Naps in the first year of life

Did you know that naps are as important as night sleep? Many parents focus only on improving nighttime and pay less attention to daytime, letting baby sleep as long or as short as the baby wants any time of day. On the other side of the spectrum, some parents strictly stick to both day time schedule and nighttime sleep. If any of those approaches work for you and your family, that’s great! 🙂 I like a golden mean. Following the schedule and at the same time watching baby’s cues. Below you will find average nap guidelines for children 0-12 months. But remember each child is different and what works for one child might not work for another.

Babies 0-5 months

Babies at this age sleep A LOT! In the first months, they can have even 5-6 naps a day and toward 4-5 months the amount of day time naps reduces to 3-4 naps. Daytime sleep develops after nighttime sleep is fully established and naps during the first 5 months can be erratic and unpredictable. The most important is to follow your child and watch his sleepy cues. 5 minutes nap is not as restful as 2 hours nap so remember to watch your child and put him down when you see that he is getting sleepy

Babies 6-8 months

Children between 6-8 months take 2-3 naps a day. One in the morning, one in the early afternoon and one a “bonus nap” in the late afternoon. The “bonus nap”  helps your Little One get through the rest of the day without getting overtired. Children get about 3-3.5 hours of sleep during the day split into 3 naps.

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Children 9-12 months

Most children drop the “bonus nap” at this age and transition to 2 naps a day. The morning nap gets shorter and the afternoon nap stretches to around 2 hours. The afternoon sleep is also pushed a little bit later in a day and it usually starts around 3 hours from the end of the morning rest.

Children 13-18 months

Toddlers transition from two naps to one. You can read more about the transition here. One “nap of the day” starts around 12:30 – 1:00 pm and lasts about 2-2.5 hours.

Children 18 months and older

Children continue to have one nap until they reach 3-4 years. Remember that dropping the nap doesn’t mean that your child won’t need rest during the day or even occasional nap. Give him an option to take a nap or have quiet time instead. If he doesn’t want to sleep it is ok, he can quietly play in his room or bed. But if he is very tired he has an option to get the rest he needs 🙂

Sleep tight!
Ola & Dorota

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