- Your child’s sleep and naps timeline
- Understanding Baby Sleep Patterns
- Sleep Schedule for Your Baby’s First Year
- Birth – 2 Months
- 2 – 4 Months
- 4 – 8 Months
- 8 – 12 Months
- 12 Months (Happy Birthday!!!)
- How To Get My 11, 12 or 13 Week Old To Sleep At-a-Glance
- 1. Develop a sleep routine for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
- 2. Review your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s schedule
- 3. Consider gentle sleep training (or coaching) for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
- 4. Create a plan for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
- 5. Get support for your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s parents (you!)
- 6. Prepare for your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s next speedbump
- So, is your 11, 12 or 13 week old sleeping? Or, maybe it’s time to learn how to get your 14, 15, or 16 week old sleeping?
- Need Newborn Sleep Help? We Have the Resources You Need!
- 11 week old baby
- Who are you like?
- Behaviour and development
- What you can expect
- How baby sleep changes from 2 to 12 months
- 2-3 months: what to expect from baby sleep
- Around 3 months: what to expect from baby sleep
- 3-6 months: what to expect from baby sleep
- 6-12 months: what to expect from baby sleep
- 6-12 months: other developments that affect sleep
Your child’s sleep and naps timeline
Every child is different when it comes to how much sleep they need, and when they have it. Some babies need about two hours more or less sleep than other babies, and some toddlers need as much as an hour more or less than their peers.
This timeline gives you an idea of how much sleep your child will typically need at various ages. It also shows how sleep and nap patterns will change as she grows.
About 10 hours and 30 minutes to 18 hours (over a 24-hour period).
Day: seven to eight hours.
Night: eight hours, 30 minutes.
Without much of a pattern, your newborn sleeps for a few minutes to several hours at a time, often waking to refill her little tummy (MCSC 2005).
Babies need to nap every two hours until they are about three months old. Your baby may get a third of the sleep she needs during the day.
About 10 hours, 30 minutes to 18 hours.
Day: six hours, 45 minutes.
Night: eight hours, 45 minutes.
Your baby’s starting to adapt to the difference between day and night, so she’ll probably sleep more at night than during the day. She’ll still sleep a lot during the day, too (MCSC 2005).
Did you know? Your baby’s dream sleep (REM) started when you were about six months or seven months pregnant with her (MCSC 2005).
About 10 hours, 30 minutes to 18 hours.
Day: five hours, 30 minutes.
Night: 10 hours.
Though she’s more alert and sociable now, your baby’s still taking between two naps and four naps per day. She may even start skipping a feed during the night.
Between six weeks and eight weeks your baby’s distinction between day and night is becoming well developed. By 10 weeks, your baby should be able to tell day from night (MCSC 2005).
About 10 hours, 30 minutes to 16 hours, 30 minutes.
Day: five hours.
Night: 10 hours (MCSC 2005).
Most babies have between two and four daytime naps. Some babies this age can sleep for long stretches of between six hours and eight hours at night.
Now’s a good time to introduce a bedtime routine, if you haven’t already. You may find that your baby starts to sleep in the evening.
Quick tip. If your baby has trouble sleeping, massage may help (MCSC 2005). That’s because it may help to get her circadian rhythm on track, helping her body to wind down at night.
Between 13 hours and 14 hours, 15 minutes.
Day: four hours.
Night: 10 hours (may be continuous) (MCSC 2005).
By nine months, daytime naps may have reduced to one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some babies will still benefit from three or four snoozes during the day.
By this age, your baby may able to sleep through the night, though many babies still wake up at night.
Between 13 hours and 14 hours.
Day: two hours, 45 minutes.
Night: 11 hours, 15 minutes (MCSC 2005).
Your baby’s likely to have two naps a day, in the morning and afternoon. She may have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. This may be because of separation anxiety, disturbing dreams, or an inability to self-settle (MCSC 2005).
By now, nearly three quarters of babies sleep through the night, not waking up between midnight and 5am. Some get all of their sleep in one go, sleeping for between 10 hours and 11 hours without waking.
Between 12 hours, 30 minutes and 14 hours.
Day: two hours, 30 minutes.
Night: about 11 hours, 30 minutes (MCSC 2005).
