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The Secret to Baby Sleeping 12 Hours at Night

November 19, 2013 |  by  |  1 YO, 3-6 Months, 6-9 Months, 9-12 Months
The Secret to Baby Sleeping 12 Hours at Night

Numerous sleep books as well as celebrity parenting gurus (Jessica Alba – who knew?) propose that your baby can and should be sleeping 12 hours at night. Which suggests if your baby isn’t sleeping 12 hours at night, you’re doing it wrong. Or possibly your baby is broken. Maybe both?

This leads to a regular stream of emails from people who are frustrated by their inability to conquer the mystical mountain of the 12 hour night. They include a myriad of details including their 40 minute pre-bed soothing wind down routine, use of white noise, swaddling, put baby down awake, militant adherence to routine, schedules, block out blinds, positive sleep associations, and yet despite all their great work, they can’t get their baby to sleep longer than 11 hours a night.

And so I share with them my magical technique to master the art of the 12 hour night. But more on that later…

How Much Night Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Where did the goal of “12 hours” come from? Presumably these books are based on scads of credible science suggesting that 12 hours is a medically mandated and realistically achievable goal.

Nope.

The truth is “how much sleep” is still a subject of great debate.

The Sleep in America Poll says kids are sleeping ~10 hours at night by the their first birthday. It also says that over 1/3 of kids aren’t getting enough sleep. Ferber also suggests kids need ~10 hours by their first birthday. Wiessbluth says 1 year old babies should be sleeping between 10-13 hours of sleep at night, with the average falling around 11.5 hours. The amount of sleep kids get varies widely by country (New Zealand wins – go Kiwis!). Or there is the Pediatrics Study that tells us that for the past 200 years, pediatric sleep experts have failed to agree on how much sleep our kids need but that regardless of what amount is suggested, kids get on average, 37 minutes less sleep than the experts recommended number.

So don’t feel bad. You’re failing just like your great-great-great grandmother failed. So we’re all multi-generational sleep parenting failures. Woo hoo!

Successful Night Sleep Duration

So if the experts, authors, and pediatric sleep researches can’t agree on a number, how are you supposed to know what to do?

When I started Troublesome Tots, I was baby sleep “book smart” – I read a lot and wrote about it. Three years and many millions of babies later, I learn more from my readers than I do from the books. Plus readers stories are way more fun than sleep books. And while this doesn’t qualify as “statistical research” it’s a pretty solid base to draw conclusions from.

Thus I’ve concluded that 11 hours of night sleep is a great goal. Some lucky parents will have babies who sleep 12 or even 13 hours at night (hopefully these parents routinely buy lottery tickets as clearly the fates are with them). Some kiddos will resolutely sleep 10 hours at night, and not a minute more, even if their parents are doing ALL the right things. But ~11 hours is the gold standard. Typically this is, 7:30 PM – 6:30 AM. Or somewhere thereabouts.

The Magic Answer to the 12 Hour Night

Thus my magic answer is to accept that the 12 hour night may not be attainable for you. Not because of any flaw in you, your sleep plan, or your baby. If your baby is a newborn all bets are off because they’re a newborn. If your baby is over ~3-4 months in age and is sleeping somewhere in the ballpark of 11 hours of night, you’re doing great. If you “dream of a night 11 hours long” as an unachievable fantasy akin to dating Tom Hiddleston then probably your baby isn’t getting quite enough sleep. What to do about it really depends on how old they are. Generally the answer falls near the trifecta of have an early bedtime, put baby down awake, and hope for the best.

But you’ll get there. I have faith in you.

Does anybody else have any thoughts about how long their baby sleeps at night? Any lucky 13-hour babies out there? Does Jessica Alba care to weigh in?


330 Comments


  1. My 11 month old daughter goes to bed at 10PM and wakes up at 7AM. If I put her to bed earlier, she wakes up earlier. She takes a nap from 11AM to 1PM and another from 5PM to 6PM. This is a schedule she has set for herself based on when she got tired. But she’s only getting 12 hours of sleep, and I’ve read she should be getting 14 or 15. Should I be worried? She doesn’t seem tired or cranky during the day.

    • I feel you there! My lo is 5 months and despite everything we’ve tried, he consistently gets only 8 hours of sleep night. It’s actually less than this, because he wakes up to nurse several times. We’ve tried so many things; purchased sleep plans, have every miracle and special swaddle blanket and sleep suit, white noises and sleep books. He takes 3 short naps and goes to bed at 7 or 8 pm sleeping until 5. I know it’s so much sleep than he’s supposed to be getting, but I just have to stop stressing and hope that he just needs less than most children.

      • I would try pushing her naps back. The 5-6 o’clock nap may just be too late in the afternoon. You could try waking her 30 min earl y from her first nap too

      • My LO is 5 months and sleeps no where near 3 hours at night.. I don’t know what to do. HELP!!

