How Your Baby Sleeps and How Much Sleep They Need

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Your Baby Sleep Consultant expert.

How much sleep your baby needs

The length and quality of naps can affect your baby’s nighttime sleep, and vice versa. Properly timing naps are important; if a nap is too late in the day, the nighttime sleep will be affected. By timing naps so they fall in line with your baby’s biological clock, sleep and wake time are balanced. As a result, your little one’s nighttime sleep will be positively affected.

Average sleep needs by age 

The number of hours your baby sleeps is an important factor for well-being. This chart is a guide only. Some babies need more or less than shown, but the majority have needs that fall within the ranges.

AgeAmount of napsTotal amount of day sleep (7am-7pm)Awake time
First 12 weeks4-8 naps4-6 hoursApprox: 45min-1h 15
3-4 months4-5 naps3-4 hoursApprox: 1-2 hours
*Some babies can happily manage up to 2 hours of awake time here and still remain happy. Go on your baby’s tired signs to determine when s/he needs to be put down for a nap.
5-6 months3-4 naps2.5-3.5 hoursApprox: 2 hours
*Some babies can manage a 2/3/4hr awake time between each nap. Go on your baby’s tired signs to determine when s/he needs to be put down for a nap.
7-8 months2-3 naps2-3 hoursApprox: 2-4 hours
*If your baby has started to skip the third nap now, s/he will have a greater awake time in the late afternoon.
9-12 months2 naps2-3 hoursApprox: 3-4 hours
13-17 months1-2 naps2-3 hoursApprox: 3-5 hours
18 months – 3 years1 nap1-2.5 hoursApprox: 5-6 hours

Use this as a guideline only! The key to determining your baby’s awake times is to go on their tired signs. Depending on the day’s activities and mood, the awake times might change. If you have taken any of My Newborn’s programs, you will know Jennifer teaches families to be flexible and also to be guided on the baby’s individual sleep needs.  

Recommended schedule

Average sleep amount
14 -15 hours / 24 hours (3-day sleeps)

6:00-7:00 amawake and milk feed
8:00 ambreakfast
9:00 amsleep
10.30 / 11.00 ammilk feed
11:30 amlunch
12;00-2:00 pmcot sleep
2.30 / 3.00 pmmilk feed
4:00 – 4:30 pmsleep (30 mins max) on the go
5:00 pmdinner
6:00 pmbath
6.15 / 6.30 pmmilk feed
6.30 / 7.00 pmbed time
*night feeds as required by your baby

Average sleep amount
14 hours / 24 hours (2-day sleeps)

6:00-7:00 amawake and milk feed
8:00 ambreakfast
9:30 amsleep
11.00 ammilk feed / snack
12:00 pmlunch
1:00-3:00 pmcot sleep
3.00 pmmilk feed / snack
5:00 pmdinner
6:00 pmbath
6:40 pmmilk feed
7:00 pmbed time

12-15 MONTHS
Average sleep amount
13– 14 hours / 24 hours (2-day sleeps)

6:00-7:00 amawake
8:00 ambreakfast
9:30 amsleep (30 mins. max)
10.30 amsnack
12:00 pmlunch
1:00-3:00 pmcot sleep
3.00 pmsnack
5:00 pmdinner
6:00 pmbath
6:40 pmmilk feed
7:00 pmbed time

Average sleep amount
13 – 14 hours / 24 hours (1-day sleep)

6:00-7:00 amawake
8:00 ambreakfast
10.30 amsnack
12:00 pmlunch
12:30-2:30 pmcot sleep
3.00 pmsnack
5:00 pmdinner
6:00 pmbath
6:40 pmmilk feed
7:00 pmbed time

Again, use this as a guideline. Remembering some babies can manage to stay awake later than others. E.g. Some babies will nap at 9am, other’s 9.30am (depending on tired signs). Bed might be 6.30pm or 8pm. If you need help with your baby’s routine, get in touch with Jennifer, Sydney’s Baby Sleep Consultant now! 

Remember, some babies are ‘low or high sleep needs. Go on mood to determine what your baby needs.

What are other factor’s the contribute to your baby’s overall quality of sleep? Read on..

Baby’s sleep environment

Create the best sleeping environment for your baby so they can go to sleep and stay asleep:

  • Safe Sleeping Space (Making sure the cot is SIDS safe).
  • Darkness
  • White Noise 
  • Correct Bedding
  • Fresh Air
  • Appropriate Sleepwear
  • No Distractions


What we eat has an enormous impact on our health, wellbeing, weight, concentration, brain development, mood and how we sleep.