Your toddler’s two naps may be starting to shorten in length a bit, while night-time sleep continues to total about 11 hours. Sleep isn’t a precise science, so it’s hard to predict each toddler’s sleeping habits. At one year old, your toddler may start to get by on one nap a day.
About 12 hours, 30 minutes to 13 hours, 30 minutes.
Day: one hour, 30 minutes to two hours.
Night: about 11 hours, 30 minutes (MCSC 2005).
Your toddler will probably still take one afternoon nap for another couple of years, and she may still benefit from a morning nap, too. Most toddlers this age are still sleeping for about 10 hours to 11 hours at night.
About 12 hours, 30 minutes to 13 hours, 30 minutes.
Day: about one hour, 15 minutes to one hour, 30 minutes.
Night: 11 hours, 30 minutes to 11 hours, 45 minutes (MCSC 2005).
Your little one’s morning naps are probably old news, or will have shifted to about lunchtime. As this nap will last about one hour, 30 minutes, she’ll probably drop her afternoon nap.
Your toddler may resist going to sleep by now and climb out of bed after you tuck her in at night.
Did you know? By the age of two, most children will have spent more time asleep than they have awake.
About 12 to 13 hours.
Day: no more than one hour.
Night: 11 hours, 30 minutes (MCSC 2005).
Your child may still take an afternoon nap, or she may have left naps behind for good. Children often make up for it by snoozing a little longer at night. By the age of three most children have made the move from their cot to a big bed.
Did you know? It’s not always plain sailing. Up to half of all children under five go through periods of waking up in the night. Some go back to sleep on their own, but others cry or want company. There are steps you can take to help your child to sleep. MCSC. 2005. Teach your child to sleep. Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic. London: Hamlyn.
Understanding Baby Sleep Patterns
It’s also important to place your baby on his back to sleep, not on his stomach: Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended back sleeping for infants in 1992, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome has dropped by more than 50 percent.
Baby Sleep Patterns in the First Year
During the first year, it’s normal for your baby to wake up between four and six times a night, Montgomery says. In the first 11 weeks, your baby’s circadian rhythm — the natural sleep-wake cycle cued by light and dark — is not yet developed. But as the circadian rhythm forms and a baby matures, he will gradually sleep less during the day and more at night. Although the definition of “normal” baby sleep patterns can vary widely, most babies reach particular sleep milestones at these ages:
- 2 to 4 months: Your baby will probably start sleeping for longer stretches at night — up to six hours or so. His stomach is growing and can hold more formula or breast milk. At 3 months, your baby will likely sleep around 15 hours a day, with two-thirds of that shut-eye being at night.
- 5 to 7 months: By now, baby sleep habits usually become a little less taxing on Mom and Dad. By about 6 months, babies usually no longer need to be fed during the night, Montgomery says. At this age, they generally snooze three to four hours during the day and sleep about eight hours at night.
- 8 to 12 months: Baby will probably be down to two naps a day, with about nine hours of sleep a night. By her second birthday, napping will likely be once a day.
Establish a Routine to Help Baby Sleep
Here are some ways to establish a bedtime routine early on to foster better sleep habits for your baby:
- Lighten up baby’s bedroom during the day. If the room is very dark, it’s only natural that your child’s body clock will be cued to respond as if it were nighttime. You may be unwittingly contributing to longer naps during the day and shorter stretches of sleep at night if your baby’s bedroom is too dark.
- Work around the environment. If there’s a streetlight outside your baby’s bedroom, try room-darkening shades to keep the room dark at night — but don’t forget to roll up those shades and let the sun shine in every morning. Also, you can minimize street noise with a white-noise or “sound” machine.
- Don’t rock baby to sleep. Rocking is a great way to help baby sleep, but don’t let him fall asleep in your arms. Why? Your baby may have a harder time learning how to get to sleep on his own if he associates sleeping with being in your arms. Instead, rocking and other bedtime routines need to stop just short of sleep. Put your baby down while he’s drowsy but not fully asleep.
- Keep nighttime visits short and sweet. During late-night feedings and diaper changes, keep the process as brief as possible. Teach your baby that night is for sleep and not play — the middle of the night is not the time for peekaboo. Keep the room dark and do only the minimum to get your baby soothed and ready to go back to sleep.
