When Do Babies Sleep Longer

Getting Baby to Sleep More So You Can Too

Your uterus is a cozy, but boring, place. During those 40 long weeks of pregnancy, your growing baby spent much of her time sleeping. That habit is one of the reasons new babies sleep so much. They're also doing a lot of growing as their bodies continue to develop, and sleep supports that growth. But while your baby needs to sleep a lot, she'll do it in short bursts for the first few weeks or months of life. She'll probably sleep for longer periods by the time she's a few months old.

How Much Sleep Does a Baby Need?

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How to Help a 9-Month-Old Sleep All Night

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Just like adults, babies' sleep needs vary from person to person. A newborn may need as little as 11 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, or as much as 19 hours. Most new babies sleep around 16 hours per day, give or take an hour or two. By the time your infant is around 4 months old, he may need just 14 hours or so. Some infants between 4 and 12 months need as little as 10 hours of sleep or as much as 18 hours. Once he reaches 12 months, expect your baby to sleep somewhere between 10 and 14 hours per day.

Most babies need about the same amount of sleep from day to day. A newborn usually won't follow any predictable sleep schedule, instead sleeping on and off throughout the day and night. It's only at around 3 months or so that you may be able to predict exactly when your baby will be ready to fall asleep and wake up.

If you have an extra-sleepy newborn, you might worry that he's sleeping too much. Some newborns will sleep so heavily that they need to be woken up to feed. If your newborn sleeps for four hours without waking, you may have to rouse him to eat. But once he's established a solid pattern of weight gain and is developing normally, you can probably let him sleep and trust that he'll wake up when he's ready. Talk to your pediatrician if he's sleepy all the time, isn't interested in eating or isn't putting on weight.

When Will My Baby Sleep for Longer Than Three Hours?

Most very young infants will only sleep for periods of two to three hours between feedings because their stomachs are so small that they need to eat often. As your baby grows, she won't need to eat as frequently, and her stamina and strength will build to the point that she can be awake for several hours between naps.

By the age of 3 months, most babies start sleeping for longer stretches overnight. There's a ton of variation in how long babies sleep at what age, though, and it may even vary from night to night. Your 2-month-old may sleep for six hours straight one night and no more than three hours straight the next night. At 6 months old, your baby may sleep for eight hours, wake to nurse and doze for a few more hours—or she may still wake every three hours like clockwork.

How Can I Get My Baby to Sleep Longer at Night?

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The Sleeping Habits of 3-Month-Olds

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Babies set their own schedules. Even if you give your infant a dark, comfortable sleep environment, feed him before bed and rock him gently to lull him into a state of drowsiness, he may wake up after two hours.

The best way you can encourage your baby to sleep longer at night is to tire him out during the day. When he's awake, keep him in a bright room and stimulate him with tummy time, music and play. As nighttime approaches, dim the lights and speak quietly to signal to him that sleep time is imminent.

If he's not on a regular sleep schedule by 6 months, mention it to the pediatrician. As long as he continues to put on weight and hit milestones, your baby's sleep habits are probably healthy.