Average sleep needs: Year 1

Sleeping is for Suckers!
Sleeping is for suckers!

These resources are from the Baby Whisperer. I didn’t really find her book that useful overall, but these two charts have been really helpful for us. See, I read the book for you and now provide the only takeaways worth having 😉 …For the first few months, Bailey would sleep anywhere whenever he needed to sleep, but as he became more interested in the world, he became much worse at going to sleep when he needed the sleep. We had to implement a schedule to make sure he had the downtime to take naps – you may or may not have this issue. If you have this issue, read on.

Back when Bailey could sleep any where!
Back when Bailey could sleep anywhere!

I also didn’t understand that when they say 2 hours awake time, they mean baby should be asleep at the 2 hour mark. That means that for several months you may feel like you’re spending a lot of time winding down baby for naps. You may even feel like a prisoner to baby’s nap needs, but your reward should be more sleep at night and a more cheerful baby.

Average awake time for babies
Newborn 50-60 mins
1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
2 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins
3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins
4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours
5 months 2 hours – 2.30 hours
Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-3 hours
6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3.15 hours. Some are getting more.
8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.
11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap***Remember these are guidelines, NOT rules, so if you feel that your baby is not yet ready for these A times, please do not force them, as this will cause further problems. PLUS, if the wake time is 2 hours, that means baby should be asleep at the 2 hour mark not getting ready to go to sleep.***

Average sleep patterns

Age Total Sleep needs per day Typical Nap patterns Night patterns
Newborn 16-20 hours  Nap 1-2 hours in every three hours 5-6 hours at night#
1-3 months 15-18 hours Three naps, 1.5 hours each + catnap 8 hours at night#
4-6 months 15-18 hours Two naps, 2-3 hours each OR; 3 naps; 2 2hr naps & 1 45min catnap 10-12 hours at night
6-8 months 14-18 hours Two naps 1-2 hours each 10-12 hours at night
9 months old 14-17 hours 2 naps of 1.5 hours each 11-12 hours at night
1 year old 14-16 hours 2 naps, 1 of 1 hour and 1 of 1.25-1.5 hrs 11.5hrs at night

16 Sleep tips: ages 0-12 months… if you’re into schedules

I love lovies
I love lovies

Baby not sleeping as long as you think he can? Baby waking up way too early in the morning? Here are my biggest takeaways from the first year of sleep meets Bailey….this post may not be for the faint of heart when it comes to planning sleep.

  1. Baby is probably the easiest to go out with for the first 6-8 weeks of life, of course mama may not be so excited about going out at that point in birth recovery, but seriously try to take advantage of bringing baby out to dinner, brunch, lunch, whatever! Ok, that wasn’t a sleep tip exactly, but still worth mentioning!
  2. Reflux can cause sleep issues early on in life. If baby gets hiccups a lot, spits up a lot, arches her back after or during nursing/drinking; and wakes up screaming periodically and seems to settle when more vertical….you could be dealing with reflux. Getting an antacid prescription from the ped and/or modifying your diet or formula can buy you more hours of sleep. Other tips include a) keep baby upright for 20 minutes after nursing/feeding b) burp baby often while nursing/feeding c) elevate one side of the bassinet/crib d) let baby take naps in a baby rocker or swing so they are more upright
  3. Around 4-5 months, baby’s sleep develops into more of an adult pattern meaning they have lighter periods of sleep and may stop falling asleep anywhere/when they need sleep. This can lead to overtired fussy babies that wake up more and more thru the night and drive parents bonkers with sleep deprivation!
  4. If you swaddle and the baby starts breaking out of the swaddle, learn the double swaddle technique. It looks kinda crazy, but It is Awesome.