Ways for Mom and Dad to Get Rest
Taking care of a baby is a full-time job with no days off. But your own sleep is just as important as your baby’s rest. After all, a sleep-deprived parent can be an unhappy, stressed-out mess. Here are some ideas to get through your baby’s first year:
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially when there’s a pile of dishes in the sink or a mountain of dirty baby clothes to wash. But try to get some rest yourself when your baby is off in slumber land.
- Establish a protected sleep time. Maybe it’s a Saturday or Sunday morning when your partner doesn’t have to go to work. Make sure everyone in the household knows it’s time for you — the baby’s primary caregiver — to rest. Ask your partner to take care of the kids on those “protected” mornings so you can recharge, or maybe a trusted relative or friend can pitch in to help when he or she isn’t busy.
- Go with the flow. Have some wiggle room in your schedule so you can work around your baby’s sleep needs, Montgomery says. If baby is napping past her usual 2 p.m. feeding time but you want to be at the mall at 2:15 p.m., you need to be the flexible one. Follow your baby’s lead. It’s also important not to keep baby up way past her bedtime. An overtired baby is harder to get to sleep, Montgomery says.
Following these tips can help your baby — and everyone else in the house — sleep easier and be happier and healthier.
Sleep Schedule for Your Baby’s First Year
All parents want their infants to sleep well. But many don’t know—but want to know—the nitty gritty details: How long will my baby nap? What time should she go to bed? How many hours of overnight sleep can I realistically expect? How does a baby’s sleep schedule change over time?
Everyone knows that their new baby won’t sleep a lot during the first weeks. But, the biggest new-parent misconception is that once the baby passes the first weeks, sleep gradually but, consistently improves. Many expect sleep to just get better and better until the baby is sleeping an 8-hour stretch at 4 months. Not so fast! The reality, for many—if not most—babies, is a bit of a roller coaster with happy victories alternating with frustrating regressions!
That said, below is a listing of what you might reasonably expect for your baby’s sleep…along with descriptions of some of the common zigs and zags many babies experience during the first year. (Please remember, each baby is unique and sleep schedules can vary widely.)
Birth – 2 Months
Total Sleep: 14 to 18 hours a day. During the first months, babies sleep in bits and pieces, waking throughout the day to feed. In the early weeks, you can expect your little one to fuss from hunger 10-12 times a day.
The day starts around 7am.
Napping: Your little sleepyhead will take lots of little naps (for up to 8 hours a day). The daytime cycle is 1-2 hours of awake time then 1-2 hours of napping. During the second month, if your baby’s nap goes over 1.5-2 hours, it’s not a bad idea to wake him for a feeding. Long naps mean less eating during the day, making babies hungrier at night.
Nighttime sleep starts around 10pm. Your baby will drift on and off through the night, punctuated by occasional feedings. The longest stretch of Zzz’s usually goes up to 4 hours in the first month and 4-8 hours by 2-months of age.
Heads up: White noise, swaddling and motion work wonders starting from day 1 to help babies sleep better and naturally. And SNOO, the smart bassinet developed here at Happiest Baby, can optimize sleep helping babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer by providing responsive white noise + motion and swaddling all in one bed. Don’t worry, SNOO doesn’t keep babies asleep who need to eat…they will always wake if hungry.
2 – 4 Months
Total Sleep: 13-14 hours of snooze.
The day starts a little earlier now. Most babies this age wake around 6am.
Napping: Your baby will settle into 2-3 daily naps, totaling 4-8 hours of sleep.
Nighttime sleep shifts a bit earlier, with your baby going down around 9pm. She’ll also sleep longer, still waking for a feeding or two. Longest unbroken sleep is usually around 5-8 hours (some may sleep an even longer stretch, especially using a sleep aide, like SNOO).
Heads up: Look out for the 3-month sleep regression! It can suddenly appear, with your baby starting to wake up like a newborn—every few hours—and want to play or cuddle…but refusing to sleep alone.
Also, at 2-3 months of age when swaddling is stopped, your baby may start to startle more, roll more and wake many times a night. (FYI, SNOO provides another unique benefit—safe swaddling for up to 6 months. Our patented swaddle secures to the bed to prevent rolling, so you can safely swaddle without worry.)
