How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

A common baby sleep question I get from tired mothers is How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?! New parents, in particular, can struggle with the concept that their baby has had as little sleep with them, is so much smaller and yet seems to have bundles of energy whilst we have none. Quite rightly, parents can be concerned because they know that sleep is an important factor in any child’s development and allows them to grow physically, emotionally and cognitively but the question remains; How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
Let’s examine this.

child sleeping in bed

When a child doesn’t get their much-needed sleep, they will get more emotional and have a harder time concentrating on the usual day to day activities. One night of a child that won’t sleep won’t harm them, but it is when they can’t perform the tasks they need to in order to develop correctly that we start to see an issue. It is the same with babies, they do need their rest (even if they seem to think they don’t) and whilst a few bad nights won’t harm them, it is preferred from a developmental standpoint that they get their required hours.

Just like adults, the amount of sleep a baby needs can vary between individuals. Just as we all have that friend who can have three hours of sleep and still be chirpy in the morning, so can our babies. Generally speaking, you can tell if your baby has had enough sleep by their mood. Of course, there are external factors, such as the dreaded teething, that can steer us off course in judging how much sleep our baby needs and we can also reflect our own feelings onto the baby – just because you haven’t coped well with fragmented sleep doesn’t mean your baby is struggling too! If you are concerned your baby hasn’t gotten enough sleep then keep an eye out for their sleepy cues during the day.

We all wake between sleep cycles and it’s perfectly normal for a young baby to require some support from you in order to get themselves back to sleep. As they get older, this need for support usually lessens and like ourselves, they begin to only stir between sleep cycles. The way in which children typically gain the amount of sleep they need changes as they grow and develop. Every baby is unique, of course.

infant sleeping on the back on mattress

However, recommended sleep amounts, and the way this is typically structured within a 24-hour period for children of different stages of development is shown below:

Chart of average sleep need for children and adults

This chart is not a strict, necessary structure. It is an average and as with all averages, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for your child to fall on either side of these numbers. As a general rule of thumb, if your child is healthy and happy then there is a very high chance that they are getting enough sleep! As you learn their sleepy cues and their behaviours at different times of the day, you will be able to recognise when they need a bit of extra sleep due to a disturbed night previously or illness.

sleep chart

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

HOLISTIC BABY SLEEP COACH

Take a moment to reflect on the amount of sleep your child is getting and Ask yourself:

  • What is my child’s average day-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………

  • What is my child’s average night-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………

  • Calculate the above, in 24 hours how much sleep do they have?

    Answer here……………………………………………………………………..

  • What is the difference between the above number and the number range written on the chart?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • If there is a significant difference, is it the daytime or nighttime sleep that is causing the biggest difference?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • Whilst, as parents, we can often feel tired and desperate for the ‘break’ that daytime sleep provides, if it is causing issues with night-time sleep it is usually best to have shorter daytime naps in exchange for a good night’s sleep.

  • Some babies will only ever do short naps and it doesn’t matter how much you try to get them to nap longer they just never do, and it is ok. More short naps are equally as good as longer naps.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

Whether you’re going back to work after maternity leave or going back to work after being a stay at home mum, chances are you’re feeling a whole range of emotions about the transition. Not just for your little one but for you too!I wanted to share with you 5 ways you can make going back to work as a mum easier on the whole family, using my decades of experience working with families and their little angels.

1) Handover To Child-Care

When someone else is looking after your little one on a more regular basis, especially the first few times, it’s common to think of aspects of care that you’ve forgotten to mention multiple times throughout the day! Little things such as, how does baby like to be put to bed or that your toddler likes his sandwiches cut into dinosaur shapes that, whilst they don’t make much difference in the long run, are factors that you know will make your little one feel more at home. Make yourself a list of these things over the week or two before your child goes to child-care for the first time, this way you can pass over a simple document to your care provider and offer yourself peace of mind. Not sure what to include in your handover? There is a template included in our back to work guide here.

children in the nursery playing with the nursery teacher

2) Pre-Arranged Updates Where Possible

The temptation to constantly check our phones and emails can often be big at the best of times, however, if you’re back at work without your little one for the first time in a long time then that temptation is going to be strong. Whilst your employer will likely be understanding of this transitional period, it will be easier to not be glued to your personal screens if you have pre-arranged with child-care when they will contact you with little updates that aren’t an emergency. It also helps if, for instance, you’re in a meeting and you see an email flash up from nursery. Luckily, you’re already aware that they were planning to send an email at 2 pm so you don’t feel the need to lunge at your phone.

3)|Which Child-Care Option Is The Best?

There are so many more child-care options available than there have been in previous years and it’s important to carefully consider not only what works best for you in terms of convenience but which environment your little one will thrive in the most. Talk to other parents in your area if you can and ask for recommendations (even if it’s strangers in a local Facebook group) and if at all possible request settling-in sessions – even if it’s with a relative or friend. That way not only will they feel more settled but you’ll hopefully be more reassured they are okay on your first day back at work. A full breakdown of the pros and cons of child-care providers and things to consider in our bigger guide.

little girl going to school with her dad

4) How To Calm First Day Nerves?

Both you and your child might be feeling nervous about your first day at work, childcare or school. Firstly, you must try not to pass your feelings of anxiety onto the child, try to phrase everything positively for the both of you. Such as, ‘What are you most excited about for your first day? Mummy is excited about seeing her work friends, how about you?’. You can also try some breathing exercises, if you’re doing this with your child we recommend suggesting you both take a deep breath whilst thinking about any of your worries and then blow them away when you breathe out.

family hanging out together

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.