Most new parents crave the day when they put their infant down at night—and don’t need to return to the crib until the morning. Unfortunately, despite the fact that newborns sleep about 14 to 17 hours in a 24-hour day, they don’t string many of those hours together during the first few months. What’s more, some babies reverse their day and night sleep schedule, meaning they end up snoozing more during the daylight hours than at night, a condition appropriately called “day-night reversal.”
For parents, all of this means that the large chunk of sleep they’ve grown accustomed to during the after-dark hours disappears, and they find themselves trying to sneak in an hour or two whenever and wherever they can in order to hit the amount of sleep recommended by experts. But take heart: All babies eventually learn to sleep through the night. This timeline gives guidance on when it will happen:
Birth to Three Months
Every baby is different, but most infants this age will sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day, including naps. Some newborns might get by on less (11 to 13 hours) and a few prefer more sleep time (18 or 19 hours). Your best bet at this stage is to rest when your baby does and know that waking several times at night to feed is completely normal.
Three to Six Months
You’re getting a little closer to a solid sleep schedule, but it might not be the full night you were hoping for just yet. After four months of age, your baby will likely sleep between 12 and 15 hours a day, including naps. And many infants between three and six months are able to sleep five hours at a time, which experts consider “sleeping through the night.”
Six to Nine Months
Hurray! Your baby is finally at the age when she’ll reliably sleep for much longer at night. By six months of age, many infants no longer require night feedings, and the majority of sleep will now occur after dark, along with a couple of naps during the day. As you begin to catch up on some much-needed sleep yourself, there is more to look forward to: During your child’s first year, she’ll likely move on to sleep a full 10 hours at night.