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The number of hours that a baby needs to sleep varies according to its age and growth, and when it is a newborn, it usually sleeps about 16 to 20 hours a day, while when he is 1 year old, he already sleeps about 10 hours a night and takes two naps during the day, 1 to 2 hours each.
Although babies sleep most of the time, until about 6 months of age, they do not sleep for many hours at a time, as they wake up or have to be woken up to feed. However, from this age onwards, the baby can sleep almost all night without waking up to eat.
Number of hours of baby sleep
The number of hours a baby sleeps per day varies according to his age and growth. See in the following table the number of hours the baby needs to sleep.
|Age||Number of hours of sleep per day|
|Newborn||16 to 20 hours total|
|1 month||16 to 18 hours total|
|2 months||15 to 16 hours total|
|4 months||9 to 12 hours a night + two naps during the day of 2 to 3 hours each|
|6 months||11 hours a night + two naps during the day of 2 to 3 hours each|
|9 months||11 hours a night + two naps during the day of 1 to 2 hours each|
|1 year||10 to 11 hours a night + two naps during the day of 1 to 2 hours each|
|2 years||11 hours a night + a daytime nap of about 2 hours|
|3 years||10 to 11 hours a night + a 2-hour nap during the day|
Every baby is different, so some may sleep much longer or for longer hours at a time than others. The important thing is to help create a sleep routine for the baby, respecting its development rhythm.
How to help baby sleep
Some tips to help your baby sleep include:
- Create a sleep routine by leaving the curtains open and talking or playing with baby while he is awake during the day and talking in a lower, softer tone at night, so baby can begin to differentiate day from night;
- Put the baby down to sleep when there is any sign of tiredness, but with him still awake to get him used to falling asleep in his own bed;
- Reduce play after dinner, avoiding bright lights or the television;
- Give a warm bath a few hours before the baby goes to sleep to calm him down;
- Rolling the baby, reading or singing a song in a soft tone before laying the baby down so he knows it's bedtime;
- Don't take too long to put the baby to sleep, as the baby can become more restless, making it harder to fall asleep.
From 7 months onwards, it is normal for a baby to be restless and find it difficult to fall asleep or to wake up several times during the night, as he wants to practice everything he has learned during the day.
Check out other tips from Dr.ª Clementina, psychologist and baby sleep specialist:
Can I let the baby cry until it calms down?
There are several theories about how to train a baby to sleep. A very common one is to let the baby cry until it calms down, however, this is a controversial theory, as there are some studies that indicate that it can be traumatic for the baby, who may feel abandoned, increasing stress levels..
However, there is also other research [1, 2] that supports the idea that after a few days, the baby understands that it is not worth crying during the night, learning to fall asleep alone. According to these studies, although it may seem like a cold and cruel attitude on the part of the parents, the technique seems to work without causing any trauma to the baby or harming its relationships with the parents.
For these reasons, there is no real contraindication for this strategy, but it should only be adopted when this is a wish of the parents and always under the supervision of the pediatrician. Parents who choose to adopt this strategy should also take some precautions, such as: avoiding doing it with babies under 6 months of age, introducing the approach gradually and always looking around the room to confirm that the reason for the crying is not a situation of danger.