How much sleep does my baby need?

A common question around sleep is the amount of sleep that a baby needs during the day and at night. There is no exact amount of sleep that a baby needs, all babies are unique, some need more sleep than the average indicates and some are okay with slightly less sleep.

The table below indicates the average amount of sleep your baby needs and it is a good reference guide. If your baby is sleeping vastly less to what the table suggests then you may have a baby who isn’t sleeping adequately.

When reviewing how much sleep your baby is getting consider night totals and don't include any periods of being awake i.e. feeding, settling etc. Always take into consideration total sleep amounts across a 24 hour period (total amounts of night and day sleep). So if for example you were reviewing the total sleep of a 6 month old you would be looking at how much sleep they have across 24 hours vs. the average total amount of sleep indicated for this age (as below 14 ½ - 15 hours in a 24 hour period). Not all babies have the same sleep distribution, some babies sleep more at night and less in the day, while others have slightly less night sleep but more day sleep.

Example 1: If a 6 month old baby is sleeping 12 hours at night, then they may have slightly less total daytime sleep than a baby who sleeps 11 hours at night.

Example 2: If a 6 month old baby only sleeps 10.5 hours at night then they will need more daytime sleep than a baby who sleeps 11-12 hours at night.

*Please note while a baby is “capable” of going the stretches of sleep indicated in the table, each baby is different and has different nutritional needs, so this doesn’t necessarily mean this is what your baby will be doing.

**Most babies at 6 months of age are still having 3 naps per day. A 2 nap schedule at this age may be appropriate for a baby who takes two long day sleeps i.e. 2 x 2 hour naps.

Use the above as a guide and compare this with your baby’s sleep needs and sleep cues. You may like to refer to my baby awake lengths guide in my blog "How long should my baby be awake?” and use the two guides in conjunction with each other.

If you are concerned about your baby’s sleep totals and need greater support, please reach out. You can always arrange a free 15 minute consult with me.

Katie xx

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