  • When possible, try to prepare fresh home-cooked meals for your baby.
  • Babies need protein and iron in their diet from 6 months onward. This helps them feel full enough to sleep well at their lunch nap and also overnight.
  • Protein should be given at the lunch meal only until your baby is over 10 months old, when you can introduce it at dinner. The reason for this is that protein at dinner in a baby younger than 10 months can cause night waking as their body tries to digest the protein while they’re lying down and their digestive system has slowed.

Annabell Karmel and For Baby have some good guidelines as to which foods are best to give your baby and in which order.

For babies under 10 months, keep an eye on protein at dinner time as it can cause digestive upset / gas at 2-3am. Keep a food log to determine if any particular foods are upsetting bubs tummy.

Developmental milestones

Major development milestones, such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking, drive babies to “practice” these new skills in their sleep. Some skills can cause problems with sleeping because they can be frustrating for your baby. For example, your baby might stand up but will be unable to get back down, or your baby might roll onto their stomach but will not be able to roll onto their back afterwards. The best thing you can do is practice these development milestones with your baby during awake times. Practice not only on the floor, but also in the cot. Work on these skills during awake times and it may help take some of the novelty out of the skill and end sleep disruptions sooner.

Tummy time

Tummy time during waking hours is important to the motor development of your baby as it allows them to gain head and body control. Your baby’s skull is still quite soft and constantly lying on their backs without changing the head position can cause a flattened effect on the back of the head. Tummy time helps your baby strengthen their neck, shoulders, arms and torso muscles. This strength will prepare your baby for crawling as well as getting ready to push up, roll over and eventually to stand. Frequent small amounts of tummy time throughout the day is sufficient – even if only for a minute or two at a time – and gradually increase the time, as long as your baby is comfortable.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a normal emotional stage of development that starts when babies begin to understand that things and people exist even when they are not present. At certain stages, babies and toddlers may start to show anxiety at the prospect, or reality, of being separated from a parent or primary carer. Babies can show signs of separation anxiety as early as 6 or 7 months but for most babies, anxiety peaks between 10 to 18 months. Separation anxiety usually eases by the time the baby is 24 months old.

Here are some recommendations to help your baby deal with separation anxiety:

  • Allow your baby to be a baby
  • Don’t fret about spoiling your baby with love
  • Minimise separation when possible
  • Practice quick and safe separations
  • Don’t sneak away when leaving your baby
  • Tell your baby what to expect
  • Don’t rush the parting but don’t prolong it either
  • Express positive attitudes when leaving your baby
  • Leave your baby with familiar people
  • Introduce a “lovey toy” from 7 months of age

Lovey toy

Once your baby is over 7 months of age, a comforter or lovey toy, such as a blankie or soft toy can help your baby self-soothe without your presence. Studies have shown that babies and toddlers who use a comforter are significantly more likely to sleep through the night than those without. If you currently use a dummy, rocking, cuddling, or feeding to help your baby to sleep, you might find yourself needing to do that several times throughout the night to help get your baby back to sleep. A comfort item will work in the same way as it will help your baby settle back to sleep; the only difference is that your little one can use the comforter independently. Studies have also found that baby comforters play a major role in helping children to cope when anxious and easing separation anxiety for your baby. Research has even found that baby comforters can be as effective as Mum or Dad in reducing moderate distress in babies!

Routine and Consistency

Babies and young children thrive with routines and consistency throughout their day. By creating a consistent bedtime and nap time routine, positive sleep associations are developed that your baby will recognise as a cue for sleeping. Each family will have their own ways of developing a bedtime routine; the thing to keep in mind is consistency. Make sure to repeat the same routine each and every time your baby is put down to bed.

Example routine: 

  • 5pm: Dinner
  • 6pm: Bath
  • 6:15pm: Milk
  • Dim the lighting/close the curtains
  • Stories
  • White noise on
  • Sing a song while cuddling and standing close to the cot
  • Say your goodnight script “Mummy/Daddy loves you, have a good night sleep”.

In summary, helping your baby sleep well includes considering various factors, and it’s crucial to understand your baby’s unique sleep requirements. Daytime naps impact nighttime sleep, so using the suggested sleep charts as a guide is helpful. Flexibility regarding your baby’s individual sleep needs is essential. If you’re seeking assistance in improving your baby’s sleep, reach out to Jennifer, your Baby Sleep Consultant in Sydney.

