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What to expect from sleep for babies from 4-12 months

How do babies sleep from 4-12 months

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In this blog we will focus on what to expect from babies sleep from 4-12 months.

Your little one has passed through the 4 month sleep regression (or progression as you will hopefully call it after reading my last blog.) They have already seen a big change in their sleep needs over the last few months, however what is to come before their first birthday? As with all babies sleep, make sure you follow The Lullaby Trust for advice around safer sleep for babies.

From around 4 months, babies’ sleep develops into cycles that they will then have for the rest of their life. Below is a visual representation of what this looks like.

You will see that once they fall asleep , the beginning part of their nighttime sleep has a period of deep sleep, followed by cycles of lighter sleep. Both of these types of sleep are really important for babies, and they both have completely different functions and purposes. More information about this can be found here.

How much sleep do babies need between 4-12 months?

Babies change so much between 4-12 months, and unsurprisingly, so do their sleep needs. To make it really simple, here are some guides to the different stages:

4-6 months

After the 4 month regression, babies will start having the block of deep restorative sleep shown above. The rest of the night is made up of lighter sleep cycles. For little ones who have become reliant on a parent’s support to go to sleep, you may see multiple night wakings during this lighter sleep which can be absolutely exhausting. 

It is completely normal for little ones to still need 1-2 feeds during the night, however some babies are able to take on more milk during the day and therefore not need as much at night. It is also likely that if they are waking multiple times during the night, these are not all for food, but for comfort or they need a parent to help them get back to sleep.

  • At 4-6 months, generally babies will be on 3 naps, with 3-4 hours of daytime sleep.
  • Their awake window is around 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. See here for more information on what awake windows are, how they can help you plan your day and support your little ones sleep.

6-7 months

At 6 months, babies start their adventure with food!  This doesn’t just happen overnight, and to begin with they will still get the majority of their nutritional content and food from milk. It can feel really exciting to start this journey, however it can also be a bit overwhelming. For some great advice and weaning workshops visit Theresa at Your Family Nutritionist.

  • At 6-7 months, generally babies will be on transitioning to 2 naps, with 3-3 1/2  hours of daytime sleep.
  • Their awake window is around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. See here for more information on what awake windows are, how they can help you plan your day and support your little ones sleep.

7-9 months

As they become more confident with solids they will increase the amount of nutrition and food they get from solids and reduce their reliance on milk. Although they are eating more, if they have yet to develop their skills to fall asleep independently, they may struggle to go back to sleep even if they are not hungry.

  • At 7-9 months, generally babies will reduce to 2 naps, with 3 hours of daytime sleep.
  • Their awake window is around 3 hours. 

10-12 months

As they approach their first birthday, most babies, as long as they are healthy with no concerns about their weight/development, then they can absolutely go through the night without a feed.

  • At 10-12 months, generally babies need 2-2 ½  hours of daytime sleep.
  • Their awake window is around 3-3 ½ hours. 

After 12 months

You made it! Your little one is one, hopefully they have developed great sleep techniques and you are looking forward to what the next year will bring. Keep an eye out for next month’s blog as this will look at the 2-1 nap transition and how to support toddlers sleep whilst they are in a cot.

For families who are struggling with their babies’ sleep, once they have passed the 4 month regression, I can absolutely help with a child in the cot package

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