South Florida Sleep Training Consultant

Ideal Sleep Schedules for Babies

Ideal Sleep Schedule for Birth to 16 weeks

Newborn parents should make sure there is a positive feeding bond and healthy feeding schedule/relationship established before focusing on imposing any major sleep changes.

Newborns tend to nap 1-3 hours at a time depending on their feedings and environment. Most newborns take 3-5 naps per day. Depending on the nap length, your newborn may only take 3 long naps and on the contrary, if your newborn is taking shorter naps you may need a 5th or possible 6th nap to make it to bedtime. For the newborn schedule, it is less time-based and more focused on how long the baby is awake. 

Newborns from birth to about 8 weeks may only stand to be awake for roughly 30-45 minutes before needing more sleep. Newborns from 8 to 12 weeks can potentially handle 45-60 minutes of awake time before needing a nap. Finally, babies 12 to 16 weeks old should be awake roughly 1-1.5 hours. Please note, the awake time includes feeding time, so if your feedings are taking longer than 30-45 minutes, we should dig a little deeper to find out why. 

The main focus with newborns, especially 0-8 weeks, is to establish a 24 hour light cycle, which means 12 hours of bright daylight and 12 hours of pitch black. This helps them learn their days from nights and will encourage longer stretches of sleep during night time.

Schedule for 4-5 Naps a Day

8:00-9:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Morning routine (make sure there is a lot of light – open curtains & turn on lights)
  • Take them out of their room/sleep space to start the morning
  • Try for 10-15 minutes of outside time during each awake window if possible

30-60 minutes after waking, begin first nap time *Do not start this nap before 7:00 am

  • Routine should take 5 to 10 minutes but no longer than 15 minutes.
  • If the child is napping on the go or in a carrier there is no need for a routine.

30-60 minutes after waking, begin second nap time 

  • Same as first nap time 

30-60 minutes after waking, begin third nap time

  • Same as first nap time

30-60 minutes after waking, begin forth nap time *Do not let baby sleep past 6:30 pm

  • This nap may be the most difficult as babies tend to fight the last nap of the day
  • This is traditionally the shortest nap of the day

8:00-9:00 PM Start Bedtime Routine (should take 20 minutes, no longer than 30 minutes!)

  • Baby in their crib no later than 9:30 pm

*If the last nap ended after 6:00 pm do not try for another nap, instead start the bedtime routine earlier.

Daytime Schedule for 4 to 8 months old

Babies between 4-8 months old should be awake roughly 2-3 hours before needing more sleep. If you have a newly turned 4-months old, your time awake can be as little as 1.5 hours in the morning. While a baby who is 8-months old can potentially go about 3.5 hours before needing more sleep, particularly at the end of the day.

Schedule for 3 Naps a Day

6:00-7:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Morning routine (make sure there is lots of light – open curtains & turn on lights)
  • Take them out of their room/sleep space to start the morning
  • At least 15-30 minutes of active play (outside if possible)

8:00-9:00 AM Begin First Nap Time Routine 

*Do not start this nap before 8:00 am

  • Make sure you have a nap time routine in place if your napping at home in the same place as bedtime.
  • Routine should take 5 to 10 minutes but no longer than 15 minutes.
  • If the child is napping on the go or in a carrier there is no need for a routine.

10:00-11:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Same as the morning routine & at least 15-30 minutes of active play 

12:00-1:00 PM Begin Second Nap Time Routine 

  • Same as first nap time recommendations

1:30-2:30 PM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Same as the morning routine & at least 15-30 minutes of active play 

3:30-4:30 PM Begin Third Nap Time Routine 

*Do not let them sleep past 5:30 pm to maintain a 7:00-7:30 pm 

This should be the shortest nap of the day

Same as first nap recommendations

6:30-7:00 PM Start Bedtime Routine 

  • Routine should take 20 to 30 minutes, no longer than 45 minutes
  • In sleep space at the latest – 7:30 pm

Daytime Schedule for 8 to 16 Months Old

Babies between 8-16 months need roughly 3 to 4 hours of awake time before being ready for more sleep. Keep in mind these are rough guidelines and some babies go down to 1 nap by 12 or 14 months old.  By 8 months, many babies are starting to get into a natural rhythm and will roughly nap at the same time every day. However, if you are struggling to get onto a consistent nap schedule and/or your baby is struggling to nap, setting up consistent nap times each day can help, if your baby is older than 8 months.

Schedule for 2 Naps a Day

6:00-7:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Morning routine (make sure there is lots of light – open curtains & turn on lights)
  • Take them out of their room/sleep space to start the morning
  • At least 30 minutes of active play (outside if possible)

9:00-10:00 AM Begin First Nap Time Routine 

*Do not start this nap before 8:30 am

  • Make sure you have a nap time routine in place if your napping at home in the same place as bedtime.
  • Routine should take 5 to 10 minutes but no longer than 15 minutes.
  • If the child is napping on the go or in a carrier there is no need for a routine.

11:00-12:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Same as the morning routine & at least 30 minutes of active play 

1:30-2:30 PM Begin Second Nap Time Routine 

*Do not let them sleep past 4:00 pm to maintain a 7:00-7:30 pm bedtime  

This is usually the shorter of the naps

  • Same as first nap time recommendations

3:00-3:30 PM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Same as the morning routine & at least 30 minutes of active play 

6:30-7:00 PM Start Bedtime Routine 

  • Routine should take 20 to 30 minutes, no longer than 45 minutes
  • In sleep space at the latest – 7:30 pm

Daytime Schedule for 16 Months to 3 Years Old

Schedule for 1 Nap a Day

Often babies between 14-18 months make the transition down to one nap and, as toddlers, continue to need that nap from 2.5 to 4 years of age. These are rough guidelines and everyone’s child’s sleep needs are different, so don’t worry if your baby drops to 1 nap early or is still taking 2 naps at 18 months.

6:00-7:00 AM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Morning routine (make sure there is lots of light – open curtains & turn on lights)
  • Take them out of their room/sleep space to start the morning
  • At least 30 minutes to 1 hour of active play (outside if possible)

11:30-1:00 Begin Nap Time Routine 

*Do not start this nap before 11:30 am

  • Make sure you have a nap time routine in place if your napping at home in the same place as bedtime.
  • Routine should take 5 to 10 minutes but no longer than 15 minutes.
  • If the child is napping on the go or in a carrier there is no need for a routine.
  • Do not let them sleep past 2:30 pm to maintain a 7:00-7:30 pm bedtime 

1:30-2:30 PM Wake Up, Eat, Play

  • Same as the morning routine & at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of active play

6:30-7:00 PM Start Bedtime Routine 

  • Routine should take 20 to 30 minutes, no longer than 45 minutes
  • In sleep space at the latest – 7:30 pm

Contact Good Little SleeperZzz Today!

Having a set sleeping schedule for your baby can be difficult during busy or stressful times, or when your baby isn’t sleeping well. However, sticking to the basics of a schedule can help your baby (and you) stay on track, or get back on track, during those times. If you need help, reach out to me, and I’ll give you some personalized solutions to help you and your baby get the rest you need.