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Navigating the Newborn Sleep Roller Coaster: A Year-Long Guide

baby newborn newborn care newborn sleep newborn support Feb 18, 2024

Embarking on the journey of parenthood comes with its sleep-related challenges, especially during the first year of your baby's life. While newborns and sleep schedules might seem like an unlikely pair, rest assured that establishing a rhythm is not only possible but crucial for both you and your little one's well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we'll unravel the mysteries of your baby's sleep schedule throughout the first year, from newborn fuzziness to the exciting milestones of toddler sleep.

Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule: Year One

Parents often find themselves yearning for a good night's sleep, yet navigating the intricacies of baby sleep can be perplexing. Questions about napping, bedtime, and nighttime sleep are common, and I'm here to provide the answers. Let's dispel some myths and set realistic expectations for your baby's sleep journey.

Baby Sleep Schedules by Age

0- to 2-Month Sleep Schedule

  • Total sleep: 14 to 18 hours
  • Daytime sleep: 6 to 8 hours
  • Nighttime sleep: 8 to 10 hours*

2- to 4-Month Sleep Schedule

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours
  • Daytime sleep: 4 to 6 hours
  • Nighttime sleep: 8 to 10 hours*

4- to 12-Month Sleep Schedule

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours**
  • Daytime sleep: 3 to 5 hours
  • Nighttime sleep: 9 to 11 hours
  • Breastfed newborns wake about every 2 to 3 hours, and formula-fed babies do so roughly every 3 to 4 hours. ** About 62% of 6-month-olds can sleep in 6-hour stretches a night; 43% sleep for 8-hour stretches.

Baby Sleep Schedule: Birth to 2 Months

Newborns operate on their schedule, with circadian rhythms yet to develop fully. Daytime wake/sleep cycles are brief, with frequent waking for feeding. Here's what to expect:

  • Total sleep: 14 to 18 hours a day
  • Wake time usually starts around 7 am
  • Napping: Up to eight hours a day in short cycles
  • Bedtime: Often around 10 pm
  • Nighttime sleep: Drifting on and off, punctuated by feedings every 2 to 3 hours

Sleep Tips for Newborns to 2-Month-Olds:

  • Activate Baby’s calming reflex: Use white noise, swaddling, and motion for better sleep.
  • Consider SNOO: A smart bassinet providing white noise, motion, and swaddling in one.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 2 to 4 Months

As your baby's days and nights begin to align, new challenges emerge, including the 3-month sleep regression. Here's a snapshot:

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours
  • Wake time around 6 am
  • Napping: Two to three daily naps, totaling 4 to 6 hours
  • Bedtime often around 9 pm
  • Nighttime sleep: Longer unbroken sleep, ranging from five to eight hours

Sleep Tips for 2 to 4-Month-Olds:

  • Tweak naptime: Gently wake them if a nap exceeds 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Try a dream feed: Add a feeding before you turn in for the night.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 4 to 8 Months

The fourth trimester concludes, and sleep patterns become more predictable. Be prepared for the 4-month sleep regression:

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours
  • Wake time between 6 and 8 am
  • Napping: Two to three naps, totaling 3 to 5 hours
  • Bedtime often between 7 and 9 pm
  • Nighttime sleep: Unbroken sleep of 6 to 10 hours

Sleep Tips for 4 to 8-Month-Olds:

  • Continue with the 5 S’s: Use white noise consistently for better sleep cues.
  • Help with teething: Manage gum pain with comforting white noise.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 8 to 12 Months

Sleep can become unpredictable again due to separation anxiety and newfound skills. Prepare for the 8-month sleep regression:

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours
  • Wake time around 6 to 7 am
  • Napping: Two naps, totaling 2 to 4 hours
  • Bedtime between 7 and 9 pm
  • Nighttime sleep: A glorious 7 to 10 hours

Sleep Tips for 8 to 12-Month-Olds:

  • Tackle hunger: Add extra fat during evening feeds.
  • Offer extra pacifiers: Provide comfort when needed.
  • Consider a nightlight: Use a dim nightlight for a familiar sleep space.

Baby Sleep Schedule: 12 Months

Happy birthday to your little one! Toddler sleep begins, introducing new challenges:

  • Total sleep: 12 to 16 hours
  • Wake time between 6 and 7 am
  • Napping: Two naps, totaling 2 to 4 hours
  • Bedtime between 7 and 9 pm
  • Nighttime sleep: Longest stretch averages 7 to 10 hours

Sleep Tips for 12-Month-Olds:

  • Communicate differently: Explore toddler-friendly communication.
  • Offer a lovey: Introduce a comforting lovey for security.
  • Be flexible: Adjust sleep schedules based on your tot's needs.

Final Thoughts on Baby Sleep Schedules

While every baby is unique, armed with the right information, you can navigate the sleep roller coaster with confidence. Remember that flexibility is key, and as your baby grows, so will their sleep patterns. Embrace the journey, celebrate milestones, and cherish the


Want more? Discover our best-selling course! 

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What You'll Gain:

  1. Understanding Normal Newborn Sleep: Explore what is typical for a newborn and how sleep patterns evolve in the first three months.
  2. Establishing Routines & Schedules: Learn to create effective pre-sleep routines and work towards a manageable schedule for both you and your newborn.
  3. Proven Tips & Tricks: Receive practical advice and time-tested tricks to help you achieve your goal of peaceful nights and enjoyable days. Click here to dive deeper into the secrets!

"Experience practical and easy-to-follow advice from Drs. Sarah and Alicia in this course! I felt well-prepared for the newborn sleep phase, not only in helping my baby sleep better but also in understanding how my partner and I can support each other in getting more rest!"


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