    The double swaddle in action
    The double swaddle in action
  5. Once you’ve hit month 4/5, keeping baby on a sleep schedule for naps and bedtime can really help consolidate night time sleep and do away with early wake ups….here is a good chart to keep in mind from the Baby Whisperer:

    Awake time for babies
    Newborn 50-60 mins
    1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
    2 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins
    3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins
    4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours
    5 months 2 hours – 2.30 hours
    Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-3 hours
    6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3.15 hours. Some are getting more.
    8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.
    11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap***Remember these are guidelines, NOT rules, so if you feel that your baby is not yet ready for these A times, please do not force them, as this will cause further problems. PLUS, if the wake time is 2 hours, that means baby should be asleep at the 2 hour mark not getting ready to go to sleep.***

  6. At that 4/5 mo mark, aim for 3 naps a day. Naps are more restorative if they’re an hour or longer. Though the third nap is often a shorter cat nap.
  7. As the first year goes on, you may want to aim for naps around 10am and 1/2pm.
  8. If you think they’re waking up because of teething pain, give them ibuprofen! They will sleep, therefore you will sleep!
  9. 6 months or later: If baby is waking up crazy early in the morning and/or waking up crying multiple times during the night it may be a sure sign of being overtired. You may want to move bedtime earlier and get that nap routine more tightened up. The other totally random culprit for early wake ups is if the morning nap is too close to waking up for the day. A combo of an early bedtime and then extending the awake time before the first nap can help iron out the issue.
  10. Any schedule change can take 3-5 days to make a difference.
  11. If it’s a growth spurt, you are screwed – a lot of babies want to eat more during the night and you should probably help them out. This rule of thumb applies until you have them pretty solid on solids 🙂 However, a growth spurt usually lasts 3-5 days.
  12. It’s ok to let them cry a little before going to them at night – they might just resettle on their own! Oh, and once you’re past the swaddling stage, give your baby a lovie. It will help them self soothe to sleep.
  13. CIO does not work for everyone. Before you try it after your ped and all your friends tell you that you have to do it, at least read Ferber’s book first so you can read about how SCHEDULE is just as important!
  14. Read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. And visit www.babywhispererforums.com for lots of useful tips
  15. If you’re lucky, you will have a good sleeper and you won’t need to use any of these tips. BUT just remember that it’s totally normal for babies to not sleep through the night even at a year. You are not alone! But hopefully, you are not in this club…
  16. My kid has been going to bed between 6pm and 7pm since he was 7 months old. If he goes to bed later than that, he wakes up multiple times a night and much earlier in the morning. It’s because his naps are on the shorter side. Before I had a kid, I thought this was crazy talk. But really, I’ve tried a later bedtime and it does not work! If it’s not working for you, give in and move bedtime earlier!
The super cute sleep days
The super cute sleep days

p.s. who knew I would read so many books and be so crazy about sleep?? I’m a terrible planner, but I seriously love my sleep. So these tips are really all about my own self preservation! B might not be the best sleeper, but he’s not the worst. And he sure is happy most of the time!

The 2-1 transition is over! I hope?

sleeping on a hike
sleeping on a hike

I think it’s official, Bailey is on a one-nap schedule that works for us. He takes one solid 2+hour nap each day, goes to bed around 7pm and wakes up around 6:30am for the day. For those of you who love your sleep, this may sound awful, but for me, this could be a glimpse of heaven. Of course everything seems to change from week to week but I’m hopeful that this schedule will become a longer term trend!!

We switched B to a one-nap-a-day schedule at month 13. The sleep experts all say this can be a rough transition that can last months. We made the shift pretty abruptly because 2 naps a day just weren’t working anymore. As in, he was fighting bedtime and waking up super early for the day.

For the first month or more of the one nap schedule, his naps were all over the place, lasting from 1-3 hours. To compensate for not enough daytime sleep, I kept him on a very early bedtime (like 6pm)  which typically resulted in a wake-up around 7am. If his bedtime ended up later, like 6:30pm, he would wake up at more like 4:45am (ugh!). Then there were the days that he woke up screaming at midnight or sometimes it was 4am…and could only be soothed with ibuprofen. Turns out he had a molar trying to poke through and come out…. I think you get the picture. It’s been rough. A year in, the hormones have faded away and the long-term sleep deprivation of the previous year has really kicked in. How you parents’ of multiple kids of different ages handle it, I just don’t know! But then again, I’ve always needed a lot of sleep to be a cheerful, functional person.