4 – 8 Months
Total Sleep: 12-14 hours a day. When your baby passes the 4-month mark, she’s finished what I call the fourth trimester. Many of your new-parent friends may still be desperate from exhaustion. So, if your little one is a great sleeper, don’t brag too much about it to the other moms!
The day starts between 6-8am, depending on your baby, of course!
Napping: 2-3 naps, totaling 3-5 hours a day.
Nighttime sleep starts around 7-9pm. Your baby may have an unbroken piece of sleep of 6-10 hours, which most anyone would call “sleeping through the night!”
Heads Up: Teething commonly starts between 4-6 months, but like everything, your baby may be earlier or later to the game. Gum pain can make your baby fussier and disrupt sleep. Loud, rumbly white noise can be very helpful to help your baby tune out distractions, both internal, like teething, and external, such as sudden noises.
8 – 12 Months
Total Sleep: 12-14 hours a day by the time she hits 8 months.
The day starts around 6-7am.
Napping: Still 2-3 a day.
Nighttime sleep starts around 7-9pm now. Your baby’s longest stretch is likely a glorious 7-10 hours at night!
Heads Up: This is when infants love to crawl…and even walk. They often wake up wanting to get out and motor around the room.Until your baby is 12 months old, the only safe “lovey” is a pacifier or white noise.
12 Months (Happy Birthday!!!)
Total Sleep: 12-14 hours in a full day’s cycle.
The day starts at 6-7am.
Napping: 2 naps, totaling 2-4 hours daily.
Nighttime sleep usually starts earlier, with your baby hitting the hay between 7-9pm. Early enough for mom and dad to get some alone time! The longest sleeping stretch usually averages 7-10 hours at night.
Heads Up: You child is officially a toddler (some even start at 8-9 months). Communicating with kids this age requires a whole new set of tools and expectations. You’ll find fun and fast acting tips to boost emotional strength, increase patience and reduce tantrums in The Happiest Toddler (book/video). Also, you can now introduce ahandkerchief-sized silky blanket or hand-sized cuddly stuffed animal into the crib!
Did you know? Our SNOO Smart Sleeper helps babies drift to sleep more easily and to keep them asleep longer! Learn more.
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Previous: How To Get My 8, 9 or 10 Week Old To Sleep
Now that your little one is more alert and active throughout the day, settling to sleep might be more difficult than it was at 8, 9, or 10 weeks old! Often times young babies who previously slept well (or even just “okay”) as newborns suddenly start taking teeny tiny catnaps or waking every couple of hours at night. What’s an exhausted parent to do!?
Let’s take a look at the 6 steps to help your 11, 12 or 13 week old baby sleep.
In those first few weeks when all your baby did was SLEEP you probably wondered, “When will my baby start staying awake longer during the day?” And, now, you may be asking yourself, “When will my baby begin sleeping longer at night?” Whether your baby suddenly cannot nap anywhere other than your arms or wakes up frequently at night, you are not alone! And, we have the keys to getting your 11, 12 or 13 week old (and YOU) the best sleep possible!
How To Get My 11, 12 or 13 Week Old To Sleep At-a-Glance
- Develop a consistent sleep routine
- Review your baby’s schedule
- Consider gentle sleep coaching/training
- Create a sleep plan for your family
- Gather support from your village
- Prepare for the next sleep speedbump
And, now for a few details…
1. Develop a sleep routine for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
Setting the environment for sleep is crucial and part of cuing your baby it’s time for sleep is to have a consistent set of steps you do each sleep period, at night and at nap times. For those parents who aren’t that thrilled about strict routines, have no fear, the sleep routine does NOT have to be long. For instance, you can dim the lights, close the curtains or blinds, change your baby’s diaper, sing your little one’s favorite lullaby, nurse or offer a bottle, cuddle the baby for a few minutes, and then lay your baby down for sleep while saying a key phrase (e.g. “I love you. Time for sleep. Night night.”).
