I can’t emphasize enough how important this question is. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that what goes on during the day DIRECTLY impacts what happens at night. And if your little one is overtired from not napping enough during the day, this can CAUSE him to wake up at night!
In this week’s episode, I’ll be discussing the number of naps that babies and toddlers need by age, as well as how much daytime sleep they usually need. Enjoy!
Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human? Join my FREE training HERE: https://mysleepingbaby.ac-page.com/registration-page-v-2
Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
All right, everyone. Welcome back. Before we dive in to this week’s episode, let me quickly read out a recent review that was posted from a previous one-on-one client. Uh, her name was Chris and she says, in a nutshell, my family and I had great success through Eva’s sleep program. We had gotten very lucky with our first daughter, but our second, who was two, uh, was finding it much harder to stay asleep throughout the night. And we were at our end. So we reached out to Eva and within two weeks, our once very stubborn toddler was now sleeping through the night though. I just wanna mention that it did take us much less than two weeks to get her to get that first night’s first full night’s sleep. Our experience with Eva’s program has pretty much saved us from countless nights of very minimal sleep.
We couldn’t be happier, Chris, thank you so much for your review. For those of you who also have a toddler that is taking forever to fall asleep at bedtime and waking you up throughout the night. And you’re thinking to yourself, maybe it’s just too late for us to make changes in the sleep department. I hope that this testimonial can give you the inspiration that you need to hear that it is never too late to get your little one sleeping. That even your little one who is a toddler and even your toddler who has a very strong-willed personality can still learn how to sleep through the night like a champ. All right, so this week we’re gonna be talking all about naps by age, how much daytime sleep your little one should be getting. This is a very common question that I get on Instagram. In my Instagram DMS.
I get these sorts of questions in my free Facebook community group. And it’s a really important question, because remember if your little one isn’t getting enough daytime sleep, they’re gonna become overtired. And then the overtired ness can cause them to wake up at night. So it’s a great question. A question that I love answering, because the answer is incredibly important and whether or not your little one is getting their proper daytime sleep totals could impact and determine what kind of night your little one ends up having let’s first talk about the newborns. So the truth is that with newborns, their circadian rhythm, their biological clock is just beginning to develop. And so more often than not, they really don’t know the difference between daytime and nighttime. And so the focus is not so much on daytime sleep totals, as much as it is just ensuring that they aren’t up for periods of time that are too long, you know, longer than 45 or 60 minutes.
And that they’re getting about 15 or 16 hours of sleep over a 24 hour period. So what, what that looks like in that exact 24 hour period is gonna vary drastically from baby to baby. Um, there is so much within that range of what’s considered normal, to be honest with that newborn stage. So I always tell people don’t focus on daytime sleep totals yet just focus on getting them onto some kind of routine where they wake up and eat, play for a little bit and then go right back to sleep. So that’s the newborn stage in a nutshell, when it comes to daytime sleep, by the time your little one reaches that three and a half to four month, mark, congratulations. You no longer have a newborn on your hands. Now you’ve got an infant
There’s definitely still variability at this age, but we do wanna see more sleep happening at night and a little bit less during the day, unlike the newborn stage, where it could be a little bit all over the place by the four month mark, we’re usually looking at three to five naps a day, and those three to five naps should total, approximately four to five hours, uh, worth of naps. So your four month old could be napping. Let’s say three times a day. If they’re giving you three really big naps or two really big naps, and then, you know, a cat nap near the end of the day. But if you are four month old, isn’t giving you, you know, big two hour naps just yet. Then she likely won’t be able to make it through the day on only three naps she’ll need a fourth or even a fifth nap.
And that’s okay. Right? So those are four month olds. Now, when your little one reaches that five month stage, they’re usually still also napping three to four times a day. And their daytime sleep totals go down to about four to four and a half hours. So usually that fifth nap is dropped and more often than not, not the fourth nap is also dropped and they’re napping three times. But if you’re five month old still needs that fourth cat nap at five 30 in the evening or late afternoon for that matter, don’t sweat it. It’s totally fine. Okay. Now let’s talk about the six to seven month old age range. So I’m not gonna lie. I’ve heard some not so great advice about this stage, namely, that this is when most babies drop down to a two next schedule. I am not of that opinion. I find that the majority of six to seven month olds will be overtired on a two nap schedule and really legitimately, still need that third cat nap near the end of the day.
The sleep totals amongst those three naps might go down a little bit. So you might be looking at three and a half to four hours worth of daytime sleep. So for example, an hour and a half in the morning, an hour and a half in the afternoon, and then a 30 or a 45 minute cat nap, but they definitely need that 30 or 45 minute cat nap. Otherwise they will be over tired from being up for too long. Now, obviously there aren’t exceptions, but what I’m talking about right now are the majority. Okay. All right. Now, when two babies drop down to two naps, usually around the eight month range, because that’s typically when their wake windows are big enough to be able to pull off a two nap schedule provided that those two naps are totalling three to three and a half hours. Okay.
So an hour and a half in the morning, an hour and a half or two hours in the afternoon is perfect for an eight month old. And this is the type of pattern that we’re usually looking at for, you know, a nine month old, a 10 month old. Now, once your little one becomes 12 months, that’s when a very important change happens. Your little one is still most likely, still napping twice, but they’re not going to need that three to three and a half hours of daytime sleep anymore. You’re gonna wanna make sure that those tune naps are totaling somewhere in the two and a half hour range of total daytime sleep. And this is important because if your little one’s naps are huge, still totaling, let’s say three and a half hours. Then there is a very good chance that you might be dealing with some bedtime battles and maybe also some early rising, because there’s only so much sleep that your little one can give you over a 24 hour period, right?
So if your one year old only needs about 13 and a half hours of sleep in that 24 hour period and three and a half hours are dedicated to naps that mathematically, that only leaves over 10 hours of nighttime sleep. And then it’s like, hello, early rising. You don’t want that situation whatsoever. So you do wanna be mindful that those naps are not getting too big by this stage. Okay. This brings us to the 15 to 18 month age range, which is most the most common timeframe that babies drop down to a one nap schedule. Again, a lot of people think that it’s very common for a one year old or a 13 month old to be down to one nap. I wanna emphasize that that is the exception and not the rule. Most commonly your one year olds are going to need their morning nap still.
They’re not gonna be able to last all the way until let’s say 1230 in the afternoon for their one nap schedule. Your 16 month old or 17 month old likely will be able to get down to one nap. So it’s important to emphasize that when your little one reaches that 15 to 18 month age range, that is the most common time for your little one to drop their morning nap, but you wanna make sure that it’s a baby led process. So it doesn’t mean that the second year kid hits 15 months, that you can choose to get them onto one nap if you want it’s up to them, right? And that it is developmental for them to be ready to last those longer periods of time throughout the day before, before bedtime. Um, what’s also really important for me to emphasize here about this particular age range and that transition is that they still need about two and a half hours of daytime sleep.
So, you know, spoiler alert if your 15 month old is down to one nap and only napping an hour and a half, unless they are a unicorn that needs substantially less sleep than average. And they’ve always been that way. I would bet my bottom dollar, that your little one is a very overtired from only sleeping an hour and a half a day, and B likely needs that second nap back. So the, the move to one nap doesn’t mean that they don’t need as much daytime sleep. In fact, their daytime, their, their total sleep totals don’t change at all from 12 months to 18 months, it’s just more or less those two naps that they were taking at one kind of at one year old sort of merge into one big, you know, midday or, you know, slightly later, like a 1231 o’clock type of nap.
Um, they merge together into one big two and a half hour long nap. So I wanna just emphasize that if that nap is only an hour and a half, it’s probably not enough sleep. Okay. Now once your little one turns two that’s when that one nap that they’re taking for, you know, two and a half, or maybe even three hours is going to need to go down in duration. So you still want them sleeping 11 hours or so at nights, but that two and a half hour nap probably needs to be capped at about two hours. Because again, the ongoing theme here is that if they’re sleeping too much during the day, then that can take away from their nighttime sleep totals. So I’d say an average two year old usually needs about a two hour nap. Um, and then that two hour nap is going to need to be capped and shortened over the next year.