I really, really hoped that Bailey would follow in my footsteps. Or even better, my brother’s footsteps. Sadly, I ended up with a baby that basically didn’t sleep through the night consistently until the age of 1. And even then, it’s been sporadic thanks to fevers, ear infections,teething and poor naps…. The kid has actually always gotten tons of sleep, it’s just not typically concurrent with my sleep! Example, the day he turned 6 months, he slept from like 6:30pm to 7am and it was amazing. I thought, yes! this is the beginning of a wonderful new future. Yeah, that really didn’t last. He went on to mostly sleep a solid 8 hours but had to go to bed around 6pm – meaning he’d sleep to about 2 or 3am, nurse and then go back to sleep til 7. I guess I should be thankful that he always went back to sleep! But as he got older 7am became 6am and the night nursing shifted later to 3-4am. Did I mention it kind of sucks to wake up at 3/4am, feed a baby and then wake up 2 hours later to a super happy, excited baby that wants to crawl all over you and play? This mama does really well on 9/10 hours of continuous sleep!! You see the problem.

I’ve also officially joined the “early bedtime, routine is essential” camp. In fact, I may be the head counselor of said camp! Before I had a kid, I always thought, well duh, your kid is waking up at 5am for the day because he’s going to bed way too early. Just keep him up later! What did I know?! If we keep Bailey up too late and he’s overtired, he rewards us with like 2-3 nightwakings that night. It’s awesome, you turn off the light at 10pm and just as you drift into deeper sleep, your kids starts screaming and crying. It’s only 11:30pm and it really hurts. You get him resettled or you try to wait it out. Either way, you’re up for 20-30 min. minimum. A few hours later, repeat. A few hours later he wakes up extra early and he’s up for the day and you’re both kind of miserable. Yep. It’s definitely not worth keeping him up later because my single, solitary goal at night is to get as much sleep as possible myself!

P.s. remember that super cute photo at the top of this post? That was when B fell asleep on a morning hike to royal arch which pushed back his nap which pushed back his bedtime which resulted in a wake-up for the day at 4:45am. yawn.

p.p.s I’ve become much more of a morning person which is actually kind of nice. I like getting outside and maximizing my daylight. I just need to train myself to go to sleep by 9pm and all will be better. Speaking of which, it’s 4 minutes to 9pm. Time to go to bed.


The ShortList of my online and printed mommyhood lifelines!

My husband commented that I’m on my smartphone a lot more these days, and he’s right. I think I check my online forums at least three times a day. You never know when you’ll read a tidbit of wisdom. So for those of you out there who feel a little lost right now about something going on with your baby or something happening postpartum…. I have to share my mommyhood lifelines. There is so much support out there is you find the right places!

My go-to online resources are:

My Birth Club on babycenter.com: I’ve heard that my birthclub (March 2012) is full of expecially helpful FTMs and BTDT moms. Sometimes, people from other birthclubs/forums will actually post to mine because we are such a responsive, supportive group of parents. I can’t even say moms because there are actually a number of dads on the forum as well. I follow my birthclub because 1) I can see when new milestones, sleep hurdles, etc. are coming soon from watching the moms with older “Marchies” posting in a panic. For example, around 4-6 months of age, sleep starts changing for a lot of babies, and sure enough, during June-July, the forum was flooded with “help! my baby won’t nap anymore…” threads. The current thread du jour is about solids and constipation. I read those avidly to learn tips like give your baby foods that begin with “p”‘ cuz those foods help them poo…pears, prunes, peaches, etc. Learn something new every day 🙂 Doesn’t matter what you’re dealing with, if you post on my birthclub, someone else has experienced it too. Anything from baby questions, pregnancy questions, postpartum questions and even OT (off-topic) stuff like sex and job interviews (typically not in the same thread mind you! We’re not that kind of club!)

www.babywhisperforums.com is my next favorite online resources. These ladies are serious devotees of Tracy Hogg, the Baby Whisperer. I’ll be honest. I read her book a few times and it didn’t sink in or help me out much, but this forum is awesome! There are several different boards including breastfeeding, bottle feeding, EASY sleep schedules, Naps, Night Wakings, etc. And what I love about this forum is that you can post your baby’s schedule or issue and there are moderators who will respond with suggestions on how to tweak your schedule to solve whatever issue you are dealing with. You do need to know what an EASY schedule is, but once you’ve figured that out, these ladies are very responsive and supportive. It’s also a great website to search although the actual search function on the site is broken, so you have to do google searchs. Just type in the phrase you are thinking of and add babywhisperforums to the phrase.

