Have you ever sat and wondered, ‘how long should my baby sleep for’? You might have an idea for overnight sleep but what about day time naps? Should you let them sleep for however long they need or should you wake them up?
Well, the answer to that firstly depends on the age of your baby. Newborns (anything up to 5 months old) will definitely nap much more sporadically (especially in those early months) than older babies. Try and keep a log of your baby’s sleep. You might find they are actually in their own little routine already, but, it will certainly help when it comes to getting them into more of a consistent routine.
A 6 month old baby will probably be on 3 naps a day (maybe still 4 – that’s fine!) and ideally we want that lunchtime nap to be the longer one. How? Cap those other naps! Yes, that’s right.. you will need to think about waking your little one up!
So how do you know if you need to cap a nap? Well, in general, if your baby is sleeping well during those naps, but perhaps waking a lot at night. Or perhaps they sleep for longer in the morning and then just cat nap in their other naps and then you have a bad bedtime. Basically, if something isn’t quite working for you, then you might need to cap a nap!
We would always suggest not letting your little one sleep for too long close to their bedtime. If they have a 2 hour nap a few hours before you then want them to sleep for 12 hours at night, it might not work. This is why we want that lunchtime nap to be longer. Keep their wake window (plus about 15 minutes – half an hour) in between that last shorter nap and their bedtime. This will ensure that enough ‘sleep pressure’ is built up!
Should you let your baby sleep? Well in a nutshell.. sometimes! If they aren’t ill, and they are older, then there is no reason not to wake them up to in-keep with your plans. If you have a routine which works for you, then why change it!