How much sleep does a baby need?

Now that Oliver is approaching six-months-old, I am noticing a more defined 24-hour sleep pattern developing.  From newborn to 3 months, I just followed his cues for when to put him down for naps and bedtime. At three months old I began trying to create a “nighttime routine,” and finally got that to stick at around four months.  However, napping was all over the place, and would only happen when Ollie yawned, tugged his ear or his little eyes got red.  Now, at 5 ½ months, a proper sleep pattern is emerging and it’s wonderful!

The following is a chart that is universally agreed on by Oliver’s pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Baby Centre, and WebMD.

In my experience with Oliver, as a newborn, he was closer to 20 hours of sleep a day, but the rest of the chart is spot on, so far.  If he didn’t sleep 9-10 hours at night, he would make up for it in naps. Today with naps plus nighttime sleep, he is right on the 15-hour mark.

He has been on his nighttime routine for nearly 2 months now and follows it very well, in terms of going to sleep of course.  When, and how much, he wakes up during the night is completely random.  He is in bed by 7:30, and will wake 1-2 times before getting up for the day, which is between 6:30-7am--baring all growth spurts, teething issues and just plain bad nights.

The clear pattern that is emerging is his naps.  I read that if you put a baby down around the same time every day for a nap, he will become accustomed to it, and fall right to sleep. Since he is following his nighttime routine and waking around the same time every day, his naps are following right along.  He takes his first nap between 9-9:30 and sleeps for 1-2 hours.  His second nap is around 2 and lasts for ½ hour-2 hours. If his second nap is short he will take a catnap around 4:30.

Of course, as we all know, babies change their patterns regularly, but hopefully, we will maintain this type of routine for two more months. Since he is still not sleeping through the night, meaning he is not sleeping without waking at all for 10-11 hours, I don’t know what that will mean for his nap schedule once he does.

I was so worried that Oliver was sleeping too much as a newborn, but was quickly assured it was necessary. My doctor explained how important sleep was for a baby’s growth and development. For that reason, I make Oliver’s nap and nighttime routine my very first priority, with feeding and playtime following close behind. As much as I love the idea of this clear 24-hour sleep schedule we have, I will still follow Oliver’s cues above all else.  

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit