Baby

How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?

Originally featured on Philly Baby Bump 

http://phillybabybump.com/how-much-sleep-does-my-baby-need/

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Here’s a bit of advice when it comes to babies and sleep…. Do not underestimate how much sleep they need!

I got stuck for a week or two thinking that if I kept my baby awake more during the day she would sleep better at night. Oh how wrong I was. In the words of the author Kim West, “sleep begets sleep.” Kim West, also known as the Sleep Lady, is the author of the book, “The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight.” This book was a blessed encounter that I happened to come across on Amazon when my baby was two months old. Things changed around our household as we strategically adapted the length and amount of her daytime sleep. Lo and behold, the new nap-times helped her sleep at night!

Just recently it was interesting to see how my now six-month old daughter began to have trouble sleeping through the night again. Once I reviewed how much day-time sleep she was getting, I adjusted it according to Kim’s guidelines and it worked just as it did before. This time around my daughter was getting too much day-time sleep. I was letting her sleep five hours a day like a four-month old when in reality she only needed 3 ½ hours a day.

The chart below gives a sleep guideline based on the baby’s age and time of day.  In her book, Kim notes that during the first three months after birth, it is fully expected that your baby’s night-time sleep will be interrupted with feedings. At month four, however, and with a doctor’s approval that the baby is growing sufficiently, you can begin to decrease night-time feedings.

Age Day-Time Sleep Night-Time Sleep Total
 1 Month

(0-4 weeks)

 8 – 9 hours

(spread over 4 naps)

 8 – 9 hours  16 – 18 hours
 2 Months

(5-8 weeks)

 6-7 hours

(spread over 3 or 4 naps)

 8 ½ – 10 hours  15 ½ – 17 hours
3 Months

(9-12 weeks)

 5 hours

(spread over 3 naps)

 10 hours  15 hours
4 – 5 Months 4 – 5 hours

(spread over 3 naps)

8 hours building to

10 or 11 hours

(without a feeding)

14 – 16 hours
6 – 8 Months

 

3 ½ hours

(spread over 2 or 3 naps)

11 hours

(uninterrupted sleep)

14 ½ hours
9 – 12 Months 3 hours

(spread over 2 naps)

11 hours 14 hours

In her book, Kim West continues from month 12 all the way to 5 years. She offers a gentle, proven solution called the sleep-lady shuffle as an alternative to the “cry-it-out” method. Basically, you gradually distance yourself from the baby over a period of days so your baby still feels comforted as he/she falls asleep. Kim also goes over putting your babies down to sleep “drowsy but awake” so they can teach themselves how to fall asleep, and re-fall asleep if they stir awake in the night.

Remember, sleep is just as important for you as it is for your baby! This book really allowed me to get the necessary hours of rest that my body so badly needed.

The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight is available on Kindle or paperback. You can also learn more by visiting Kim West’s website.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid or sponsored to promote this book.

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