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Categories > Newborn and Infant Care > Child development

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Is my baby getting enough sleep?

Does your baby sleep in 30-minute clips while a friend’s little one dozes for a three-hour nap each afternoon? It doesn’t mean your baby is sleep deprived (although you may be)—he or she just catches zzz’s in a different pattern. Check these guidelines to learn what to expect when it comes to your child’s sleep habits:

  • Newborns. Newborns sleep—a lot. Most average about 16 hours of sleep a day. But much to the chagrin of exhausted new parents everywhere, that sleep doesn’t come in one concentrated bundle. Most often, it comes in snippets of just one or two hours at a time, sun up or down.
  • Infants. Starting around age 3 months, most infants’ nervous systems have matured enough to allow longer sleep sessions—about five hours at a stretch, usually at night. Most babies will establish napping patterns during this time, usually taking two naps a day, for a total of 13 hours of daily sleep. Don’t worry if your child is a cat-napper. Babies have an inherent know-how to make naps last for as long as they need to be. As long as your baby doesn’t seem cranky when awake, he or she is probably getting enough sleep.
  • Toddlers. Between ages 1 and 3, most kids sleep from 10 to 13 hours at night, with a nap or two during the day. When it comes to duration, there’s a wide range of normal. By 18 months, many kids drop down to one nap a day.
  • Preschoolers. Children ages 3 to 5 usually sleep about 10 to 12 hours a day. By 3, only about 50 percent of kids still nap. By 5, most stop napping completely.
  • Grade-school kids. Older kids and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night.


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