        • I think the key is a predictable schedule! Your baby has no idea when to sleep and eat…you set that for them. They’re like a clean slate you can schedule how you want! I have two babies (one is 18mo now and one is 11 weeks old) They both slept 10 hours at night by 10 weeks old. They both slept 8 hours at night by 8 weeks old. By 16 weeks my youngest little boy will be sleeping at least 12 hours at night, all because the way I schedule them. My husband and I like a 7pm bedtime so we have “us” time in the evening and we don’t want to get up before 7am on the weekends. So that is the schedule we went with! It can be different for everyone, depending on if/when they work, etc. My 18 month old may not necessarily sleep all the way until 7am but he stays in his crib until at least 7am. He stays content jibber jabbering, or laying there quietly awake until we come get him because he learned how to be content in his crib. Babies NEED a long (~12ish hours) chunk of sleep at night for brain development and growing. Your LO should not need to eat during the night at 5 months and only keeps waking because you’re allowing it by either feeding or going in your little one’s room and responding. It’s just a habit that needs breaking! Good Luck! I hope that helps somewhat!

      • My baby is 1 year old.. she sleeps at 10 pm n keep waking up at night every hour for feeding until 6:30 am.. during the day also she sleeps for 40 mins in the morning n 1 hr in the afternoon.. how to make her sleep all through the night..

        • Our daughter was like this for quite a few months. I had become quite exhausted and I knew she did not NEED to be nursing this often at the age she was. So we decided that it would be best for all if we let her to cry for a bit longer each hour. Starting with 2 mins, then 5 mins, then 10 mins. It helped us push her wake times closer together. In a week or two she went from waking up every hour, to waking up three times in the night. She is now 12 months and goes to bed at 7:30 and wakes up at 5:00am. We give her a drink of water (as she has weined herself from the breast) and put her back to bed, she cries for a few minutes and then sleeps until 6:30am. We do give her a hearty snack before bed to help us know that she’s not hungry, and the best thing for her is to get the proper amount of sleep.

        • @kaby At that age a baby is capable of sleeping all night without night feedings. If she is waking every hour its due to her wanting you (separation anxiety and sleeping ques) My son went through this as well and the only way we got it fixed was to let him cry it out, sometimes up to 2 hours while going in every 30 mins to lay him back down. It took 2 weeks of struggle but hes slept 13 hours 7pm-8am ever since.

    • Jean and Amanda, I’m right there with you! My 9 month old only sleeps 8 hours a night (less because of night time feeds or periods where he awakens and needs help going back to sleep). Everything I’ve ever read is contradictory to this! He naps for 1-2 hours upon waking, and again for an hour or less in the afternoon. Occasionally, he has a late 20 min nap. I’ve done everything I can possibly think of. He seems fine and healthy, just doesn’t sleep as much. :/

    • my LO is 10 1/2 months old.. she sleeps around 11-12 hours straight, but without feeding! is that ok? im worried, coz shes already underweight…

      • I would say you might need to speak to a health nurse or doctor. My LO was loosing calories because she was sleeping all night and my health nurse suggested to do a dream feed to increase calories and as she is now 5 MO I have also introduced solids.

      • I would ask your pediatrician their opinion. I will say that there’s a difference between “small” and “underweight.” If you mean she has a failure to thrive issue then your pediatrician will be able to help you. If she’s just small then chances are your pediatrician will be fine with the 11 hour fast at night. Good luck!

    • You decide the schedule not your baby. You are the parent. My babies took two two hour naps every day and slept 12 hours at night. Eating and sleeping need to be on a schedule. 11 is late for the first nap and 5 is definitely too late for a nap to start. I did 10-12 and 2-4 and by 7 at night they were ready for bed and slept all night. Make sure they eat enough during the day so they aren’t getting up to eat. My babies ate at 8, 12 and 5 when they were on solid food, but as very young babies they ate every three hours.

      • Wow! What did you to enforce your schedule? We’ve been having our 4 mo baby screaming like crazy when we put down for naps. We’re working to fix some bad sleep associations and have been creating new routines. Going down at night never an issue, but daytime even with dark room and routine is a battle 3x a day. Would love to hear what you did with your babes to make their daytime sleep so great!

      • Of course we are the parents, but all babies are different and some wake after 11 hours of sleep no matter what you try. And some wake up in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason, at different times each night, after a month of no night waking at all. And some babies fight a nap here and there. And so, in short, some babies need parents who are a bit flexible with how the day rolls out. If the morning nap happens at 9:00 because old boy woke up at 7am today, and clearly he can’t hack being up longer than two hours after he starts his day, then i need to adhere to the two hour rule in relation to when he woke up. 7:00? 6:45? 6:10? Don’t matter. Two hours from then is the control i have, when he wakes up (between 6-7am, earlier gets put back to sleep) is all up to him.
        What we do to parent our children has much to do with their developing personalities. Maybe your kids are great with a set schedule. I have a kid who guides me a bit in what he needs and when. Other people have other kids that other things work better for.
        Everyone loves using a baby swing for new borns, right? Yeah, my kid hated it. I had to teach him to bal using the car twice a day for a month an a half, but it worked.
        That’s the answer – whatever works to get everyone as much sleep as they can get.

