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Sleeping Through the Night

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

All children are individuals. Their sleep needs may be more or less.

  • Newborns will sleep between eighteen and twenty hours per day. This sleep will only be in clumps, with two to three hours being the norm.
  • Two to Four Month Olds will sleep between 15 to 18 hours per day. This includes nap time. Babies this age may nap up to three times per day.
  • Four to Twelve Month Olds will sleep between 12 to 15 hours per day. Nap time will decrease from three naps per day to two naps per day.
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  • One Year Olds will sleep between 10 to 13 hours per day. This sleep will include two naps which will decrease to one nap by the child’s second birthday.
  • Two and Three Year Olds will sleep between 12 to 14 hours per day. Children this age will still have a nap in the early afternoon.
  • Three to Six Year Olds will sleep between 10 to 12 hours. Afternoon naps generally subside around five years of age.
  • Seven to Twelve Year Olds will sleep between 10 to 11 hours each night.
  • Twelve to Eighteen Year Olds will sleep between 8 to 10 hours each night.

When Should My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Babies will start to sleep for longer periods of time around the third to fourth months. This extended sleep should be placed in the day when it corresponds with “night-time” sleep. Babies tend to be early risers. A young baby who wakes at five in the morning, after being put to bed at nine or ten in the evening, is a baby who sleeps through the night.

What If My Baby Cries or Resists Bedtime?

Experts agree that having a routine, or schedule, in the home is the easiest way to get a baby or young child to sleep through the night. A routine can be established for infants as small as two months of age. An evening bath, singing lullabies, or a ritual such as telling objects and people in the home good night should be implemented. This will accustom the child to going to bed--and he or she will be secure in knowing that all is well and predictable.

It is normal for a baby to cry when he or she is put to bed. It is important that caregivers are predictable in how they respond to the cries. A child will learn that his or her cries will eventually be rewarded with being picked up if that is what happens when he or she cries. If the child is not sick, teething, hungry, or wet it is acceptable to let an infant cry. However, parents should enter the room every few minutes to soothe the child without picking him or her up. This will reassure the baby that you are still available.

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