How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?

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Are you worried if your little one is getting enough sleep? You're not alone - let me help you decode the ‘recommended’ sleep totals for babies and toddlers so that you can find out if your little one is sleeping enough.

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Let's first take a look at the total amount of sleep recommended in a 24 hour period by age (as per the National Sleep Foundation Guidelines), shown in the above graphic.

The middle column is the AVERAGE sleep total that children of that age have in a 24 hour period.

However, you can also see the column on the right that shows the full range of normal - and yes, it is a HUGE RANGE! There is 3 hours difference in the average ranges, but up to 7-8 hours difference in the full ranges of normal!

So, what do we do with numbers like this? From my perspective, we look at them and agree that every baby really is different! We can use these numbers as a guide to get us started, but then we tune into YOUR UNIQUE baby and see what they need as an individual person, rather than trying to plot them somewhere within the charts.

There is a BIG gap between what mainstream sleep training culture tells us about how our baby “should” be sleeping and what our baby actually does. By taking a step back from the advice that doesn’t seem to fit your little one, you will see that they are a unique human who is not meant to fit into a predetermined box.

What is the best indicator of whether your baby is sleeping enough? Their mood - if they are, for the most part, pretty content upon waking and when they are awake they are engaging and not too grizzly, they are likely getting just as much sleep as they need. Your baby may sleep 7 hours more or less than another baby in your mum’s group, but they are both NORMAL and doing just what they need to be doing. The variance of sleep is not just from child to chid either, but within each individual child too - some days they may need more sleep than other days, because sleep isn’t linear.

The range of normal when it comes to baby and toddler sleep is wide! If you are really lost and need a starting point for finding your baby’s unique rhythm - download my FREE wake windows and sleep schedules guide to get you started!

Author: Sarah Palmer - Baby-Led Sleep & Well-being Specialist (Blossom and Snooze)

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