, and her company, Rested Family (www.restedfamily.com). And remember the old saying, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”