      • Hi Wendy,
        Can you share about how you achieved the settled schedule? How old were your babies when you started to set this? I have a 3.5 mo who I know is too young to SLIP but I know she could be sleeping 11 hours at night…not there yet! Thanks for any insight!

    • My 10mo son falls asleep at 10p & he’s up around 6:30a. He has a couple naps throughout day. He’s been like this since 2mo.
      If I put him in bed any earlier, he’s up earlier!

  2. My son sleeps so much. He is 9.5 months old. He goes to bed around 10:30 and will sleep until noon. In fact I had to go and wake him up today because he was sleeping past noon and he was still out the whole time I carried him downstairs. Sometimes he is in such a deep sleep after 13 hours that I can’t even wake him up if I touch him or say his name over and over. After all of that sleep about two hours after he wakes up he will sleep again for two hours!!! I wonder if I should be waking him up after a certain point?
    He started sleeping this much after about 8 months. Has slept through the night since he was 3 months but no matter what would not exceed 8 hours.

    • I only ask this because you said his sleeping so much is new- have you checked with his doctor to make sure he doesn’t have any medical conditions making him so tired?

    • Then why on earth are you putting him to bed at 1030?! He needs to be in bed at like 6pm it would seem!

      • Kelly even if she put him to bed earlier he would probably still sleep 13 hrs… or putting him to bed earlier may cause him to wake up 2 hours later thinking he had only took a nap… my 3 y old can not go to bed before 930 if he does he will wake up 2 or 3 hours later wide awake

  3. My 11 month old little boy will go to sleep at 8pm and not get up till 11am the next day. All i do is give him a little something to drink before bed, make sure he is dry, lay him down, and sing him any song that comes to mind. He usually likes country or church songs best.

  4. My 8 month old girl used to be the champion of sleep. When she was 7 months old, she’d sleep through the night 12-14 hours, then nap 2-3 hours during the day…Alas, those days are LONG GONE!!!
    She now has a bedtime of 8pm. She’ll sleep until maybe 9, wake up and whine or cry until midnight, sometimes longer. Then she’ll wake up in the morning at 630-730am. (This is after falling asleep at midnight-1am). Eat, play, etc…obviously doesn’t want to nap, and if I’m out of sight, it’s the END OF THE WORLD!!!! I’ll put her down for a nap between 9am-11am. Normally when she starts to rub her eyes, so it varies.
    (Is that wrong? Should it be a set time every day?)
    Then another nap between 1-2pm. Naps are anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours. Then she gets tired around 5pm and wants to sleep. I refuse to let her. (Should I let her nap that late? I’m exhausted and worn out from her staying up so late and I figured if she took a nap at 5pm she won’t want to sleep until even later but even refusing her the nap at 5pm, she still stays up forever.)
    I put her to bed at 8pm. My routine for bedtime is something I’m trying to change, because it’s giving her a 6oz bottle of formula and getting her almost to sleep while holding her and then putting her to bed. Yet still she wakes up after an hour.
    Also, we go on trips to my parents’ house about twice a month. They live almost 2 hours away so we’ll (me and baby-husband at work) spend the night for 2-4 nights every 2 weeks. They have a crib etc, I put cardboard and blankets over the sides so she can’t stick her arms or legs through the slats (I don’t know who the brain-dead freaking idiot was that designed cribs but they’re obviously made to make our lives as parents even harder by putting slats in in the first place so babies can roll around and get stuck in between the slats and wail half the friggin night through) and so the room doesn’t seem so big. I’ve also done this at my house, it’s helped since she started rolling at 4 months old.
    She won’t sleep well, won’t nap well, and I don’t know what to do. I try to formulate my schedule so she can get naps in but A. She doesn’t want them. B. She wants to nap later, like when we’re out somewhere and I’ve nowhere to lay her down for a nap. C. I don’t do anything at home so the entire planet can revolve around her and whatever she feels like doing at that time. But when I’m out, like at my parents house, I make plans, try to work her nap schedule in, and she just doesn’t nap, or wants to when I’m out and about and there’s nowhere for her to nap. The only other option I see is to do nothing-no shopping, don’t go to parents house or anywhere else, no walks, no friends, GO NOWHERE AT ANY TIME so she can do whatever she wants when she wants to.
    So: crappy naps, bedtime at 8pm, up at 9 until midnight-1am; sometimes she falls asleep between 9pm-1am but she always wakes up, about 3 times between 8pm-1am if she sleeps during that time, and then up for the day at 630am-730am.
    I’m whipped. I quit my job to stay and care for her because it was too much on me to take care of her every night and then my husband doesn’t get home from work until about 2am so getting up to take care of her at 630-730am was killing him (I was already at work by that time). So I’m staying home just caring for her but I’m not getting enough sleep which is making me irritable and with husband working, I don’t have help.
    I just need her to sleep longer than 5.5-6.5 hours a night, and hopefully until 8am if possible…though I doubt I’ll be that lucky anymore. She still uses a pacifier, which I’m going to cold-turkey her off of. This is my first. Please help me. Please

