How much sleep does my baby need in the day?
Naps are vital to babies and young children and good daytime naps are the foundation of a good night’s sleep. A baby who eats and sleeps well in the day will tend to sleep regularly and predictably at night.
It is important to consider all babies mature at different rates and your baby may happily be on a different napping schedule to your friend’s baby of the same age.
Check out our general napping guidelines below. Bear in mind a typical daytime sleep cycle length is about 45 minutes long. Sometimes your baby will just sleep for one cycle and wake, for other naps they will join two cycles together.
Number and length of naps
Sleep tips for 6 and 9 months:
Between 6 and 9 months your baby can happily stay awake for 2 to 2 ½ hours and having 3 naps a day.
This is usually made up of two naps; each of about 45 minutes, one taken in the morning and one in the late afternoon. The main longer nap of about 90 minutes is best taken just after lunch. Most babies will be having an average of 3 hours sleep a day at this age.
Between 9 and 12 months:
As babies between 9 and 12 months are able to stay awake for about 3 to 3 ½ hours, they will have on average 2 naps a day.
The morning and afternoon naps are taken slightly later now, meaning the late afternoon nap can now be dropped. As a guide, the morning nap should be about 45 minutes long and the afternoon nap 90 minutes long.
Most babies in this age group have an average of about 2 ½ hours sleep a day. To “protect” bedtime it is best for your baby to be awake by 3.30 pm.
12 months plus:
Somewhere between 12 and 15 months toddlers move to a single nap. The transition from two to one nap a day is one that some toddlers find difficult. They are not tired enough for a morning nap but too tired to wait until after lunch.
To ease them into this transition try gradually cutting down the morning nap by 10 minutes each day and move the afternoon nap to just after lunch. Then when the morning nap has stopped you may need to temporarily bring lunch forward until your little one adjusts.