My go-to books:

Healthy sleep habits, Healthy Child by Mark Weissbluth. I read parts of this book at least once month. It’s amazing how quickly a baby’s sleep schedule changes in the first year of life. We’ve gone from napping on demand/on the go to napping three times a day to now two. And at some point in the next three months we’ll probably be down to one nap! We’ve also gone from a 10:30 bedtime to 8pm to currently 6-6:30. Crazy right? But it’s all in the hopes of maintaining the “perfect night”. What we mommies calling SSTN (sleeping through the night). We are obsessed with this idea and personally, I will do whatever it takes to get as many of those nights as possible. Cuz hell, even when we have those nights, I’m still getting up at 6 or 7 in the morning. And I used to get up at 9-10. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve read Ferber, Hogg, the sleep shuffle lady, the no cry sleep solution lady and in the end Weissbluth is my dude.

The Wonder Weeks: You can also get a decent amount of information online about the Wonder Weeks. This little gem helps predict when your baby will go through developmental milestones and how to help them develop these new skills more quickly.  Here’s a tantalizing excerpt: It’s not your imagination– all babies go through a difficult period around the same age. Research has shown that babies make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during their first 20 months of their lives.  During this time, they will learn more than in any other time.  With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development, which affects not only his mood, but also his health, intelligence, sleeping patterns and the “three C’s” (crying, clinging and crankiness). Read more. It’s real people. I’m a believer!



Getting Ready for Baby – the not so short short list

Eight Must Have Items for Baby’s Room

We went on the less is more side of things, so I’m listing the things we’ve used and loved the most.

  1. Graco Sweet Slumber sound machine – has white noise, a night light you can turn on and off and you can plug in a ipod.
  2. Changing table/dresser – important features – needs to be sturdy, we liked the shelves because we could put baskets of clothes and toys into the shelves, and once Bailey is older, he can easily pull out a basket of clothes or toys on his own.We went fancy and got this one from the Pottery barnthough to be honest, it was about the same price as the one we looked at from Target. Though looking at the price now – it must have been on sale back when we got it. Yikes!

    we mostly use our changing table/dresser for clothes
  3. A play yard with bassinet – this can be used as a co-sleeper in your room for the first weeks/months, plus you can easily pull the bassinet out and put it down on the floor in other rooms for naps. I really liked the size of the bassinet that came with ours as well as the flexibility of the bassinet/crib set up
  4. A fan – running a fan has been shown to lower the incidence of SIDS
  5. A space heater (with a thermostat) so you can control the temperature in just that room. Babies like it hot!
  6. Baby monitor – we went fancy with the Motorola video monitorand love it.  one thing to note, the battery does not last all night, so keep it plugged in by your bed unless you want to be woken up for reasons other than a crying baby.

    super cute humidifier
  7. Blackout curtains – really helps Bailey sleep which really helps me sleep!
  8. A cute humidifier– especially helpful when baby has a cold.

Plus my Montessori-style favs

Floor bedmattress from Ikea. We went with a twin, but in hindsight I wish we had gone with a double though not sure how that would have fit.

Mirror stickers and wall stickers like these

A chair.
We could not agree on what glider or rocking chair to get. So we ended up getting this chair from Ikea with the matching ottoman. It’s been working out really well, though every once and a while I talk about getting a glider. But I still can’t find one that I love. My personal recommendation is that you get something you can see sitting in after baby has grown up.

B’s Montessori-inspired room

Clothes, what you really need at the beginning (IMO)

  • Swaddles: Our favorite by far was the halo sleep sack and the woombie – which is great as they start transitioning out of the swaddle ()
  • Fleece blankets and light cotton blankets
  • Onesies (maybe 10)
  • Pajamas (maybe 4)

In our experience, at the beginning, babies don’t really go through clothes too quickly. Heck for the first few weeks, you’re only bathing them a couple times a week. They really aren’t getting dirty. Bailey pretty much lived in onesies and pajamas.

