One of the toughest parts about sleep training (in my opinion) is setting a successful nap time routine throughout the day and staying consistent with that routine. Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Lauren Lowenstein helps share lots of great nap time tips as well as some insight on how much sleep your child should be getting every day.
- About how many hours of sleep should a baby be getting throughout an entire day/night?
Such a great question. Many parents don’t realize there is an average amount of sleep their child should be getting each day and night! The biggest misconception is when a parent believes their child will sleep really well at night because they are so tired from lack of sleep during the day. I can not stress enough how false this is.
A child will sleep easier, longer, and more soundly when they are well rested. When a child’s sleep tank is full from naps during the day, they are set up for success at night.
Age determines the amount of hours for sleep:
- 0-4 Weeks: 16-18 hours of sleep about half during the day and half at night
- 5-8 Weeks: 15.5-17 hours of sleep 8-10 at night and the rest spread over a number of naps
- 9-12 Weeks: 15 hours; 10 at night, 5 hours over 3-4 naps
- 4-5 Months: 10-11 at night, 4-5 hours over 3 naps
- 6-8 Months: 10-12 at night and 3.5 hours over 2-3 naps
- 9-12 Months: 11 at night, 3 hours over 2 naps
- 12-18 Months: 11.25 night 2.5 hours for nap (2 naps for 12 mo old and 1 nap for 18 mo old)
- 18 mo- 2.5 years: 11.25 at night, 2-2.5 hour nap
- 2.5-5 years old: 10-11 at night, 1.5 hour nap (most children drop naps at 3)
- How many naps per day do you recommend?
Depending on the age of the child the number of naps will vary as I mentioned in more detail in the previous question. An infant’s naps typically organize around the end of 12 weeks, but they may still seem all over the place. It becomes a bit more consistent as a baby transitions to 3 naps with the first 2 being the more solid naps and the last nap of the day a shorter cat nap in the late afternoon.
A baby will typically drop to 2 naps closer to 9 months old, and one nap around 18 months.
Once most children drop their nap around 3 years old, it’s a great time to implement an afternoon quiet time for their child to still have the opportunity to decompress and relax. This may look like quiet play, books, listening to music, coloring, or just quietly laying in bed.
- Any tips for nap time and setting a nap schedule?
Oh I could go on and on with this question but I will try to limit it! There is no set nap time that looks perfect for all children. Your 8 month old may be napping at 9 AM but your friends 8 month old may not be napping until 10:30 AM. Each nap time will look different because every baby and child is different. Not all 9 month old’s have the same capacity to be awake for 3 hour periods.
Sleep cues and awake windows are the two biggest factors when it comes to successful naps.
An awake window is the amount of time from one wake up to the next nap or bedtime. For example, a 5 month old who is taking 3 naps a day and wakes up at 7 AM is likely to be ready for a nap around 8:30 AM, or 90 minutes to 2 hours after they wake up. After their morning nap they will be ready for their second nap 2-3 hours from the time they woke up. Once you are aware of this it is easier to predict naps and what your child’s awake window is so that you can avoid letting them get overtired.
Keep your baby from becoming overstimulated or over tired. Both of these will cause a cortisol rush and a vicious cycle that can feel impossible to break. When a baby is showing tired signs like eye rubbing, ear rubbing, yawning, zoning out, turning their head, becoming clingy, this is them telling you “I’m tired, put me down now!” There is about a 10 minute window before a cortisol rush begins and then a tired baby becomes an overtired cranky crying baby refusing to take a nap. An alert baby easily becomes overstimulated.
Get rid of crib mobiles, lights, invest in some blackout curtains, and a sound machine. When you start learning your baby’s sleep signs and sleep windows get them into a dark room and it’s likely you will see how tired they really are before you actually miss their window.
A nap routine should mimic their bedtime routine. I tell my clients to do an abbreviated version of their bedtime routine.
The Recap on Nap Time Tips:
- Look for your child’s sleep cues
- Know their awake window
- Invest in black out curtains and a sound machine
- Nap time should mimic their bedtime routine
Lauren offers free 15 minute phone consultations so you can find out if gentle sleep coaching is the right method for you! She also offers different packages and pricing on her website. You can contact her via email, see her contact information below.
Have sleep training advice you would like to share? If so, please comment below or reach out to www.makingmemorieswithmyminis.com/contact.