2. Review your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s schedule
For some 11, 12 or 13 week old babies, their sleep schedule is fundamental to helping them sleep well. Some babies are more adaptable or less sensitive to disruptions to their normal routine. But, even if your baby is very adaptable, having a predictable schedule can be very helpful for you, the parent, since it helps you arrange playdates and have some sense of consistency in your day-to-day! Since you may not know (yet) if your baby is slow-to-adapt or more “go with the flow,” I strongly recommend developing a good schedule to see what type of impact it may or may not have on your baby’s sleep. For all you know, that’s all you have to do to get longer naps and better sleep at night! Some families, depending on their situation, can’t stick to a precise schedule as well as others, but just do your best. What type of schedule you ask? Check out our sample schedules here or make your own custom schedule!
3. Consider gentle sleep training (or coaching) for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
If the previous steps haven’t significantly improved your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s sleep and you’ve downloaded our free e-Book, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep through the Night, it’s likely your baby has sleep associations that need to be resolved with gentle sleep training. Ideally, you’d get a professional assessment of your baby’s sleep challenges, but if you feel certain a dependence on parental help is part of the issue, then you may want to consider gently sleep coaching your baby towards more independent sleep. This essentially involves helping your baby learn to fall asleep with less help from you. Given your baby’s age and our experience, however, we do feel strongly this should be done using a very hands-on, gentle sleep coaching method.
Not sure where to begin? Check out Gentle Sleep Training Explained + 5 Strategies
4. Create a plan for your 11, 12 or 13 week old
If you’re considering gentle sleep training, you need to figure out what to do next. Some of us are planners and others simply “wing it.” If you’re not a planner, you can certainly skip this step, but if you’ve been trying to help your 11, 12 or 13 week old sleep for awhile now, you’ve developed a routine, reviewed the schedule and plugging along without a set strategy isn’t working out so well, maybe a plan is just what you’re missing. After all, it’s hard to know how to get to where you’re going without a travel plan. Make the plan as detailed as you want it, but having a step-by-step plan helps you stay on track, committed, and consistent. Not sure where to begin or need help creating your baby’s sleep plan? Consider making your own sleep plan or letting us create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for you and your baby.
5. Get support for your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s parents (you!)
We hear everywhere that “it takes a village” to raise a child, but gone seem to be the days where we have a lot of help nurturing our babies. I don’t know about you, but my mom came out for one week when my first baby was a newborn, but that was about it. My husband and I were largely on our own. No Aunts to regularly hold the baby while I took a nap or enjoyed a (hopefully hot) meal. So, getting through this 11, 12 or 13 week old trouble spot can be tough without support. We sometimes have to recruit our own village. Consider hiring a sleep consultant or asking your partner, friends, or family members to help you implement your sleep plan. Having a support system in place can make all the difference in the world in reaching your sleep goals!
6. Prepare for your 11, 12 or 13 week old’s next speedbump
Whether you’ve already made some progress getting your 11, 12 or 13 week old to sleep or you’re just beginning your research into helping your baby sleep, it’s important to never lose sight of “what’s next.” Why? Because babies are constantly changing! So be prepared and make sure you plan ahead, and have a game plan in place, before the next sleep regression or speedbump emerges. Around 4 months old your baby may experience their first sleep regression. What’s a “sleep regression” you ask? Now’s the time to begin thinking about how you’ll help your baby through any potential setbacks (teething, travel, and illness are BIG ones!) – sometimes the key to overcoming or even avoiding setbacks is understanding when they are likely to happen and having a plan in place for how you’ll get through them!
So, is your 11, 12 or 13 week old sleeping? Or, maybe it’s time to learn how to get your 14, 15, or 16 week old sleeping?
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Need Newborn Sleep Help? We Have the Resources You Need!
If you are tired of wading through stacks of baby sleep books that just aren’t working, if you are beyond exhausted and just can’t solve your newborn’s sleep problems on your own…than personalized sleep consulting is for you. We have been around since 2008 and invite you to tap into 10+ years of experience. Our team of expert consultants will create a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your family and then support you through every step of implementing your plan. We encourage you to consider our personalized, one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultation packages if you want to see real, meaningful results now. Your consultation package also includes ample follow-up help, designed to help you troubleshoot problems and tweak your plan as needed.
For even more help getting your newborn baby to sleep, check out our e-Book, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep . At over 90 pages long (and containing a variety of sample schedules for breastfed and formula-fed babies from birth – 16 weeks), this e-Book truly is a one-stop resource designed to help your newborn establish healthy sleep habits, right from birth. Whether you’re a brand new parent or an experienced parents who needs to brush up newborn sleep basics, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep is a comprehensive and budget-friendly resource that will provide the information you need to work towards excellent sleep for your whole family, from day one. Grab your copy today!
