1/17/10

Nap Lengths - What's Average?


Unfortunately, a good, long nap does not come easily to all babies. So don't despair if your baby doesn't take naps as long as the ones listed below. Believe me, he is not the only one, I promise! If this is the case, you may want to check out the posts: Short Naps and Extending a Short Nap.

How long should naps be?
  • At 2 months naps should be at least 1.5 hours long to ensure adequate rest (Babywise). This does not include the evening nap which is often a "mini nap".
  • Naps ideally will be 1.5-2.5 hours in length around 6-12 months of age. Generally I avoid having naps be >2 hours, but if you child is sleeping fine with a longer nap and/or is making up some sleep from a previously rough nap, then you should be fine.
  • Take a look at average daily sleep here.
Nap lengths for using the eat/activity/sleep routine:
  • On a 2.5 hour routine naps will probably be around 1.5-2 hours in length (assuming your child is a newborn).
  • On a 3-4 hour routine naps will probably be around 1.5-2.5 hours in length.

Related Posts:
Short Naps
Extending a Short Nap
Daytime Sleep - What's Average?

13 comments :

  1. Wow your blog has been spool helpful. Thank you! Just out of curiosity....approx how many naps should a 2 mos old have if following the EASY schedule?

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  2. Oops... Meant sooo helpful!

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  3. Kate,
    On the EASY routine a 2 month old will probably be eating around every 3 hours. Here is a sample routine:
    7 eat
    NAP
    10 eat
    NAP
    1 eat
    NAP
    4 eat
    NAP (may be a mini nap)
    7 eat and bed

    So usually 4 naps at that age. Most babies go to 3 naps between 4 and 6 months of age.

    Hope that helped!
    Rachel

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    1. For about a month now, my two month old has taken shorter 1 hour naps, rather than the 1.5 to 2 hours needed to make the above schedule work? I find myself having to feed before a nap, rather than after since she is hungry at times between feelings. Which then throws off the next cycle of EAS. Any suggestions? Do you know if short nap cycles like this is normal for two month olds and if it will likely change soon? She is almost 12 weeks, and I'm really hoping she will consolidate her sleep and wake times soon. Thanks!

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    2. Hi Kim, I know your post is from last fall, but I thought I'd ask what you ended up doing to make the schedule work? I'm going thru the same issue with my 9 week old. Thanks in advance! Emily

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  4. Hi Rachel-
    I love your Blog! It has been so helpful for me with my newborn! I have a general questions about naps- My 7 week old often falls asleep for the night pretty late, 10:30 p.m. and then sleeps until 4 or 5 a.m. After eating, she falls asleep (REM sleep) again until about 7 or 8 am. Would that second sleep count as her morning nap or a continuation of the night sleep? I am just trying to figure out if I should be trying to get her to nap more often during the day as she often has a long wake time and takes a late afternoon nap (4-5 pm) . Any tips or info on how to move her afternoon nap to earlier in the day would be helpful! Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. I am experiencing the same and would love feedback on this as well!

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    2. Nicolewynne and Alyssa (I know this is late for you alyssa, sorry!),
      At 7 weeks, bedtime can be a bit later than usual. I would still aim to have something like a 7-7 routine (or 8-8 if it works), but if you can't get the earlier bedtime to happen due to fussiness etc, then don't stress about it. Any sleep between the 7pm-7 am period would be considered night sleep. This post talks about timing morning wake time with night feeds...

      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/06/morning-wake-time-timing-morning-wake.html

      Late afternoon naps are fine at this age since baby can often only stay awake for an hour or so at a time. As baby gets older, you'll worry about too late of a nap either giving too little waketime before bed, or pushing bedtime too late.

      And yes, I would try to get her to nap often during the day. Look over the waketime length posts for some average lengths of time babies are awake before needing a nap as well as the top sleep post which will give you an idea of some baby sleep basics.

      Best of luck!

      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2010/02/top-sleep-tips-for-children.html
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/wake-time.html

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  5. Hi Rachel,
    I really wish I found your blog before I had my baby because I feel like I've messed him up! I'm hoping you might be able to give me a bit of advice. I'm having some trouble with naps, early morning wakenings and bedtime/waketime.

    Baby is 10 weeks old (he was born one week early).

