Sleep Guidelines for Infants

in Babies,Blog,Parenting

Sleep Guidelines for Infants

 

Keep in mind that every baby is different, but here are some basic guidelines that the typical baby will ideally fall into.

During the first 8 weeks:

Babies should only have 15-30 minutes of full awake time (sometimes even less during those first few weeks!), which means time that they actually have their eyes fully open and looking around.  A great guideline to follow during the first 8 weeks is make sure you’re putting baby back down to sleep about an hour after he woke for his feeding.  Example:  If baby woke at 9am, he would be ready to be put down for a nap around 10am.  This will give him enough time to feed, “play” for 15-30 minutes and be ready to sleep again.

8-16 weeks:

Fully awake time will increase to about 40 minutes.  A great guideline to follow during this time frame is make sure you’re putting baby back down to sleep 1-1.5 hours after he woke for his feeding.  Example:  If baby woke at 9am, he would be ready to be put down for a nap around 10am or 10:30am.  This will give him enough time to feed, “play” for about 40  minutes and be ready to sleep again.

16+ Weeks:

Fully awake time will increase to about 60 minutes.  A great guideline to follow during this time frame is make sure you’re putting baby back down to sleep 1.5-2 hours after he woke for his feeding.  Example:  If baby woke at 9am, he would be ready to be put down for a nap around 10:30am or 11:00am.  This will give him enough time to feed, “play” for about 60  minutes and be ready to sleep again.

As babies get older, their fully awake time will slowly increase, but 3-4 hours is usually about the maximum amount of time they can stay awake into the early toddler years when they are still taking 1 or 2 longer naps during the day.  Take my 16 month old, for instance.  She sleeps at night from 7pm-7am and then takes a nap around 10am for 1.5-2 hours.  She should really probably take one more nap around 3pm, but since she has such an early bedtime, that nap puts her sleeping too close to bedtime, causing her to not want to sleep for the night at 7pm.  We usually forfeit her afternoon nap and deal with a bit of crabbiness for the evening until 7pm when she’s ready for bed instead.

 

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