MS, RD, LDN, CBS
Janel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University. As the recipient of the 2010 Massachusetts Young Dietitian of the Year award, she believes in making healthy eating simple, sustainable, and delicious.
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Sleep is essential for your baby’s growth and development. Babies aged 4 to 12 months sleep an average of about 12-16 hours during a 24-hour period.1 While the amount of sleep your baby needs will not change much, the way their sleep is distributed throughout the day and night will change with age and developmental stage.2 These changing sleep patterns and nap schedules are not only completely normal, they are expected.
Here are examples of typical infant sleep patterns for babies by age. Note that not all babies follow the below patterns, and that’s okay!
At this age, your baby’s circadian rhythm begins to develop, allowing your little one to begin to have longer stretches of sleep at night.3
Nighttime sleep is generally 10.5-12 hours (which may include 1-2 overnight feedings).4
Daytime sleep is generally 3-4 hours spread over 3-4 naps.4
As of 9 months, many babies are sleeping through the night, though some continue to wake for feeds.7 Should you want to gently wean baby off nighttime feedings, encourage lots of daytime feeding sessions. Keeping your baby full during the day may help reduce your baby’s hunger at night.10
Nighttime infant sleep patterns are generally 10.5-12 hours (which may include 0-2 overnight feedings).8
Daytime sleep becomes more predictable, usually with 2 to 3 naps, and may look something like this:
Read more: Dropping Night Feedings
At this age, your baby can likely withstand longer periods of wakefulness and may fall into a regular 2 nap-per-day sleep pattern after dropping the morning or late afternoon nap.9
Nighttime sleep is generally 10.5-12 hours. Night feedings may no longer be biologically necessary for many babies at this age,13 although some families choose to continue with overnight feedings. Should this work for your family, there is no harm in following baby’s lead!
Daytime sleep is generally 2 naps totaling about 3 hours with the schedule looking something like this:
Your baby should now be able to withstand at least 4 hours of wakefulness until bedtime. It may be helpful to shift bedtime slightly earlier as your little one adjusts to a 2-nap schedule.9
You may find that your little one has a sleep pattern all their own. And this may be different than any pattern listed here or any patterns you hear about from friends and family. As long as your little one seems well-rested and wakes up happily on their own, they are likely getting enough sleep.
There are times that your little one may suddenly goes from a regular sleeping pattern to not sleeping well at all. This may be a sleep regression. During a sleep regression your baby may wake up more often, may have a more difficult time falling asleep, and may try to skip or change naps. But know that with time and patience your little one will eventually go back to a more predictable sleep pattern.
To help get through a sleep regression or any adjustment in sleep pattern, strive to maintain a general sleep schedule, and provide your little one with a safe and comfortable sleep space. This way you’ll be giving your child the opportunity to get the sleep they need for healthy development.
Read more: What are Sleep Regressions
When your little one seems to be fighting hard against sleep, it can be tempting to have them skip a nap so they sleep better at night. Unfortunately this often backfires, potentially causing your child to sleep worse.14, 15. Additionally, consistently not getting enough sleep may lead to some difficult behaviors and health issues down the line.16
Read more: How To Help Your Older Baby Sleep Well at Night
If you are not sure whether your baby is getting the right amount of sleep or following a typical infant sleep pattern for their age, keep a log of their sleep. Things to keep track of include: the time your child actually falls asleep, the times your child wakes up during the night and in the morning, and the number and length of each daytime nap.
Make small changes in your baby’s sleep schedule as their biological pattern changes. For example, when your 9-month-old no longer needs a third nap, adjust their bedtime 30-60 minutes earlier so they do not become overtired in the evening.9
And always encourage healthy sleep in an optimal sleeping environment
Read more: How to Help Your Baby Sleep Well at Night
Light has a strong impact on the circadian rhythm.12 Expose your baby to light, especially natural daylight, at the times when you will want them to be awake. Keep your baby’s environment dark and offer very low stimulation activities at night during the time you want them to be sleeping (even if your little one is not sleeping!).12
*Remember that not all babies follow the below patterns; their wake up and sleep times may be different as may the number of naps that they take – this is okay and may still be normal!