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Terms & Conditions

Jennifer is a qualified IMI Maternity and Child Sleep Consultant, Doula and MNT Maternity Nurse. These qualifications enable her to assist pregnant women with their sleep issues, support women during labour and the birthing process, guide parents during the postpartum period and educate families about their baby’s sleeping habits. Jennifer provides safe and gentle sleep training methods based on knowledge obtained during her studies, successful qualifications and 16+ years experience.

Jennifer has obtained her paediatric First Aid Training through KidZAid and is registered to work with babies and children in Australia and Europe. Techniques and methods used are all derived directly from her qualifications and from her many years of experience.

Jennifer’s advice does not replace the advice from your Doctor or Paediatrician, and her advice should not be relied upon as medical advice. For medical advice, you should always seek the advice from your medical practitioner. Therefore, you should consult with your health-care professional should you have any healthcare related questions or before embarking on a new sleep program. If a medical problem appears or persists, do not disregard or delay seeking medical advice from doctor. Accordingly, Jennifer expressly disclaims any liability, loss, damage, or injury caused by information provided to the client.

Jennifer will educate, support you and guide you through the sleep challenges needed to make change in your baby’s sleeping habits. As a Baby Sleep Consultant, Jennifer is not responsible for your application of the sleep solutions once the consultation has concluded. Once the sleep consultation has concluded it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to apply the agreed methods and solutions. Jennifer has an extremely high success rate, however, the success of Jennifer solutions is in the hands of the parents’ commitment & perseverance once the sleep consultation has ended; therefore Jennifer cannot make any guarantees of success. However, Jennifer will use her best endeavours to support you until the desired result has been achieved.

  • I agree to check with my healthcare provider/doctor if my baby has any medical conditions, which prevent them from being trained safely.
  • I agree to follow safe sleeping practices in line with SIDS recommendations (
  • I agree to disclose any medical conditions to Jennifer, which my baby has or has had previously.
  • I understand that my customised baby sleep program is meant for my baby only and should not be shared with a third party. I acknowledge the information might not be suitable for another baby.
  • Any changes I make to my baby’s sleeping or eating arrangements are my decision and Jennifer will only make suggestions for change, of which I am responsible for choosing to implement.
  • It is my responsibility to contact Jennifer for my follow up support and send the sleep log information through to be assessed for feedback as frequently as suggested.


In-Home Cancellation Policy
To confirm any In-Home Program, the client will be required to pay a 25% non-refundable deposit to secure the booking. The remaining amount of the In-Home Program will be required to be paid on the day after Jennifer leaves your home. Any cancellations barring medical or other emergencies will forfeit the deposit. If  you cancel less than 48 hours before the scheduled visit, the full amount will be required, unless Jennifer can backfill your place with someone on the waiting list.

If your baby is a little under the weather and does not have a temperature, the program can generally proceed as planned. If your baby is sick with a temperature or has been diagnosed with a medical condition by a doctor, the program will be postponed until your baby is better. A doctors certificate may be requested.

Remote Program/Phone Consultation
To confirm the Remote Program or Phone Consultation Jennifer will be required to be paid in full before sleep plans are constructed and the phone consultation takes place.

Remote Program Cancellation policy
The Remote Program and Phone Consultations are non-refundable after the start of sleep work (i.e. when any sleep advice has been delivered to the client via email, text, phone).

Acts of God or suspected medical conditions
If an act of God, such as a fire, flood, earthquake or other natural calamity shall cause you to cancel the sleep services, Jennifer will require payment only for the time actually spent sleep consulting. 

If during the In Home program, Jennifer feels the consultation should cease due to an underlying or undisclosed medical condition, Jennifer will require payment only for the time actually spent in your home. In this case, to keep the situation fair on both parties, the hourly rate is reduced down from the normal sleep consulting fees (as per the program booked) and charged at $50ph. 

Doctor’s appointment
Jennifer requests that every client has an appointment with their doctor to ensure their baby is developmentally on track and fit for sleep training. Written medical approval may be requested for certain circumstances.

Within 25km from Bondi Beach. An additional fee of $25ph travelled will be charged if travel is over 25kms.

As the client, you knowingly and voluntarily agree to waive and release Jennifer from any and all claims of liability or demands for compensation that you may acquire during the time working with Jennifer.

By checking this Agreement, you agree to the terms and conditions detailed within.