For every new parent, getting to know your baby’s sleep schedule is essential — when your baby sleeps, you sleep. No two babies are alike so don’t be discouraged as you learn more about how your little one snoozes. We’re here to help you understand your newborn’s nap schedule with some useful information so you can find the perfect routine for you and yours.
Let’s start with the basics.
How long are newborn naps?While you might have expectations about your baby’s schedule, it’s important to keep an open mind and prepare for a lot of variation before you settle into a routine that works. Nap schedules vary immensely from baby to baby, but luckily experts have been able to provide a few research-driven predictions of what to expect for various age groups. Here’s what they’ve found:
1- to 3-month-old nap schedule
- Babies in this age group are still sleeping a lot and napping about 3-4 times daily
- 30 minutes to 2 hours per nap
4- to 6-month-old nap schedule
- 2-3 naps daily
- 1-2 hours per nap
7- to 12-month-old nap schedule
- 2 naps daily (one in the morning & one in the afternoon)
- 1-2 hours per nap
12-month-old nap schedule
- Expect about 2 naps a day
- 2-4 hours per nap
Frequently asked questions about newborns & naps
You probably have just as many questions as you have expectations for your newborn’s sleep schedule, and we don’t blame you! Let us help make this journey for you and your bundle of joy as seamless as possible with some guidance on the following most frequently asked questions about newborns and naps:
What if my baby won’t nap?
Don’t worry, you’re far from being alone on this one. One of the most common reasons your newborn might be avoiding naptime is that they’re simply not used to sleeping on their back yet. You can try to make their crib as cozy as possible, try swaddling, offering them a pacifier and testing out different relaxing methods to see what sticks. If nothing seems to work, reach out to your healthcare provider with any concerns.
When do babies transition from two naps to one?
Research shows that babies often fully transition from two naps to one after their first birthday. However, it’s always important to remember that this varies from baby to baby.
How to wake a baby from a nap?
If you find yourself in a position where you need to wake up your baby, some simple techniques might work for you. We always recommend the most gentle approach possible, which can include anything from talking and singing to gentle stimulation like lightly caressing their cheek. Find what works best for your baby and go from there.
When do babies start napping longer?
It’s always important to keep in mind that every baby is different. However, many new parents start to notice their little ones napping longer around the 4- to 6-month mark. If you’re finding it difficult to keep your baby snoozing, try napping hacks like managing the sounds and lighting in your home, introducing white noise or offering a meal before naptime.
As new parents, it’s important to be patient with yourself and your newborn when it comes to sleeping, eating, and everything in between. Your baby’s nap schedule may be completely different from the predictions we highlighted above, and that’s okay! Try various tactics that work for your family, stay informed, and reach out to your healthcare provider with questions along the way. You’ll find the right naptime routine for your baby in no time.
Karp, D. H. (2022, June 30). How much do babies sleep? A sleep schedule for your baby's first year. Happiest Baby. Retrieved July 24, 2022, https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/baby/first-year-sleep-schedule
Sleep Advisor. (2022, March 17). How to get babies to take longer naps - 8 easy tips for day and night. Sleep Advisor. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.sleepadvisor.org/how-to-get-babies-to-nap-longer
Waking up is (sometimes) hard to do. HealthyChildren.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Waking-Up-Is-Sometimes-Hard-to-Do
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provided for any medical advice, diagnoses, treatment, or health objectives.