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You get a lot of particular days dedicated to something these days. Whether it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) or National Pizza Day (February 9th or, indeed, every Friday), these days can be fun, but are far from serious. The introduction in the USA of Baby Sleep Day (March 1st) by the Pediatric Sleep Council might not sound as fun as speaking like Captain Jack Sparrow, but it’s message is vitally important. This is a day dedicated to ensuring that not only are our infants getting enough sleep, but the entire family are too. This March 1st embrace the importance of sleeping for an infant’s development so ask yourself “is my child getting enough sleep?”

Of course, that can be easier said than done, especially when it can be so confusing as to how much your baby or child actually needs to sleep. To help you out, here’s a rough guide to the average amount of sleep your child should get depending on age. Keep in mind that all babies are different and some children might need more or less:

  • Toddler-SleepingNewborn babies to 3 month old babies should be getting 10-11 hours’ sleep during the night and a series of 4-5 short hour naps during the day.
  • 4 to 5 month old babies should get 10-12 hours’ sleep at night and around 2-4 hours of sleep during the day with at least two naps that last an hour or more.
  • 6 to 8 month olds need 11-12 hours of sleep per night and 2-3 hours sleep during the day with two long naps and one short nap.
  • 9 to 17 months old will also need 11-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day, however this should be only 1 or 2 naps.
  • 18 month olds to 3 year olds need 10-12 hours’ sleep at night and one nap that lasts from 1-3 hours long.
  • 3 to 5 year olds need less sleep with 10-11 hours’ a night and perhaps an hour nap during the day but most will stop this after aged 4.
  • 5 years and older will go down to 9-10 hours’ of sleep a night with no naps during the day.

If you are worried about your child getting too much or too little sleep, you can always log their sleeping over a few weeks to make up your own averages to follow. Your baby or toddler might sleep well below the average and be perfectly happy so you can use their mood and activity level as a measure of sleep, however, children can be perfectly happy with little sleep! So, if they are getting a lot less you might want to make some adjustments.

Surprisingly, one of the top ways to spot over-tiredness in a child is through observing them taking shorter naps, waking up too early in the morning and waking up too much during the night. If this occurs, you might want to switch up your sleep schedule by introducing an earlier bedtime – never fall into the trap of keeping a child up later so they sleep longer as this rarely works. Keep switching until you find something that works. Plus, by keeping to a sleep schedule very early in life, you’ll find they get the best sleep and most consistent sleep later on and, even better, so will you!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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