A Timeline of Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

Updated 
March 1, 2023
 | 
8
 minutes read
Written by
Mandy Treeby
Chief Baby Sleep Consultant
Medically reviewed by
Elissa Gross, DO
Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

Sleep is an essential part of your baby’s happy, healthy, development. In fact, baby’s are born with twice the number of neurons as adults, in a brain that’s less than half the size. Your baby is born primed for learning and growing, a time ofrapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development – most of which happens when they sleep.

As a new parent, you may be wondering what to expect in terms of your baby's sleep patterns during this crucial time. Rest assured the disorganized sleep that accompanies a newborn baby starts to organize around 3-4 months and while schedules will shift, by their first birthday things will start to settle down.

In this article, we explore the typical sleep patterns and schedules of babies during their first year of life and provide tips and strategies to help you ensure that your baby gets the rest they need to thrive and provide tips on how you can promote healthy sleep habits as your baby grows.

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Sleep Patterns in the First Year of Life

Know what to expect during the first year of your baby’s life with this simple breakdown by age. It is important to note that since sleep is bioligcial, you should use your baby’s adjusted age if they were born early.

Sleep Patterns for Babies Aged 0-2 Months

The sleep patterns of newborns can be unpredictable, and they can vary from one baby to another – it’s no wonder newborn sleep is often described as disorganized! Naps of 10-20mins to naps lasting a couple of hours – both are completely normal and expected. In fact, it’s sometimes easier to look at newborn sleep over a 24 hour cycle vs daytime naps and overnight sleep – since they need to wake to eat every 2-4 hours anyway.

Most newborns also don’t yet understand the difference between night and day, this is because their circadian rhythm (their internal body clock) hasn’t developed yet – hence they just aren’t biologically ready to be ‘scheduled’.

Day and night confusion tends to resolve after a few weeks, you can help your baby with this by offering lots of daylight during awake hours and ensuring naps and overnight sleep are in a pitch dark sleep space.

Tracking your newborn’s sleep using the Smart Sleep Coach byPampers™ helps you see patterns as they emerge and will sync sleeps with your baby’s biological rhythms – so you know when your baby’s sleep drive is the highest and it’s time for a nap. This is an absolute life saver during these first weeks an months!

2 Month Old Sleep Schedule

2 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Healthy sleep habits for your newborn:

  • Follow their baby's sleep cues, such as yawning, rubbing their eyes, or becoming fussy.
  • Offer lots of daylight during awake hours, to help with day / night confusion.
  • Create a calm and quiet sleep environment, that is pitch dark and using white or brown noise.
  • Swaddle, to promote a senses of security.
  • Keep nighttime feedings quiet and calm, to avoid overstimulating your baby.
  • Always ensure your newborn’s sleep space is safe, following the AAP safe sleep guidelines.

Sleep Patterns for Babies Aged 3-5 Months

Just about now your baby’s circadian rhythm is reaching maturity and they are producing enough melatonin to better regulate bedtime. Where as before a later bedtime may have been the norm, you want to consider bringing bedtime earlier now, around 7pm.

With this progression, sleep patterns are adjusting and if your baby seems to be waking more frequently during the night you may be going through the 4-month sleep regression – fear not, this too shall pass. Your baby is now fully waking between sleep cycles and this can cause some sleep disruption if they don’t yet know how to fall asleep independently.

4-month-old-sleep-schedule


4 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Healthy sleep habits for babies aged 3-5 months:

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes a bath, book, or lullaby and always ends with baby drowsy but awake.
  • Use a white or brown noise machine to help drown out loud noises and promote sleep.
  • Avoid feeding or rocking your baby to sleep, as much as possible you want to give your baby the space to practice falling asleep on their own.
  • If you’re ready to start sleep training, it’s best to start around 4-months. Start your free sleep consultation now to get started!

Sleep Patterns for Babies Aged 6-8 Months

Your baby should be in a pretty solid 3-nap schedule just now and won’t transition to 2 naps (dropping that 3rd catnap) until around 8 months – this transition can benefit from an earlier bedtime to help bridge that last wake window between nap 2 and bedtime until your baby settles into their new rhythm.

It is also very possible your baby is still feeding overnight once or twice, many babies don’t night wean until closer to 9 months of age. The great news is that overall sleep should be much more predictable now, but if night wakings are a struggle outside of feeding, the Smart Sleep Coach app can help you establish ‘ok to feed’ times.