    • Sounds to me like she is overtired and possibly also at the 8 month sleep regression. I would try starting nap time routine before she generally starts showing those tired signs. Check out this link from a baby center forum for good schedules:http://community.babycenter.com/post/a51116617/sample_sleep_schedules_faq?cpg=1. Have you looked into getting those mesh crib bumpers?

    • Kayla- That 5pm nap you’re not wanting her to take? She is taking it at 8pm! I’d let he take the nap and see if she will sleep better at night. She may sleep a little later at bedtime (10 or 11 pm?), but just restrict her nap time later in the day to 30 mins to 1 hour. She clearly doesn’t need to sleep as much as the average baby and it must be lonely/boring being up from 9pm to midnight. Also, I’ve read that babies this age take 2 to 3 naps a day. Hope it works out for you! 🙂

    • Hi Kayla, I don’t know how you feel about child care services, and she might hate it for the first couple of weeks, but the socialization she gets in association with Ali the extra interaction might do it for her. My son’s is 7.5 months and had been in daycare since 8 weeks. He goes to daycare 5 days a week from about 8-9am to 4:30-5:30pm. He gets home, we play for about an hour and his normal schedule is bath around 7, play while getting dressed because he’s that fussy lol and then an 8 oz bottle before bed while rocking most of the time out in the living room. Sometimes I eat while rocking him but the TV is almost always on. And sometimes I do have to take him into his room and Rick him a bit before putting him down, almost always while he still awake. And he sleeps til about 7-8am. Sometimes longer. Depends on diaper status, which I also change about midnight before I go to bed and he doesn’t stir much from it. On the weekend is a little different, he plays all day, up at about 8, 8 oz bottle first thing and meals in between other bottles daily and just play play play Ali day long. I try to bath him about 8 and get him down then because he naps later on the weekends but still ends up going down for the night about 8:30 because he’s so tired from playing. But if this could goes more than 3 days out of daycare, he’s a completely different baby, up 3 out 4 times a night and very short naps during the day and doesn’t want to play as much as be held and wiggle all over mommy, or daddy but soon as he starts that daddy puts him down and let’s him fuss, which is OK with me. Serious though, try daycare, find one you like and can trust and at least try it for a month, let her get that routine schedule and guess what, you and hubby take a weekday off and can both just sleep all day! Or get housework done, whatever you want. Most good daycares will work with you for payment too, letting you pay so much a week if that works for you, our trading favors(computer repair or yard work and the such) for payment, that’s my experience. Try it, maybe it will wear her out enough that she sleeps good during the night, and gets on a regular schedule. What will probably happen is she’ll be so upset that first day and not sleep at all and by the time you pick her up she’s so tired she just wants to go to sleep, but getting her into the bathing habit then a bottle before bed seems to be good. Hope this helps!!

    • My baby is IDENTICAL!! IDENTICAL. I’m also at my wits end and feel like a complete failure. Please tell me, did you ever get any improvement and how?

  5. My 6 month old baby sleeps 13 hrs at night (7:30-8:30, no wakings). But, he does not nap well. He only takes 3 little 30is minute naps. So, I have a baby who is up allll day just about. Don’t know which kind of baby is better lol.

    • Maybe your baby is refusing to nap during the day because he is sleeping too much at night (13 hous you said?) .The same was happening to my 4.5 month old. He was sleeping 12 hrs at night, and taking a morning nap of almost 3 hours, but the rest of the day was a battle to make him take more naps (he was clearly tired and fussy but unable to sleep)…. A baby of my LO’s age has an average sleep “quota” of 14 hours a day…. So my solution was to “re-distribute” all those sleeping hours over one day (night sleep and naps) I cut down his night sleep to 11 hours, and the other 3 hours I distributed them in 3 naps of different duration (one long, one medium and one short)…. This implies that I have to wake him up from his naps to avoid oversleeping and get him active and tired enough for the next one: it has worked WONDERS for me! He fights less to nap, wakes up happy, and still has a pretty awesome night sleep…

      • By the way I also had to cut his night sleep to 11 hours instead of 12, so he would “use” that extra hour during the day for naps. I go every morning at 7.30 to open the courtains, talk to him very softly and wind up his favorite musical bunny, breaks my heart to wake him up but is for our own sanity at home. Everything was madness before that…

    • I much prefer having a baby that sleeps all night. I Love spending time during the day with my LO and not having to keep to a strict sleeping schedule makes it easier to be out and about and I get some quality time to spend with my OH when she goes to bed. She has 3 short naps during the day and sleeps 7pm til 6:30am.