Or, join our Members Area that will grow with your family. It’s packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more and actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services! This is a resource that will truly grow with your child: it’ll help you through the newborn phase and prepare you for the months ahead.
11 week old baby
Your baby is getting closer to their 3rd month of life, a time of even more change and development. You will have noticed them growing out of their tiny clothes and you may need to go shopping for ones in the next size up. Most parents don’t need too much persuasion to do this and if you have been lucky, you may have been given lots of clothing as gifts.
Make a point of dressing your baby in their special clothes, even if you are just spending the day at home. You will be amazed at how quickly they grow out of small sizes.
Your baby’s weight is only one indication of their overall growth and you will see that they are looking longer, their head a little larger and their limbs straighter than they were just a few weeks ago. Your baby’s size is influenced by many factors. Their individual make-up, the genetics they inherited from you and your partner, their environment and importantly, the nutrition they are receiving each and every day.
Who are you like?
You are likely to feel your baby has an identity now with a little personality unique to them. You may see or sense familial similarities which come as a surprise. Alternately, your baby may seem so unique that they aren’t like anyone else in the family at all. Parents are pre-programmed to respond and care for their children. This is all about nurturing our own DNA and genetic code so that future generations can carry on our inheritance. It’s also about the pure joy and pleasure involved in loving the little person we have created.
Babies are easy to fall in love with. There is something about them which strikes a chord within their parents, who feel they would do anything for them. In families where there is more than one child, it can be common for parents to feel differently towards each child. There are many reasons why this happens. If you do not feel as if you have bonded or attached to your baby, do speak with someone about this. By 11 weeks there has been enough time and opportunity for the relationship between you to have formed. These weeks should be time of pleasure, even if they are more tiring than you could have imagined.
Some babies are particularly hungry and never seem to be satisfied, even after long feeds. They are at their happiest when they are sucking and don’t seem to be able to last long between feed times. If this sounds like your baby, try not to be concerned. As long as they are gaining sufficient weight – around 150-200 grams/week, they will be getting enough milk to grow. Don’t be tempted to offer your baby solids, no matter what advice you have been given. Their digestion is simply too immature to deal with ingesting any food other than breastmilk or formula. It won’t be until they are closer to 6 months that their gut is able to deal with additional nutrition.
Delaying solids until 6 months is also thought to be a protective strategy against the development of allergies.
Your baby will still be showing the classic signs of tiredness at 11 weeks. Yawing, grizzling, not able to hold your gaze for very long and having to look away. They may even look a little pale with reddened eyes. Try to avoid your baby becoming overtired before you place them in their cot for sleeps.
All babies have a “sleep window” of time where it is easier for them to drop off to sleep. Missing your baby’s cues or signals that they are tired and ready for sleep could easily lead to them becoming overtired. This will make it harder for them to settle down and drop off to sleep.
If you are happy to cuddle your baby until they go off to sleep, this is fine if it is working for you both. What commonly happens at this age is that babies will only sleep for around 20 minutes if they are placed into their cot already asleep. If this is happening with your baby, aim to lay them down into their cot when they are sleepy and tired but still awake.
Patting, soothing and comforting them whilst they are in their cot is a good strategy to encourage them to go to sleep in the same place where they are going to wake up.
Behaviour and development
Lots of smiles, coos, mouthing and even small laughs from your little one this week. Play peek-a-boo, pat-cake and blow raspberries with your baby. Sing nursery rhymes, make funny faces and just have fun. Make up little games which are unique to you both. These interactions don’t need to be complex, in fact the simpler the better. By doing this you will be feeding your baby’s brain, which is just as important as feeding their body.
Science has shown that one of the most rapid and important periods for brain development happens in the first 3 years of life. It is vital for children to receive loving, sensitive and nurturing interaction and care over this time and, all of the years until they become fully independent adults.
Avoid feeling as if you constantly need to do things for your baby, sometimes it is enough just to be with them.