8-month-old-sleep-schedule


8 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Healthy sleep habits for babies aged 6-8 months:

  • If your baby still needs support to fall asleep, as much as possible try to give them the space to practice doing that themselves.
  • Encourage plenty of daytime play and outside time to help burn off energy and fuel their sleep drive.
  • Be mindful of overtiredness. As they get ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps at around 8 months , move bedtime earlier to avoid them becoming overtired.

Sleep Patterns for Babies Aged 9-12 Months

By now your baby should have settled nicely into a 2-nap sleep schedule and sleep should be somewhat more predictable. That said, their increased mobility could be causing some disruption at night, many babies like to practice their new found skills at bedtime, pulling up on the crib and cruising.

It’s also likely that your baby no longer feeds to feed overnight YAY! (it goes without say that you should always check with your pediatrician before night weaning).

That said, the 8-month sleep regression can linger and sleep may not be where you want it to be. Start your free sleep consultation now to get sleep back on track fast.

11-month-old-sleep-schedule


11 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Healthy sleep habits for babies aged 9-12 months:

  • Avoid over-stimulation which can make it difficult for your baby to fall asleep, such as playing with electronic toys or watching television before bed.
  • Encouraging self-soothing, if your baby isn’t already an independent sleeper, give them the space to learn to fall asleep on their own and learn to put themselves back to sleep if they wake up during the night.
  • Regular exercise can help your baby expend energy and sleep better at night. Engage in age-appropriate activities that encourage your baby to move and explore.

Sleep Schedules from 0-12 months

The schedules shared below are a simply a representation using baby sleep averages. Every baby has a slightly different sleep drive, so your baby’s schedule may be different from what is shown. Use these as a guide and if you have concerns about your baby’s sleep, you can always reach out to your pediatrician.

Newborn Sleep Schedules 0-2 months old

Newborns need a lot of sleep, typically around 14-17 hours a day, and wake up frequently to feed. Newborns aren’t biologically ready to be scheduled, but if you use the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers app to track sleeps, the app will help you understand your baby’s natural biological rhythms as sleep starts to organize. As babies get closer to the 2-month mark, they may start to sleep for longer periods at night, but it is still really important to wake your newborn to feed every few hours!

Sample 2-month old baby sleep schedule

2-month olds follow approximately 75-90 minute wake windows

08.00am Wake Up
09.15am Nap 1
11.30am Nap 2
2.00pm Nap 3
4.30pm Nap 4
7.15pm Nap 5
9-9.30pm Bedtime

Note: At this age, babies will sleep for shorter periods throughout the day and night, with frequent waking periods to feed. It's important to establish a consistent feeding routine but there is no need to establish a strict sleep schedule at this age.

Want to know more specifically what your baby’s day might look like? Check out our schedules for a 1-month old and 2-month old.

Babies 3-5 months old Sleep Schedule

At this age, babies typically need around 14-15 hours of sleep per day, with most of their sleep consolidated into longer stretches at night. By around 4-months they should be settling into a solid 3-nap schedule.

Sample 4-month old baby sleep schedule

6-7.00am Wake Up - if not awake by 7am wake them up
09.00am Nap 1
1.00pm Nap 2
3.00pm Catnap (don't offer this later than 4pm and don't let your baby sleep past 4.30pm)
6-7.00pm Bedtime

Note: At this age, babies will start to consolidate their sleep, and have longer stretches of sleep at night with fewer nighttime feedings. Many babies will still require one or two feedings at night until 9-months of age.

Want to know more specifically what your baby’s day might look like? Check out our schedules for a 3-month old , 4-month old and 5-month old.

Babies 6-8 months old Sleep Schedule

At this age, babies typically need around 14 hours of sleep per day, with most of their sleep occurring at night. Babies may take 2-3 naps during the day, with each nap lasting around 1-2 hours. By 6-8 months of age, many babies may be able to sleep through the night without waking up for feedings, but others will still need to wake for 1-2 feedings. You can expect your baby to transition to 2 naps by around 8 months.

Sample 8-month old baby sleep schedule

6-7.00am Wake Up - if not awake by 7am wake them up
09.00am Nap 1
1.00pm Nap 2
6-7.00pm Bedtime

Note: You can expect your baby to transition to 2 naps by around 8 months, use an earlier bedtime to help with this change.