      • It is nice for a baby to sleep all night, but they also need naps. They should be on a strict schedule. Their needs come first. Dont worry about going out whenever you want. That is selfish. Instead of three short naps give one or two bigger naps and work around going out when they are up.

        • If you want your child on a “strict sleep schedule” then good luck with that. My little girl gets all the sleep she needs day and night! I am not selfish, Who are you to judge me? I was simply stating what was best for me as a mum.

  6. Hi, we got ourselves in a bad sleep pattern that we can’t break. Our 23 month old get ~9hr of sleep at night. Bedtime is around 9-930pm and then wake up around 6-630am. His naps are usually long – anywhere from 2.5-3.5 hrs. So, I’m not as concerned about total sleep. But I would love it if we could get him to have longer night sleep. We’ve tried pushing bedtime earlier but he will just roll around the crib and fall asleep at his usual time. I’d love any insight or advice. Thanks!!

    • As I said above, maybe breaking those long naps into a bit shorter and more regular naps might work… Or if he has several naps and all of them are long then the problem might be that he is sleeping too long naps during the day, 1-2 hours is a very good duration for a nap. Every baby has a “sleeping quota” to complete in one day (24 hrs) divided in night sleep and day naps: if he fills the day nap quota in one nap, he wont sleep more during the day, and will be overtired at night, which clearly leads to poor night sleep.
      Maybe if you cut down the duration of her naps

    • Obviously you should shorten the naps and make them early in the day naps. Naps are great but sleeping at night is more important.

  7. So I have a 9 month old who sleeps 14 hours at night but wakes for 1-3 feeds. He is really good at going down on his own and going back to sleep after a night feed, but he always sleeps so late. If I wake him at 7:30am (in order to fit 2 naps into the day) he is a grouch. If I let him wake up on his own (9:30am) he is a gem until 12:30 when he goes down for his lone 2 hour nap. I am working to get his bedtime earlier so that maybe he will wake earlier. My toddler is up at 7:30 so sleeping in is not going to happen either way.

    • He doesn’t sleep 14 hours if he is getting up to eat. 7:30 is a normal wake time. This worked for me. Up at 7. Breakfast at 8, lunch at noon and dinner at 5 and milk in between if needed. Early naps. Mine slept from 10-12 and 2-4. Make sure your baby eats enough during the day so he won’t get up at night.

  8. Hi, our seven month old son has started to wake up in the middle of the night around 3 AM consistently and won’t go back to sleep till almost 4:30 – 5. We put him down awake around 7 PM everyday after feeding him and changing/reading to him. He typically cries for 5-10 mins (sometimes doesn’t) and goes to sleep quite well. We then do a dreamfeed around 10-10:30pm before we go to bed but he’s recently started waking up at around 3 (5 days consecutively now). We don’t pick him up hoping he’ll go back to sleep but sometimes 30mins to an hour goes by and he’s up and he starts crying even more. We’ve tried to pick him up and rock him and even feed him to see if that helps him go back to sleep but he barely has any milk at that time so hunger isn’t possibly the issue. Eventually we let him be in his crib and he goes back to sleep around 4:30-5 and then wakes up between 7:30-8. He’s still getting around 10 hours of sleep at night and during the day, he takes 2-3 naps for a total of 2-4 hours (depending on the day).

    Any suggestions on what we should do when he wakes up? We got a sound machine around 2 weeks ago because before that, he was waking up more frequently. We have the sound machine running constantly through the night and that seems to have helped a bit. He’s a very happy baby otherwise but the night waking is troublesome.

  9. Seeing at all the posts look as if i hv a problem
    My daughter usually sleeps 8-12 hrs in the daytime with small naps till 11:30pm. In the night she never sleeps or naps for 10-20 mins at max. Is it a problem? My baby is 3 months old. Can any mom or father has an advice.

    Regards

    FATHER

    • I know this post is old, but for anyone who might have the same problem, it sounds like you LO has nights and days mixed up.

      I’d try talking/singing/playing with her during the day, setting a schedule with about 1.5 hour of awake time between naps (which will include a feeding) and limiting her naps to 1.5 -2 hours.

      Also try a clear bedtime routine. We do bath, bottle, books, bed. We have twin boys who screamed through the routine for the first 3 months of their lives but now (6months) love the predictability.

      Good luck!

