From Infant to Toddler: How to Master Your Baby’s Sleep 

Putting your baby to sleep is one of the sweetest moments for a parent. You can enjoy some ‘me time’ while your baby peacefully sleeps, and it benefits both. In fact, the quality and the amount of your baby’s nap time plays a vital role in their development.

UK baby brand, Nuby, explores how to master your baby’s sleep patterns from birth until they’re three years old to ensure they’re getting the most out of it.

Sleeping advice for a newborn

We often experience a kind-hearted jealousy when we talk about a newborn’s main activities, eating and sleeping, and a relaxed lifestyle.

Indeed, sleeping takes up the majority of the day of a newborn (0-3-months-old), as they need between 14 and 17 hours of sleep in total. Nevertheless, there is no magic number, and some babies might sleep as little as eight hours, while others will need a 20-hour rest. This does not indicate a problem, as every baby is different.

At this stage, it’s important to establish a pattern for your baby. They will need to be woken up to be breastfed, and this will happen throughout the night too. This is the time to start teaching your baby the difference between nighttime and daytime to ensure they’re able to sleep throughout the whole night as they get older. The NHS advises to open the curtains and ignore noises during the day and to dim the lights, put your baby down when they’re fed and changed, and not play with them.

You can try various techniques to help your baby sleep through the night, such as swaddling, a white noise machine, a bath, reading a bedtime story, or tucking them in their sleeping bag for a newborn, which will promote their restful sleep.

Infants’ sleeping patterns

As your baby becomes an infant (4-12-months-old), they start sleeping for longer periods throughout the night, meaning you also get to catch up on some much-needed sleep.

Including the daytime naps, which amount to about three-four hours, infants usually need around 12-16 hours of sleep, in total.

Around four months, they might be sleeping twice as much as they did before, and by six-12 months, nighttime feeding won’t be necessary.

Beware that some infants might wake up through the night due to teething discomfort or hunger. If they’re experiencing teething discomfort, massage their gums with a clean finger before bed and prepare soothers, such as a teether or a wet cloth in the freezer, ready for the night. If your infant is continuously waking up from hunger, consider if they’re eating enough during the day and perhaps feed them up to an hour before bed, thus eliminating a long stretch between feeding and sleeping.

Daytime naps are vital for infants. It’s recommended that daytime naps are reduced to three per day. After two to two and half hours of being awake, your infant should be ready to fall asleep again. Longer daytime wake windows will ensure that your baby has full naps instead of lots of catnaps, which interfere with the quality of their sleep.

How does a toddler sleep?

As your baby reaches the age of one and up until three years of age, their total sleep time will be reduced to 11-15 hours.

It’s recommended that toddlers sleep for about 11-13 hours during the night. Up until they’re 12-18 months old, they will likely continue to have two naps a day, and the second nap can be dropped between 13-16 months. Nevertheless, consider your baby’s needs, as the last thing you want is to deprive them of sufficient sleep.

It’s important that you establish a consistent bedtime routine to instil in your toddler the importance of bedtime. This will form the basis of a healthy sleep routine into adolescence and adulthood.

Instilling healthy sleeping habits into your child is critical for their development. Plus, it will win you some desired ‘me time’. Mastering the art of sleep for your baby is the key to a life full of calm and ease for the whole family.

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family.