Tag Archives: naps

A guide to baby nap time

How much sleep your baby needs during the day is dependant on her age; as your newborn grows she will gradually need less nap time, it is important you don’t let your little one get over tired as this often results in an extremely hard to settle, tired little monster!

Establishing a routine

Babies respond well to routine as the visual and audible clues you give them helps them to understand and expect what is likely to happen next. This helps them to feel secure in their new world. Ideally, your baby’s day should begin at around 7 o’clock and end at 7 o’clock. If your baby wakes earlier than this then she should go to bed earlier in the evening – beware, putting her to bed later does not necessarily mean she will sleep in later! The amount your little one needs to sleep during the day and the number of naps needed is decreased little by little as she grows.
How many naps a day? For the first few weeks I would suggest letting your baby sleep when she is tired, the process of ‘being born’ is absolutely exhausting. You of course need to make sure you wake your newborn for regular feeds every 3-4 hours. Children tend to need naps up to the age of 3 or sometimes even 4 or 5. A good night time routine will compliment a good day time routine. In fact, it is rarely possible to have one without the other.

  • Newborn (0-4 weeks) : Allow your newborn to sleep when she is tired, this will help you to establish a routine that suits her needs rather than goes against her, and avoid rocking! (unless you want to rock her to sleep for the next 18 months)! A newborn is usually asleep more during the day than awake, ensure you wake her for feeds and try to establish a night time routine as soon as possible.
  • 4-8 weeks : Now she is out of the newborn stage you will start to notice a pattern to her day time sleep behaviour. This should form the base of your routine. It is likely your little one will need 3-4 naps a day, ranging from 40 minutes to 2-3 hours. You will probably find she gets tired after being awake for around 2-3 hour stretches. If you are looking to establish a good day time routine, the ‘feed, play, sleep’ routine is very popular as it is structured around your little ones needs and stops her from building an association with being fed and going to sleep.
  • 8-12 weeks – You and your baby will know the routine now and you will have become accustomed to her ‘clues’ that she is tired (rubbing her eyes, pulling her ear or being a bit tearful etc). You may find she has one big nap and two shorter ones but the length can differ depending upon the individual. Remember: there is no need to keep the house quiet during daytime naps, the more noise your baby can sleep through the better! Average nap time needed: 3-5 hours per day.
  • 3-6 months : There are some huge developmental milestones for your little one during this period, however, 3 naps a day- one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one late afternoon is still the perfect routine. If the late afternoon sleep is having a negative impact on your baby’s bed time then try putting her down a little earlier or waking her up after 40 minutes or so.
  • 6-9 months : As your child’s development continues, she may be more interested in crawling, sitting up or even pulling herself up than going to sleep. It is not uncommon for the late afternoon sleep to be dropped within this age range. Average nap time: 2-4 hours per day
  • 9-12 months : As your baby approaches 12 months you will find the length of time she naps for has reduced drastically when compared to 6-9 months ago. She is likely to be able to stay awake for between 4-6 hour stretches. 2 naps a day is the ideal – one in the morning and one early afternoon but it is not unusual for 12 month olds to only need one nap or to still need 3 on some occasions.