Total day sleep = 1.5 to 4 hours
Total night sleep = 11.5 to 13 hours
Total sleep in 24 hours = 13 to 17 hours
Total daytime sleep = 2 to 3.5 hours
Total nighttime sleep = 10 to 12.5 hours
Total sleep in 24 hours = 12 to 16 hours
Total daytime sleep = 2 to 4 hours
Total nighttime sleep = 10 to 11 hours
Total sleep in 24 hours = 12 to 15 hours
sources: 2, 3
We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond. Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday – Friday 8am-8pm (EST), and Saturday – Sunday 8am-4pm (EST). Chat Now!
Read more about the experts that help write our content!
How to Help Your Baby Sleep Well at Night
How can I help my newborn (0-12 weeks) sleep well at night?
Sleep Patterns: What’s Typical for a Newborn
Sleep Regressions and How to Move Past Them
How to Manage Your Baby’s Early Morning Wakeups
1. American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Supports Child Sleep Guidelines. Accessed 30 July 2021. https://healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/AAP-Supports-Childhood-Sleep-Guidelines.aspx
2. Mindell, J.A., Leichman, E.S., Composto, J., Lee, C., Bhullar, B. and Walters, R.M. (2016), Development of infant and toddler sleep patterns: real-world data from a mobile application. J Sleep Res, 25: 508-516. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.12414
3. Galland BC, Taylor BJ, Elder DE, Herbison P. Normal sleep patterns in infants and children: a systematic review of observational studies. Sleep Med Rev. 2012 Jun;16(3):213-22.
4. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, DonCarlos L, Hazen N, Herman J, Katz ES, Kheirandish-Gozal L, Neubauer DN, O’Donnell AE, Ohayon M, Peever J, Rawding R, Sachdeva RC, Setters B, Vitiello MV, Ware JC, Adams Hillard PJ. National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health. 2015 Mar;1(1):40-43. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29073398/
5. Bruni O, Baumgartner E, Sette S, et al. Longitudinal study of sleep behavior in normal infants during the first year of life. J Clin Sleep Med. 2014;10(10):1119-1127. Published 2014 Oct 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4173090/
6. American Academy of Pediatrics. Getting Your Baby to Sleep. Accessed 2 August 2021. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Getting-Your-Baby-to-Sleep.aspx
7. Henderson JM, France KG, Blampied NM. The consolidation of infants’ nocturnal sleep across the first year of life. Sleep Med Rev. 2011 Aug;15(4):211-20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21051245/
8. Stanford Children’s Health. Infant Sleep. Accessed 2 August 2021. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=infant-sleep-90-P02237.
9. Mayo Clinic. Baby Naps: Daytime Sleep Tips. Accessed 2 August 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/baby-naps/art-20047421
10. Brown A, Harries V. Infant sleep and night feeding patterns during later infancy: association with breastfeeding frequency, daytime complementary food intake, and infant weight. Breastfeed Med. 2015 Jun;10(5):246-52. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25973527/
11. Tham EK, Schneider N, Broekman BF. Infant sleep and its relation with cognition and growth: a narrative review. Nat Sci Sleep. 2017;9:135-149. Published 2017 May 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440010/
12. Harrison Y. The relationship between daytime exposure to light and night-time sleep in 6-12-week-old infants. J Sleep Res. 2004 Dec;13(4):345-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2004.00435.x. PMID: 15560769. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15560769/
13. NIH National Library of Medicine. Bedtime habits for infants and children. Accessed 10 August 2021. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002392.htm
14. Thorpe K, Staton S, Sawyer E, et al. Napping, development and health from 0 to 5 years: a systematic review. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2015;100:615-622. https://adc.bmj.com/content/100/7/615
15. Cleveland Clinic. The 6 Best Ways to Make Your Baby Tired (and 3 Things NOT to do). Accessed 10 August 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-6-best-ways-to-make-your-baby-tired-and-3-things-not-to-do/
16. American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need? Accessed 10 August 2021. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sleep/Pages/healthy-sleep-habits-how-many-hours-does-your-child-need.aspx