Napping for Babies - How Much is Needed and is it Necessary?
It’s natural for babies to set their own sleeping patterns when they are first born, but as they get older needs change. The amount of sleep needed for a baby to grow in both brain and body development varies, but is essential and will happen without much help. Back to Top of your health online page
From the moment your baby is born to approximately five years of age, naps are an important part of allowing the body to recuperate and be able to properly grow and learn. After a while, you will almost immediately be able to tell if your baby needs a nap by his or her fussiness.
It may seem like an infant is always sleeping, which is probably right! On average, an infant will have two to four hour naps throughout the day, especially after a feeding and the changing of a diaper. Infants are very tired as their little bodies are growing and adjusting to this new world.
Given this average that goes around the clock, an infant may need up to eight naps during the day hours totaling approximately 16 hours of sleep. Babies will have few spurts of time that they are awake, but it will be minimal during those first six to eight weeks.
Three to Four Months Old
As your baby grows, he or she will become more alert and awake for longer periods of time, but will require around 15 hours of sleep per day. This means that your baby will take between three to five naps per day that may evenly be spread throughout the day.
At this point, you may want to encourage the longer wake periods during the day and naps that are no longer than two to three hours each, in order for your baby to start to sleep through the night. This is the critical stage of beginning to teach your baby about day and night sleeping.
Six Months Old
At six months old, your baby has probably already begun to eat baby cereal and will start to take only two naps per day – one in the mid-morning and one in the mid-afternoon. At this age, babies need an average of 14 hours of sleep to continue with their growth and development.
This age also marks the point that your baby should definitely be sleeping through the night. This is also the time that you want to introduce a napping routine. Have a set schedule and time for your baby to take both the morning and afternoon naps. A schedule, if followed, will most likely give your baby not only the sleep he or she needs, but a routine that can be counted on.
Nine to Twelve Months Old
Once your baby reaches nine months of age, you will notice that he or she no longer needs the morning nap and is full of energy until after lunch. At this age it is very common for a baby to only take one nap in the afternoon.
On average, a baby between the nine and 12 month age will sleep approximately 13 to 14 hours per day. Babies are usually sleeping through the night if you stick with a routine where they know when it is nap time and when it is time to sleep for the night.
Learn more about your health online when you read the rest of our information here about: Childrens Sleep Requirements
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