Baby Sleep Schedule Expectations
Have you ever tried to do a google search on a baby sleep schedule? When my kids were newborns, I was always trying to get as much information on this as possible.
I spent so much time researching baby sleep because I was desperate for more sleep for myself.
I knew there might not be an immediate solution, but I also wanted to get an idea when it might get better.
Unfortunately, my google searches turned up conflicting information and baby sleep schedules that didn’t match what my babies were doing.
In the end, this led to unneeded stress regarding sleep for my kids.
Now that I have gotten through the first year with 3 different children, I have rounded up answers to my biggest baby sleep schedule questions, including:
- Baby nap length
- The best bedtime for baby
- When your baby will sleep through the night
- An expected baby sleep schedule with a sample baby sleep chart
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Baby Naps At 0-6 Months Old
Baby naps are definitely something I struggled with in the 0-6 month time frame.
I did learn that during the first 2-3 months of your baby’s life, naps are not always predictable.
The most important thing during this time is knowing how much time there should be between naps. Check out the baby sleep chart at the end of this post for this information.
Then, at 3-6 months, my kids’ naps started getting shorter and this stressed me out.
The internet was telling me their naps should be at least an hour long.
Well, this was just not the case for 2 out of 3 of my children!
Based on my experience, if your baby is 6 months old or younger he does not need to take naps that are longer than 1 hour.
By 6-9 months old, all my kids were great sleepers (with the help of a little sleep training).
The point I’m trying to make is, if your baby is taking short naps and is younger than 6 months, do not stress about it. There is a good chance it is out of your control.
I looked up all the tips and hacks to “fix” short nap problems.
None of them worked. But, around 6 months old, my kids just started taking longer naps on their own.
There are certain things that are important to do, to help your baby sleep well.
A quick list includes:
- Employing the 5 S’s of baby sleep from the Happiest Baby On The Block
- Side or stomach position (Note: this is NOT how you would lay your baby down to sleep, BACK IS BEST. This is for when you are holding or rocking your baby)
- Having a baby bedtime routine
- Laying baby down to sleep when sleepy, but still awake
- Using black out curtains in the nursery
If you are doing these things and your 0-6 month old baby is still taking short naps, do not worry. It will get better as he or she gets older.
Is Baby’s Bedtime Too Late?
Another thing I did not expect as a new parent were late bedtimes.
Until approximately 6 months old two out of three of my kids would stay up late, until 11pm or midnight.
The positive side to this was they did not wake up very early in the morning.
However, this late bedtime worried me. Was it normal? I had always been under the impression that babies had early bedtimes.
Well, just like short napping, around 6 months of age, both of my babies’ bedtime slowly started moving earlier.
Additionally, at 6 months, it becomes easier to control your baby’s sleep schedule.
At this point, your baby is most likely taking a predictable 3 naps per day.
This will allow you to move your baby’s naps and bedtime to a schedule that works for your family.
To do this, put your baby to bed 15 minutes earlier every 2 nights until you reach the bedtime you would like for your baby.
What Does Baby Sleeping Through The Night Mean?
Before we discuss when your baby will sleep through the night, we need to define what sleeping through the night for a baby means.
Without any previous knowledge, I thought sleeping through the night would mean a 7-8 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep.
I WAS WRONG!
For a 3 month old baby, sleeping through the night is 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, while at 6 months this is extended to 5-6 hours.
So, this brings us to the question of when will your baby have 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, aka, when will your baby sleep through the night?
I know it might be disappointing to find out a baby sleeping through the night is only 4-6 hours of sleep, but there is good news.
The first time this stretch of uninterrupted sleep happens, you will feel incredibly well rested, like you slept a solid 8 hours.
So, that’s exciting, you finally feel like you got some solid sleep.
But, then reality kicks in, and after a week or so, you start to wonder when your baby will start really sleeping through the night.
Seven or eight hours of sleep would be absolute heaven right now.
When Will Your Baby Sleep Through The Night?
If you do a quick google search on when your baby will sleep through the night, you will get all sorts of varying answers.
You will find some people saying their baby slept through the night since he came home from the hospital. While others are saying their baby is 1 year old and has never slept through the night.
And guess what, neither of these scenarios makes you feel better.
It can be frustrating to not have a definitive answer. But, the truth is no one can guarantee when your baby will sleep through the night.
Of course, there are things you can do to help teach your baby to sleep through the night.
Although every baby is different, I will share that at 6-7 months old all three of my babies were reliably sleeping through the night.
I think it is reasonable to expect that you will be able to get your baby sleeping through the night around the same age as my children (6-7 months).
Just make you sure you have have the right expectations. Maybe your baby will sleep through the night at an earlier age or maybe it will take your baby a little bit longer.
Sleep Training At 6 Months Old
At 6-7 months your baby has a reliable napping schedule. Once you can predict your baby’s naps, you will be in position to start sleep training your baby.
If you commit to sleep training, you should be able to get your baby sleeping through the night within 3-4 days.
One of my twins did not require any sleep training and just started sleeping through the night at 6 months.
On the other hand, we used this cry it out method, to sleep train our other babies.
Although letting your baby cry is hard, it is worth it. Everyone will be happier in your house because they will be getting the right amount of sleep.
Additionally, “cry it out”, does not mean you put your baby to bed and let them cry without ever checking on them.
You will check on your baby to make sure they are okay. Then you will wait for longer increments before checking on your baby again.
I found a video baby monitor to be especially useful for sleep training, because it puts your mind at ease to know your baby is safe.
Baby Sleep Schedule Chart
Finally, I have assembled the baby sleep schedule chart below for the first year.
The most important thing to focus on is the time between naps.
For example, even if your baby only takes a 15 or 20 min nap he will likely still stay up the recommended time between naps.
You will notice I have only listed time between naps and total sleep per day.
If your baby is close to these two numbers then you are on the right track.
Additionally, it is reasonable to expect that your baby could have an off day every so often. Especially if your baby has been sick or your family is traveling.
No matter what, I’m sure you are doing your best. Hang in there, and you should be able to start getting more sleep for yourself soon too.
I hope this post helped answer some of your biggest baby sleep schedule questions and maybe even helped put your mind at ease.
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