Want to know more specifically what your baby’s day might look like? Check out our schedules for a 6-month old , 7-month old and 8-month old.

Babies 9-12 months old Sleep Schedule

Babies at this age typically need 2-3 hours of daytime sleep across 2 naps and around 11-12 hours of nighttime sleep.

Sample 12-month old baby sleep schedule

6-7.00am Wake Up - if not awake by 7am wake them up
09.00am Nap 1
1.00pm Nap 2
6-7.00pm Bedtime

Note: Your baby’s schedule doesn’t change after 8 months until they transition to 1-nap which won’t happen until somewhere between 15-18 months.

Want to know more specifically what your baby’s day might look like? Check out our schedules for a 9-month old , 10-month old, 11-month old and 12-month old.

Common Sleep Challenges in the First Year of Life

Despite the typical sleep patterns of babies during their first year of life, many parents find that their babies do not sleep as much or as well as they would like. There are several reasons why babies may have difficulty sleeping, and some of the most common challenges include:

Sleep Regressions

Sleep regressions are periods when a baby's sleep patterns suddenly change, and they may begin to wake up more frequently at night or have difficulty settling down to sleep. These regressions can occur at around four months, eight months, and they are closely related to changes in your baby's physical or cognitive development.

Sleep Associations

Sleep associations are habits or behaviors that a baby associates with falling asleep. For example, a baby may need to be rocked or nursed to sleep, and they may have difficulty falling asleep without these associations. Over time, these associations can become a source of sleep problems, as baby may wake up during the night and need the same associations to fall back asleep.

Falling asleep is a learned skill and your baby needs the space and time to practice this skill. You can wean them off any sleep support / association using a consistent sleep training approach and the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers will guide you step by step through that process.

Teething

Teething can be a painful process for babies, and it can cause discomfort and disrupted sleep. Teething typically begins around six months of age, and it can last for several months, during which time the baby may experience disrupted sleep.

Colic

Colic can also cause disrupted sleep patterns for babies. Colic is a condition that causes a baby to cry excessively and inconsolably, often for several hours per day. This condition can be challenging for parents to manage, and it can make it difficult for baby to sleep.

Sources:

Baby Sleep: What to Expect in the First Year." American Academy of Pediatrics, 2020. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Getting-Your-Baby-to-Sleep.aspx

Baby Sleep: 4-6 Months." National Sleep Foundation, 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/baby-sleep-4-6-months

Baby Sleep: 7-9 Months." National Sleep Foundation, 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/baby-sleep-7-9-months

Baby Sleep: 10-12 Months." National Sleep Foundation, 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/baby-sleep-10-12-months

Infant Sleep." Stanford Children's Health, 2021. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=infant-sleep-90-P02629

Newborn Sleep Patterns: What to Expect." Mayo Clinic, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/newborn-sleep/art-20046556

Sleep Training for Babies: Techniques and Guidelines." Cleveland Clinic, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9618-sleep-training-for-babies-techniques-and-guidelines

How We Wrote This Article

The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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Your Baby Can Be A Super Sleeper

Your personalized sleep plan is a few clicks away! Step-by-step sleep training with the Smart Sleep Coach app.

Get Started

Studies show new parents can lose as much as two hours of sleep every night after their baby comes!

“Thanks to the Smart Sleep Schedule, I’ve been able to follow my baby’s natural rhythm, and stick to the wake windows. This makes a huge difference in her ability to nap longer.”

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Studies show new parents can lose as much as two hours of sleep every night after their baby comes!

What parents tell us

Thanks to the Smart Sleep Schedule, I’ve been able to follow my baby’s natural rhythm, and stick to the wake windows. This makes a huge difference in her ability to nap longer.

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FAQs:

Babies are not biologically ready to be scheduled until they reach at least 3-4 months of age – 4-months is ideal and that’s why we recommend sleep training starts at 4-months.

The 2,3,4 nap schedule uses increasing wake windows to manage your baby’s schedule – so nap 1 is 2 hours after wake up, nap 2 is 3 hours after that and bedtime is 4 hours after the end of nap 2. The problem with this schedule is it can push bedtime into the forbidden zone, that’s why we recommend following biological sleep waves instead.

All babies 0-12 months need more than 12 hours of sleep.

The best sleep schedule is one that is developmentally and biologically appropriate for your baby’s age. It should start by 7am in the morning and follow relevant wake windows with an early bedtime.

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