  10. My 7 month old goes to bed between 6.30 and 7.30. She consistently wakes up for the day at 5.40. I have been leaving her until 6am and then we start our day. At a difficult point as I’m not sure whether I should try feeding her at 5.40and then seeing if she will go back down. Also wondering if putting her down at 6.30 will always result in the same wakeup time. I put her back down for a nap at 8.45am and can be 1 to 1.5 hrs. Then afternoon nap can be anything from 30 min to 2hrs! Usually around 1.30 to 2. So I’m wondering how to push back her wake up time and also how to get a more consistent nap in the afternoon. Could she be dropping her 3rd nap?

    • Hi,
      We have the same issue but our 3 month old wakes at 4-4:30 daily and he insists on going down between 6:00 and 7. He also is waking 2 to 3 times at night for feelings (bf). Mountaingirl, did it get better? If it did, did you do something or did it get better on its own? Anyone else have suggestions

  11. My 8 week old sleeps roughly 10 to 11 hours a night. This has been a routine for the past two weeks. I am hoping this routine continues. I am worried that she may be sleeping too much. I will be asking her doctor at her two month checkup. What is your opinion?

  12. Hi. My daughter is 15 weeks old. She sleeps 10-12 hours at night with 1 feeding in between. Should she be sleeping 10-12 hours STRAIGHT at that age?

    When I look at charts that say “average time for sleep at night”, I get confused as to if that means straight through.

    If the answer is yes, that it is straight through the night, I find that really impossible. I just don’t know how to do it.

  13. I have a 7 months old who used to sleep from 7:30p-8pm to about 3am then nurse then sleeps til abt 7am. He takes 3 naps, 1.5hr/1.5 hr/0.5 hr. He puts himself to sleep sucking on his fingers at night in his crib. For naps, I shush him to sleep in his rock n play with him sucking in his fingers (trying to transition him to crib napping with no luck yet). Just recently he is starting to sleep longer stretches. If he wakes up around 4am I am able to nurse him and he would go back to sleep til 7am. But if he wakes up closer to 6am, he would not go back to sleep after nursing. We also tried just letting him stay in his crib til 7am (without nursing) hoping he would fall back asleep, but he usually just talks to himself until we go get him at around 7am for a whole hour!!!! so he is only getting abt 10 hours of sleep at night. How do I make him sleep longer than 10 hour stretch? I am also hoping to wean him off the night nursing. Thank you for your help

  14. Please help me! I am absolutely desperate!!!! For the first two years my baby slept all day and night (well almost) but as soon as she turned 2 it’s like she went completely the opposite way. One and a half years on, I’m still battling with her sleep. I have tried absolutely everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) but on average she still only sleeps about 7-8 hours and this is broken up as she wakes up 3-4 times. I get so frustrated cos I can’t understand why she isn’t tired. Her diet is very healthy and I try to get her to be active during the day. She doesn’t watch tv and the iPad usage is not a daily thing and when I do allow her to go on it its for a short period of time.
    When she wakes up the first time, I’m very calm etc but by the fourth time I’m shouting and very frustrated with her.
    Like I said I have tried everything from early / late bedtime, shower/no shower, milk/no milk, early dinner/ late dinner and the list just goes on. I also tried the breaking up her sleep before I go to bed which seemed to work for everyone else except me!
    She doesn’t seem tired during the day, and is flourishing.
    I guess I just want someone to tell me that the amount of sleep she is getting is enough for her so I can stop stressing and pulling my hair out.
    Pleeeeeaaaase help me!

  15. Mo, I feel much the same way about things going pear shaped, but not quite as bad as your situation. My 2.5 year old was a reliable 7am to 7pm sleeper with a 1.5-2 hour nap. She dropped the nap (despite 6 weeks of persisting with it) a few months ago and things have gone down hill from there. She is not consistently getting about 10hrs.
    She’ll go to sleep at 7pm, then wake up in the middle of the night for 1-2 hours, and that awake time will determine whether she’s awake at 4.30, 5.30 or 6.30am. If she doesn’t wake up (rare) then it’s a really early morning. When I do manage to get a nap in, because I can see she’s dog tired, the time of the nap impacts on the time she will go to sleep even with the bed time routine being identical.
    I’d love to know whether this amount of sleep is adequate too.

  16. Claire, I can 100% relate to your circumstances esp the waking up in the night and staying awake for 2-3 hours!!! I read on the internet about waking up the child just before you go to sleep just to break up their sleep. Then they are supposed to sleep for the rest of the night. Of course, as I’m desperate I’m prepared to try anything. And although it didn’t work for us (actually it did for one night), loads of people found success in it. So I humbly suggest u give it a try. What have u got to lose eh?
    I never give my Daughter a nap cos then it will just have a knock on effect whereby she will sleep late at night etc. Anyway, I hope things improve for u soon.

