Baby Sleep Patterns Explained
Wondering if your baby is getting the sleep they need? Baby sleep patterns are a minefield for most parents, as every little one is different. So it certainly helps to get an understanding of what you can expect as baby develops. But when do babies change sleep patterns? Wondering how to change baby sleeping patterns as you go? There are lots of reasons why your baby may not be getting enough sleep, so it’s important to know what to expect as they grow. That’s why we’ve put together our overview of baby sleep patterns by age – a step-by-step guide to getting to know your little one.
Of course, all babies and toddlers are different, so use this as a rough guide to baby sleep patterns. But always make sure you get advice from your GP too, especially if you have any concerns about the amount your baby is (or is not!) sleeping.
Baby sleep patterns by age
So when do babies change sleep patterns? Find out our simple breakdown of baby sleep patterns by age below.
Newborn to 3 months
Newborn baby sleep patterns will vary from one to the next. In these first few days and weeks, you’ll both be learning more about how to navigate life together. At this age, your baby will typically sleep for between 15 and 18 hours a day, while feeding at regular intervals means that your younger baby sleeps in short spells of between one and three hours typically.
Up to three months, most babies can’t yet tell the difference between day and night, which makes it more difficult for them to establish a routine. As babies at this age are easily disturbed, it’s important to make sure that they have a suitable sleeping environment in place to support their new routine. Putting them in a baby sleeping bag will help create a smooth transition from feed to sleep, providing that extra security and comfort as they sleep away from your arms.
From three months onwards, you’ll find that you’re already recognising baby sleeping patterns and may be finding it easier to establish a routine. As they have more awareness of their surroundings, they’ll stay awake more during the day and sleep for longer at night. Your baby may still be waking for feeds throughout the night but not as frequently, leaving them with approximately 14-16 hours’ sleep daily.
At 6-12 months, most babies’ sleep patterns will alter. You’ll start slowing or stopping night feeds, giving them a less interrupted night’s sleep – an average of 13-14 hours daily. Lots of little ones begin teething around this age however, which may bring fresh disruption to baby sleep patterns. At this stage in their development, babies become more active and require a suitable baby mattress to accommodate their inner wriggler.
During this time, your baby will need to nap less often, with most of their sleep happening at night. Babies typically have 13-13.5 hours’ sleep nightly, with teething, growing pains and increased mobility all impacting this.
By the time your child is two, they should be sleeping for 12-13 hours and nap just once or twice during the day. To make sure that your child is snuggly all night long, you’ll need to adjust their bed as they grow. Upgrading their nursery mattress will keep them dreaming all night long and keep those baby sleep patterns intact.
At three years, most children will no longer need to nap during the day and will sleep for 12 hours overnight. To make sure your child is getting the most from their sleep, make sure they are sleeping in cosy, breathable nightwear.
How to change baby sleeping patterns
Struggling to get into a routine? It’s important to remember that every baby is different and will eventually settle into a sleeping pattern that suits you both. Be as patient as you can and enjoy the journey of working through your new life together. You don’t want to adapt their sleep pattern too much, as a baby will typically only sleep for as long as they need to. But if you’re after some more insight to help, learn more about how to get your baby into a routine and when your little one will start to sleep through the night.
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