Love, love, loved the onesies with mitten cuffs. At the beginning, baby will flail his hands about and accidently claw at his face and eyes. These onesies have built in cuffs you can flip over their hands.

Also loved the pajamas with mitten cuffs which are strangely hard to find – ours are all hand me downs.

And we used Gerber pajamas a lot.

  • Socks. Socks are a total pain but babies feet do seem to get cold easily. Our fav brand is Trumpette – they really don’t come off and they are ridiculously cute. Thanks Tricia for the tip!

A note on clothing brands: the sizing is different for every brand. I recommend you wait and then buy only a few of each – once you see which brand fits your baby best, it seems like that continues to be the case as they grow older. I also like really soft cotton baby clothes. My fav brands for comfort are BabyGap and Carters (especially anything made out of fleece!)

And of course hand me downs are great since babies do grow so quickly!

  • Hats. These are definitely cute, but we didn’t really use them much and you really don’t need more than one or two knit hats (for warmth) and then one brimmed hat for sun shade. Again, might be better to wait til after baby is born so you don’t get a hat that will only fit for a week OR a hat that won’t fit until their 6 months old and it’s the wrong season for that type of hat.

Activity and sleep related stuff (for the first few months)

An infant rocker chair – must have features should include vibration, being able to adjust the chair to different angles, and preferably some kind of canopy to pull over the chair. Something like this. There are less expensive ones that tend to me more flimsy and less versatile.

The SnuggleMe pillow. And there is no alternative that is comparable. This pillow is basically like a dog bed which means baby feels snuggled by the sides of the pillow.

An activity mat. Seriously provides hours of entertainment for months and months! I recommend that you get a pretty sturdy one. We borrowed a Fisher Price Rainforest Gym and loved it.

A boppy pillow. This can also work as a nursing pillow. The boppy pillow is great for tummy time and for lounging around. As they get older, it also works great for helping the sit up on their own. My only wish is that I had gotten one sooner.

We never used a swing, but a lot of people swear by them for helping baby sleep, so I’m including that one on the list.

Car seat dangling toys (can also go on the activity mat)

Diaper and Bathroom related

Diapers: Here’s what I’ve generally seen – Huggies are for girls, Pampers are for boys (in terms of fit). We started with the Pampers Swaddlers for disposables.

Now we use Honest diapers which fit great, look great and are biodegradable.

Wipes: You need them, at least when you’re on the go, but I don’t like any of them. At home we use little washcloths and water – in fact, his changing station is in the bathroom closest to his room.

We also do cloth diapers but I’ll save that for another post.

Diaper ointment: we go back and forth between 100% shea butter and the honest healing balm

Diaper pail. We have one, but I hate it J We also have wet bags for the cloth diapers and I’m not a fan of those either. Sorry, no advice on this front.

Baby bath tub – we borrowed this and can’t complain. We use it in our bathtub.

Washcloths – you can buy baby ones or just use regular ones

Hooded towel

Baby shampoo – my fav is BabyMagic calming bath

Baby lotion – again, I like the BabyMagic one.

Baby saline – to spray up their dry or snotty nose

The NoseFrieda snotsucker – it looks gross but works sooo much better than the aspirators you get at the hospital. Trust me on this one!

Nursing Related

Nursing bras: In hindsight, I would have waited until after having baby to buy most of my nursing bras. I bought a bunch earlier and they all ended up not fitting/feeling uncomfortable. I guess it depends on how big the ladies are, but I was fine without much of a bra for the first few days…even now, I can’t highly recommend any bras.  So, to start off with, I would get some comfortable sleep-style nursing bras and I would pack one of those in the go bag for the hospital. They do get covered in milk more often than you might think, so you do need more than one!

Nursing pads (to go in your bras). The disposable ones really irritated my skin plus it’s a lot of waste. My fav brand/product was the reusable Nuk pads.