  17. My daughter has never been a good sleeper so I have sympathy for anyone in this position. from about the age of 2 months she rarely slept in the day. if she does, her nap consist of nothing more than 1/2 hour at best. she abhors routine. The only routine she sticks to is her bedtime where she will want to fall asleep at 7pm. However, it is a battle every night where she will fall asleep at 7pm and wake every half hour screaming up until about 9ish pm. I tried giving her extra food (she’s bottlefed. I tried for 24 hours to breastfeed her when she was born but she would not latch on. in the end i resorted to a bottle as she was starving and very angry) but if she’s not hungry then she won’t take it. Even if she does, she will still wake up within 1/2 hour. At present i am giving her a feed at 10.30 pm but i may move this earlier to 9.30. if don’t feed her after 7pm she will wake several times during night very hungry and very angry. I have tried in the day to get a nap routine going to get her used to it – nothing overly strict – but she hates it. I’ve stopped the routine now as it was a losing battle. Her feeds are at set times. I’ve never got her used to being rocked to sleep as i didn’t want to start any bad habits. I know controlled crying won’t work as she is extremely spirited and when i have let her cry for a while just to see how long she will go before she stops, she doesn’t. I’ve put her in her room with curtains drawn and white noise in background, but it don’t work. I am exhausted every day and hope this won’t last. My mother in law told me that her sons didn’t sleep through night till they started full time school! I don’t think I can go for 4 years of this especially when i have to start back in work in another few months!

  18. Hi! So my LO is 13 months old and still waking every 4-5 hours for a bottle he will usually go to bed at 8/8:30 awake by 11/12 abd again about 4!! I’m do tired after a year of not sleeping one whole night lol I think its more of a sucking habbit then hungry… He never finishes a bottle hardly and if he has one in arms reach hes sometimes good but still wants me up and to pass it off usually. Then straight back to sleep! Please!! How do I break this habit without a screaming baby every night

    • I had the same problem. I read that you have to stop giving them milk through the night wakings. If he wakes up after 5 AM I do give a little milk 4-5 oz and then put him back down to sleep. I started the put down and cry to sleep method. I am very impressed with it. First night and day was hard, it got easier after that. I got this baby nap tracker to help make sure he’s getting enough sleep. I learned to get him on a schedule is the best. Aim for the same nap times, feed times, bath times, bed times. Limit milk so that the baby eats more solids. I know I’ve been there and had to do this too. You can do it. I have faith in you.

  19. Hi Alexis,

    My 2.5 month daughter sleeps from 11.pm to 8:00 am.. Almost 9-10 hours of long stretch of sleep.. Is this normal . do I need to wake her up i n between.

    Love
    Veena

    • Do. Not. Wake. That. Child! Let her sleep as long as she wants, you’ll regret it if you don’t

    • HAHA!

      I agree with Brooke. If your daughter is sleeping happily, eating, growing, and producing wet diapers, then she’s doing great with a long stretch of sleep.

      The only caveat I would make is that if you’re nursing AND you find that a 10 hour gap impacts your supply (it may or may not) you might need to add either a dreamfeed or pumping session to break up that gap. That’s about breast supply however, not sleep. From a sleep perspective, she’s doing great!

  20. I’ve read these posts so many times. I have 2 children (oldest is almost 3 & youngest is 5 months) and neither one of them has ever slept 12 hours. I don’t even know where to begin. Currently, my 5 month old is taking 3 decent naps of the day most of the time. She’s a happy baby. Smiles and rarely fusses and no medical concerns. At night, she’s a different baby. Screams at the instant she is set down. Will not take the pacifier or her thumb (which she does during the day). I’ve resorted to letting her sleep with me because. If I don’t she SCREAMS and won’t settle until I’ve rocked her and/or nursed her for at least 20 minutes. I’m at my wits end. I realize I’m creating a negative sleep association, but nothing else works. Nothing. Swaddles, white noise, etc.

  21. Hi there, I read this post one week ago and in that time my 7 month old has gone from waking every 1-2 hourly and needing breast to fall back asleep; to self settling and only requiring one breast feed overnight. I was a mess last Friday and now I feel like a new person. I’ve devoured every article since and I have so strongly related to your advice in a way I haven’t with other websites and books. I think you have saved me from developing PND and my marriage is now stronger. From discussing your advice my partner and I got on the same page and would have nightly meetings to make sure we were a united front. Thank you.

  22. My son is almost 8 months old and goes to bed at midnight and wakes up at 6:30am. I have tried everything. If I put him to ved early he just wakes up in a couple hours and stays up till midnight. Anyone have advice?

