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Baby Sleep Habits

Baby in blue jumper sleeping on a white blanket.

Sleep is important for your baby’s growth and development, especially for their rapidly developing brain. Each baby’s sleep pattern will be different, depending on their personality and temperament. 

Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies

Developing healthy sleep habits for babies is crucial for their overall growth and well-being. Sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical and cognitive development during the early stages of life. By ensuring that babies receive adequate and restful sleep, we support their brain development, emotional regulation, and immune system function.

It takes time for infants to develop a circadian rhythm cycle (having more awake time during the day and sleeping more at night). However, parents and caregivers can help their baby develop healthy sleep habits right from birth. Try these tips when putting your baby to sleep: 

  • Allow natural sunlight into the home during the day and keep the lights low at night. This will help your baby learn the difference between day and night. 
  • Start a calming bedtime routine with your baby, including things such as reading a story, bath time, baby massage, singing or rocking. Stay consistent, and over time, babies may learn that the routine and their crib mean it is time for sleep. 
  • Some babies may need more help than others to fall asleep. Try feeding, rocking, singing, shushing or patting to help soothe your baby. 

Napping helps a baby to sleep better at night. Keeping your baby awake during the day will not help your baby sleep longer at night. Some babies nap as little as 20 minutes, while others may nap for 3 or more hours. Both are normal. Try these tips to help your baby nap: 

  • It may be helpful to use a shorter version of your baby’s bedtime routine before a nap, for example, a short story and cuddle. 
  • Whenever possible, place your baby to sleep in the same place for daytime napping and night-time sleeping. 

  • normally sleep between 14 to 17 hours during a 24-hour period 
  • usually wake every two to three hours to feed 
  • have irregular sleep patterns and may sleep at any time of the day or night 
  • spend a lot of time in active sleep and may move, grunt and twitch during sleep. This may cause a baby to wake up not long after they fall asleep, just before moving into quiet sleep 

  • normally sleep 12 to 16 hours during a 24-hour period, including naps 
  • continue to wake frequently to feed 
  • may have a more regular sleep pattern, with more time spent in quiet sleep 
  • may begin to stay awake longer during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night 

  • normally sleep 12 to 16 hours during a 24-hour period, including naps 
  • may still wake during the night to feed 
  • may develop a more regular sleep routine 
  • may transition from many short naps to fewer, longer naps 

Infants have shorter sleep cycles than adults (about 60 minutes), and they may wake up as they move from one sleep cycle to the next. 

Contact Us!

Call the Healthy Families Information and Support Line 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5003

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