Do you want to know how to make the most of your baby's naps?
How often should they be napping?
How long should they be napping?
How to lengthen their short naps?
Are there particular times of day that are better for babies to nap?
Breakdown of wake-windows, number of naps and general/ideal lengths of naps
Months 0-1 (until around 6-8 weeks of age)
- Wake windows (45mins - 1hr)
- Napping 24/7
- 20 minutes to 3hrs+ (wide range!)
- Wake windows (45-1.5hrs)
- Up to 5-6 naps per day
- 30 minutes - 2hrs+ (depends on the baby, depends on the day!)
Months 4 &5 - start to see a bit of regularity
- Wake windows (1.5-2/2.5hrs)
- 3 or 4 naps
- Aiming for 2 longer naps (first 2) and 1-2 short, “cat naps”
- Wake windows (1.5 - 3hrs)
- Biological ‘Sleep Waves’ (around 9am and 12pm)
- 3 naps going down to 2 (at least 1-1.5hrs long each)
- On 2 naps a day (at least 1-1.5hrs each)
- Roughly around 9am and 1pm
- Wake windows look like 2-3-4 or up to 3-3-4
- Dropping down to 1 nap a day, which will end up being somewhere within 12-1pm
- Ideally at least 1.5hrs but sometimes short at first or at daycare!
→ There is no need to count or restrict naps before 4 months of age.
→ After ~4 months of age, it is great if babies can get at least 2.5hrs of daytime sleep (min)
→ There is no limit to daytime sleep! Unless it could be causing an issue overnight.
→ Make sure your baby is sleeping regularly, based on their (adjusted) age
→ Wake Windows are KEY to naps
Please remember that it is very COMMON and NORMAL for younger babies to have shorter naps. Some babies are perfectly capable and do have longer naps (over an hour) by 4 months of age, but honestly, most aren’t doing that, until well into their 4th, 5th or sometimes even 6th month.
So just because your baby is having short naps, even if they’re older than this… go back and ask yourself those three questions:
- How is my baby’s behaviour throughout the day?
- How easy/challenging is it to get my baby to sleep?
- Is their overnight sleep being impacted (more wake-ups, difficulty getting back to sleep, super early wake-up calls)
If everything’s going just fine and the only issue with those short naps is a bit of a nuisance, you’re still in good standing there, mama ;)
But, if you’re not sure or you think some changes do need to happen in the nap department, Please get in touch and I may be able to help out ;)
Ashley Cooley - Birth Baby and Sleep Specialist