Your baby’s cry may be changing now, towards becoming more intense, louder and more demanding. They are starting to know what they want and you’ll find their cry sounds different, dependent on what their needs are. Some babies are easier to “read” than others. They are more passive, easy to please and are quickly soothed. Others can be more high needs and require lots of soothing and reassurance before they will calm.
Temperament and personality are again, largely genetically inherited traits. Many parents feel they see their own personalities reflected in their baby, even at this early stage.
Your baby may have reduced to 5 feeds/24 hours now and isn’t demanding a feed in the middle of the night. Take advantage of this if you can and try to time your own longer night time sleep period to fit in with theirs. Many parents see their baby’s longer sleep block as a chance to catch up on some chores. Look for a balance with what you are doing and try not to compromise your own opportunity for sleep just for the sake of an ordered house.
Sleep is vital for your immune system to function well, to help with your memory and to feel vitalised and refreshed the next day. If you feel as if you have “baby brain” having more sleep is likely to help. Make sure you are well hydrated with plain water and avoid drinking too much coffee or tea.
What you can expect
Your baby is getting closer to 3 months old, that magic age where they are likely to become more settled. You may have even found they are more predictable and having less crying episodes this week. Don’t be concerned if they are still having a couple of wakeful, unsettled periods a day.
Check with your child health nurse that you are doing what you can in terms of comforting your baby. Deep warm baths, tummy massage, going for a walk and having some floor time are all useful strategies to help with calming.
For more information see Baby weeks or Baby Care.
How baby sleep changes from 2 to 12 months
As they get older, babies:
- sleep less in the daytime
- are awake for longer between naps
- have longer night-time sleeps and wake less at night
- need less sleep overall.
2-3 months: what to expect from baby sleep
At this age, babies sleep on and off during the day and night. They sleep for around 16 hours in every 24 hours.
Babies sleep in cycles that last about 40 minutes. Each cycle is made up of active sleep and quiet sleep. Babies move around and grunt during active sleep, and sleep deeply during quiet sleep.
At the end of each cycle, babies wake up for a little while. They might grizzle, groan or cry. They might need help to settle for the next sleep cycle.
Around 2-3 months, babies start developing night and day sleep patterns. This means they tend to start sleeping more during the night.
Around 3 months: what to expect from baby sleep
Around three months, babies’ sleep changes to longer cycles of light sleep, deep sleep and dream sleep. These changes might mean less waking and resettling during sleep.
At this age, babies might regularly be having longer sleeps at night – for example, around 4-5 hours.
Babies still need around 16 hours sleep in every 24 hours.
3-6 months: what to expect from baby sleep
At this age, babies need 15-16 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
Babies might start moving towards a pattern of 2-3 daytime sleeps of up to two hours each.
And night-time sleeps get longer at this age. For example, your baby might be having a long sleep of six hours at night by the time she’s six months old.
But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night.
6-12 months: what to expect from baby sleep
Babies sleep less as they get older. By the time your baby is one year old, he’ll probably need 14-15 hours sleep every 24 hours.
Sleep during the night
From about six months, most babies have their longest sleeps at night.
Most babies are ready for bed between 6 pm and 8 pm. They usually take less than 30 minutes to get to sleep, but about 1 in 10 babies takes longer.
At this age, baby sleep cycles are closer to those of grown-up sleep – which means less waking at night. So your baby might not wake you during the night, or she might wake you less often.
By eight months, most babies can settle themselves back to sleep without a parent’s help. Others keep waking if they need help to settle back to sleep, or if they’re still having breastfeeds or bottles during the night.
Sleep during the day
At this age, most babies are still having 1-2 daytime naps. These naps usually last 1-2 hours. Some babies sleep longer, but up to a quarter of babies nap for less than an hour.
6-12 months: other developments that affect sleep
From around six months, babies develop lots of new abilities that can affect sleep or make babies more difficult to settle:
- Babies learn to keep themselves awake, especially if something interesting is happening, or they’re in a place with lots of light and noise.
- Settling difficulties can happen at the same time as crawling. You might notice your baby’s sleep habits changing when he starts moving around more.
- Babies learn that things exist, even when they’re out of sight. Now that your baby knows you exist when you leave the bedroom, she might call or cry out for you.
- Separation anxiety is when your baby gets upset because you’re not around. It might mean your baby doesn’t want to go to sleep and wakes up more often in the night.