    With naps, he never sleeps more than 20-30 min. on his own without waking up crying. The only way I can get him to sleep an hour and a half as recommended is by holding him or carrying him in a carrier. A ride in the car works sometimes too. I know he SHOULD and CAN sleep an hour and a half, but he wakes up at 20-30 min. I've tried to sit there and pat him through his transition. It works sometimes and not others. When the patting doesn't work, I end up having to pick him up and rocking him to sleep again and putting him down. Should I continue trying this for every nap or should I just carry/hold him so he gets enough sleep? I'm just worried I'll mess up his ability to fall asleep on his own. I usually will put him down drowsy and he can sleep for 20-30 until he hits his sleep transition. This is how it is for EVERY NAP all day.

    His rough schedule is this

    7:00 am - 7:30 am - Wake up, feed 5 oz., play until I spot signs of drowsiness (usually about an hour)
    8:30 am - Nap - wakes up after 20-30 min. so it's a struggle for me to either keep trying to pat him through transitions until his next feeding. Sometimes I give up and just carry him.

    10:00 am - feed 5 oz., play

    11:15 am - nap (same struggle as mentioned above until his next feeding)

    1:00 pm - feed 5 oz. play

    2:15 pm - nap (I'm exasperated by this point)

    4:00 pm - feed 5 oz, play

    5:15 pm - 30 min. nap (at least he's good at a short nap)

    5:45 pm - bath time, cuddling

    6:30 pm - feed 5 oz., wait for signs of drowsiness

    7:15 - 7:40 pm - bedtime (I haven't gotten the sweet spot in several nights. Tonight it was finally around 7:35 pm)

    10:15 - 11:00 pm - wakes for a 5 oz feeding, usually very sleepy during this feeding and sometimes it's hard to get him to finish all 5 oz., right back to sleep

    3:00 - 4:00 am - wakes for a 5 oz feeding, right back to sleep

    5:10 am - consistently wakes up at this time and has the same issue with waking every 30 min. like his naps. I am so tired I end up taking him to bed with me. He still will wake several times crying until his wake up time at 7:30 am. Sometimes I hold him in bed and it helps him sleep a little longer. I don't know if this is waking out of habit here or if something is wrong with his schedule.

    Occasionally, if we're inconsistent with his bedtime, he will wake up randomly throughout the night crying and I have to rock him back to sleep.

    HELP! Please! I am so tired from trying to help him nap during the day and dealing with his 5:10 am habitual wakeup. I'm not sure if his habitual waking is a bad habit or if I have something off with his schedule/bedtime/waketime. And as for his naps, I don't know if I should just carry him to help him get the sleep he needs (will I mess up his ability to self soothe?) or try patting him through transitions like I have been (sometimes successfully, sometimes I have to pick him up). Any advice would be much appreciated!

    THANK YOU!

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    1. Joan - I'm having such similar problems. My little guy is 16 weeks old today. I was just wondering if you have you made any progress with yours? Hope things are getting better!!

      Heather

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    2. Joan's post is exactly what I'm experiencing!
      My question is what is more important - longer naps with me or trying to sleep on her own with shorter naps? Some days I'm lucky and get an hour nap on her own
      She does well with bedtime and falling asleep, and staying asleep, in her crib. She just doesn't like sleeping for long stretches in her crib for naps. I find as the day goes on the naps go down hill.
      My daughter is 7 weeks

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    3. Jennifer, at 7 weeks a decent nap is probably more important than little to no nap. Look over the newborn sleep guide post--it goes into that a bit. Likely at this age you can probably extend a short nap too, that would be ideal.

      rachel

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  6. Your blog has been tremendously helpful! I always refer to it when we encounter challenges and are usually able to get back on track within a day or so. I suspected that my 11 month old was attempting to drop to 1 nap/day as evidenced by his taking a 3-hour nap some days and then either no nap at all for the remainder of the day or a short cap nap in the afternoon. I tried extending his wake time, but as of recently he will only nap for 1 hour, usually between 11-12pm, and then he is up for the rest of the day. He usually wakes up from these naps by crying, which lets me know he is still tired. I have tried nursing or rocking him back to sleep and this will usually cause him to stay up instead of going back to sleep. I am afraid that if I let him CIO, he'll become too upset to go back to sleep. I'm just worried that he's not getting enough sleep per day, but I don't know how to extend this short nap. He will not take a nap in the afternoon for some reason.

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