0 – 11 weeks
Expect lots of deep periods of sleep –- but in short bursts. This is because newborns need to wake regularly to feed. Plus the hormones that regulate your baby’s sleep patterns are not established yet. To help her body adjust to daytime and nighttime, try leaving the blinds or curtains open during the day sleeps, so it is still light. But close them for night sleeps. so the room is darker, except for the comforting night light. By 12 weeks your baby’s body clock will have established itself and she may find it easier to sleep when the room is dark.
3 – 4 months
Your baby starts developing cycles of lighter and deeper sleep. Her body is learning how to move between cycles of light and deep sleep, so she probably will only nap deeply for 45 minutes at a time. Then her body moves into light sleep… and it may take a while for her to learn how to transition back into deep sleep again.
For example, if your baby relies on you to pat her to sleep, she may need you to come in every 45 minutes to pat her back into a deep sleep. But it gets confusing because when she sees you, she gets excited and thinks that it is the end of nap time.
It helps to teach your baby how to soothe herself back to sleep – try dropping some of the things you do to help her drift off. Pat her for a shorter time, or nurse her for a slightly shorter time. Gradually she will learn how to drift off into deeper sleep herself.
5 – 6 months
By 5 or 6 months your baby is old enough to sleep in more predictable patterns – although she may not do it all the time!
7 – 8 months
Your baby will probably enjoy two or three long naps every day – and you will also enjoy the peace and quiet. Her body is also learning how to establish circadian rhythms – your day and nigh body clock.
9 – 12 months
Your baby is learning a lot of new skills right now, and this can disrupt her sleep patterns. For example, she is learning to pull herself up in her cot but may not know how to sit back down again. She may also face some Separation Anxiety where she worries when you leave the room. All these changes make it hard for her to settle down for a nap.
13 – 17 months
Your active toddler benefits from two naps a day, probably until she is 18 months old. Her naps help her control her moods and give her joy and energy for her busy days.
18 months – 2 years
From about 18 months old, most toddlers are napping once a day. But it can take a few months to make this switch, so do not be surprised if your child needs two naps on some extra-busy days.
2 – 3 years
By this age, your toddler may be able to skip her naps a few times a month. By the age of 3 or 4 she may not need daytime naps at all. However, every child is different and you know your baby best – so you be the judge.