A nursing pillow. There was definitely a learning curve when it came to nursing accompanied by lots of tennis elbow and neck pain! I think it’s useful to start with a pillow though you may not use it in the long run. I started with my Breast friend pillow (yes, things have lots of terrible names!) because it strapped around you and seemed to stay put more. However, in the middle of the night, it is a pain in the butt to have to strap that thing on and I need a bunch of additional pillows anyway to help prop myself up. In hindsight, I would have gotten the Boppy pillow because you can use it as a baby pillow after you stop using it as a nursing pillow.

A nursing cover. They have silly names like Hooter Hiders, etc. I swore I wouldn’t buy or use one before Bailey was born. And now, I love mine. It has made me so much more comfortable with nursing in public

Burp clothes. Probably good to have 6-10.

Lanolin ointment. I would just use it preventatively from the beginning. For rubbing on your nipples after nursing.

Epsom salts. Whenever I felt like I was getting a clogged duct, this was my go-to solution. I would put Epsom salts and hot water in a deep bowl and dunk you know what into the bowl for a few minutes. Those heating pad things that go in the microwave is nice too. You can heat it up an drape it over your chest for a few minutes before nursing. Makes the milk flow easier.

Favorite Books

The Wonder Weeks

What to Expect the First Year

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Solve your child’s sleep problems

The No Cry Sleep Solution

Montessori from the Start

*Happiest Baby on the Block – easier to Netflick than to buy the book

Online Resources




There’s always more but that’s what I can come up with for now as my list of most important items. I guess I need to add car seat info I’ll save it for another post!

WU, BT, STTN, OT, UT – it’s all about sleep!

Now that I’m a mom, I am completely, unabashedly obsessed with sleep. Daytime sleep, night-time sleep, all of it. The internets are an amazing place for finding information about anything, as long as you can follow the acronyms. LOL! I used to have no idea what anyone was talking about and now I can talk in baby jargon with the best of them.

  • WU = wake up time
  • BT = bed time
  • STTN = sleep through the night (which by the way is a loaded phrase but I’ll talk about that another time)
  • OT = Overtired
  • UT = Undertired
  • LO = Little one
  • DH = Dear husband
  • BTDT = Been there done that
  • EBF = Exclusively breast feeding
  • EBP = Exclusively pumping
  • EFF = Exclusively formula feeding
  • LOL = laugh out loud

and the list goes on.

I’ve read Babywise; Secrets of the Baby Whisperer; The Ferber Method; Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Babies; the Sleep Lady Shuffle and you know what? They mostly contradict each other; they’re pretty confusing; and they’re all written as if every word is complete medical fact.

As a longtime lover of sleep (I used to be sad if I got any less than 10 hours a night, yeah, you read that right!), I have been completely and utterly CONFUSED by reading all these expert opinions and hearing opinions from people who have been there and done that. So, I’m not about to tell you what to do. I just want you to know that 1) it’s hard, don’t let them fool you into thinking this is easy stuff to figure out and “get right” 2)  Most babies do not sleep through the night at 6 months, I don’t care who you talk to or what books you’ve read 3) it’s probably normal, whatever you’re dealing with in the sleep issues department, I think it’s where the term “growing pains” should have originated from 4) read alot or ask questions or do your own thing, but in the end every parent, child and situation is different, so trust your intuition!

That being said, I’m always on the lookout for good resources and tips, so I’m going to use this blog to post about them My first interesting find is this sleep chart. Bailey is 6 months old tomorrow and this chart is just starting to be relevant/make sense to us 🙂

And just to report, today we’re in a really good place when it comes to sleep. I’ve obviously lowered my standards and understand that 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep preferably from 11pm – 9am is likely out of the question. I am however, inordinately happy that my son currently does the following: 1) sleeps in his own floor bed and 2) goes to sleep on his own each night. I’m also pretty pleased that in the last few days, his pattern has been to go to bed around 6:45pm, wake up once a night to eat (anytime between 2-4am), promptly go back to sleep and then wake up for the day between 6:30 and 7:30. We’re having a good week so far.

Back when Bailey could sleep anywhere!

And I can’t believe that I essentially never sleep past 7am these days. A small part of me is in constant mourning for the sleep I used to have, but in return I have one happy, super cool baby and I guess I could start going to bed at 7pm to match my nights more to my LO’s nights… maybe not.