From the time that they’re two until about three, because the three to three and a half year range is usually when we see that nap go away. Now it’s not gonna go away overnight and it shouldn’t go away overnight. So if one day your kiddo is napping two hours, chances are, they’re not gonna be ready to drop it the next day. But if that nap, by the time they were two and a half is let’s say caps at like an hour and a half. So by the time they get to the age of three, then there is a much larger likelihood that that nap is gonna be even shorter than that may be kept in an hour or not happening at all to begin with, um, the one to zero nap transition. And I’m gonna post a link. I have a podcast, I have a podcast episode all about the one to zero nap transition, but I do wanna emphasize that it can take a little bit of time for your little one to get used to not sleeping during the day.
Um, my son who’s three and a half is still going through that transition. Meaning some days he takes a 45 minute nap at daycare and other days he doesn’t, and it’s all within the realm of normal, um, for our purposes. But you know, the important thing to recognize is that by the time you are little, one is three, unless they are, as I said, a unicorn that just needs way more sleep than average. The two hour nap that they were giving you when they were long, when they were younger is probably going to cause you trouble. So if they’re, if they still legitimately need that nap, I wouldn’t be letting it go longer than an hour or so. All right. And lastly, let’s talk about the four year olds, and I guess we can group the five year olds into this category. So the truth is that the vast majority of four year olds are completely done with napping for the most part, um, here in Ontario, don’t know what other places, but I can tell you that in Ontario four year olds begin full day junior kindergarten here.
So, you know, they’re in school, if they’re in the public school system, um, and the vast majority of private schools follow the similar type, a similar type of system, um, they’re in school a full day from, you know, eight 30 or nine until 3, 3 34. O’clock something like that. So nap time is officially done. So this is when we don’t really wanna be focusing on daytime sleep as something that happens on a regular basis, but rather it’s just a matter of getting your little one to bed earlier to compensate, especially if they’re in school full days, um, they’re gonna be tired by seven o’clock or seven 30 on a regular basis. Now, if your little one does wanna take a nap on the weekends to catch up on sleep and it doesn’t impact bedtime and nighttime, then that’s totally fine. In fact, anytime I have a number of friends who are kindergarten teachers here, uh, in Toronto, and they always share that every single September, when school begins in their class of JK junior kindergarten kids, there is almost always that one or two students who still need their nap and are struggling to get through the day without it.
So if that kid is your kid, don’t worry about napping them on the weekends. And don’t worry about giving them a very early bedtime to compensate and to avoid, to compensate for not napping anymore, and to avoid over tiredness as much as you can. But for the most part, that’s definitely the exception, not the rule. The majority of four year olds are getting through the day. No problem without napping, the vast majority, I wanna just emphasize and are simply happy going to bed for seven 30 every night, sleeping 11 and a half, or maybe even 12 hours around the clock. And, uh, and enjoying their full day at school. Same thing goes for the five year olds. They might just need a little bit less sleep than the four year olds, obviously, maybe 30 minutes less. So you might find that when they turn five, it might be time to bump their bedtime a smidgen later.
Now I wanna emphasize here that all this information, all these figures and numbers and sleep totals that I threw at you are, is general information. Okay, this is a starting point for you. It is not a set in stone recommendation because obviously there is a range, right? And there are babies that need more sleep than this. And there are babies that need less sleep than this. So these are just meant to be average numbers, to give you sort of a rough idea of what you expect and what, and to be able to help you compare what your little one is giving you in terms of sleep to, you know, what the average is for his or her age range. Um, so don’t use this as like an exact guide for you to be figuring out exactly the amount of sleep your little one should be needing, because remember in a range, there’s always a range when it comes to everything here, there’s always babies that need higher than average.
And there’s always gonna be babies that need lower than average. So just use this as a starting point. So if you are looking to finally get your little one on a beautiful, consistent daytime schedule with reliable, consistent naps, so that you could always get a break during the day and be able to recharge, but you don’t know where to start, click on my free masterclass register and watch it right now, because it’s gonna take you through step by step, exactly what you need to do to get your little one off on the right foot so that you can get your little one sleeping through the night, like a champ. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode and that you all have a wonderful day.
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.