  23. My 3 month old goes to bed at 7 fine but wakes for a feed about 3 then every 45 mins until I get him up at 7. He also won’t nap. I keep going to put his dummy back in and I know he needs to self settle but don’t know how to do it in the morning when he’s just a bit tired not really tired?!?
    I struggle with naps as I have to take and collect my daughter from nursery so can’t put him in his cot 🙁
    Should I take his dummy away? Sorry I just don’t know what to do xx

  24. You have a lot of nerve to complain your 9 month old only sleeps 8 hours. Only. Wow! Try having a 9 month old who still wakes every 45 minutes all night long since birth.

  25. And then the lady complaining her 7 month old only sleeps 11 hours staright. Yah .you poor thing. I cant even right now..

  26. Poor Sara….somebody sounds tired. wish I could make your baby sleep for you. My 8 month old has been doing this lately with teething, but not since birth! I feel so bad for you. I turn into a dragon after about the 4th night of waking every 30-45 min. Have to take time off work and get a baby sitter so i can take a nap. I work from home typing rxs and it is so hard to stare at a computer, alone, maintain quality and stay awake! Though I’m thankful to have a job, my son and to occassional 4 hour stretches of sleep. Wish i could help you get more sleep

  27. Hi there, I have a 11 month old who has been goes to sleep 8:30-9:30pm and wakes usually 8-8:30am. She usually gets 11 hours of sleep but does wake during night to nurse still. She takes 2 naps a day usually 11:30-12:30 and 4-5.
    This has been pretty routine but should I be concerned about her going to sleep too late at night???? Everything I read says 7:30pm but she will not go to bed that early. She is still cosleeping even though I try to get her in crib with no luck. Is a 9pm bedtime too late even though she is getting the right amount of sleep while being a pretty happy baby during the day?

    • My baby used to Co-sleep with me, (but daddy rolls around too much) so she was pretty much on my sleep schedule because I didn’t wanna leave her alone in that huge bed. She is still on that sleep schedule so she goes to bed pretty late. 9-11pm (Sometimes midnight) but she is a very happy baby, healthy healthy and sleeps the same amount, regardless of how late/early I put her down. So I think you’ll be ok. Mine sure is!

    • To me, your schedule seems fine. I read that one feeding a night is still normal for some babies until they are one. I also rest l read that they’ll sleep a little better if nap is before 4pm. Try to put baby asleep for basis one hour earlier for each nap. This may help from a night waking.

  28. My lo started sleeping through the night around 2.5-3 months. I got super worried because she got up through the night for the first two weeks, and then it trickled to her only getting up once a night to eat. And then she just started sleeping through the night. So I figured if she wasn’t up all night like most parents go through that something was wrong, but everyone says to count my blessings. She’s six months now and I know I should have her on a set schedule but honestly she molded to mine. She naps twice a day, once around 1pm and again around 6. So she goes to bed around 10:30 sometimes later if I get a little forgetful, (seriously guys she is SUCH a good baby) that shes still up with me, and pretty much sleeps anywhere from 8-12 hours. More often it’s twelve hours through the night, and I was worried again that she was sleeping TOO much. It’s a relief to know that it’s just the right amount. I always worry something is wrong, but she is just fine! 🙂

  29. I have a 13 month old daughter that goes to bed around 10:15pm & sleeps till sometime between 12:15pm-1pm the next day. I may sound a bit weird but I’m worried she’s sleeping TOO long. Is there a such thing haha??

  30. Hi, my son is 10 months old and he still wakes up at night every 2 hrs.. Need help!!!!

    • I see your comment was from 5 months ago. Please tell me if your still experiencing this? I’m going through the exact same thing.

      • Are you still having trouble? If not, congratulations!! If so, how are you putting lo to sleep? With a pacifier? Rocked? Sounds like a sleep association problem to me, if you can change that out for something more positive you should be good to go.

  31. My baby slept from 10:30 or 11pm to 12 noon! 🙂 sometimes until 1 or 2 pm. I wonder if it’s normal though?

  32. My little girl is 11 weeks and she’s sleeping 8pm – 8am she has 6-7oz every 3-4 hours during the day she’s gaining weight and so happy so strange after having 2years of waking up 5-8 times a night with her older brother never felt so blessed to have a great sleeper and it’s by the clock too 8pm bottle 10pm sleep and nothing till 8am next morning the best part is she did it all herself by 8 weeks I didn’t even have to try
    love my little sleeper so much lol

  33. We’ve been sleep training CIO (extinction/weissbluth??) for the past 5 days. Little man is 5.5 months and we hit the extinction burst day 4 in the afternoon. INTENSE crying for 20 minutes at nap 3 but we held our ground, minus some tears from mama. After which, last night he went to sleep on his own, no crying at bedtime for the first time EVER!

    My question is now regarding too much sleep (who am I with this question?! lol I would have slapped myself with such things a week ago)… he’s been asleep for almost 13 hours now, having gone down at 8PM on the dot last night. He woke briefly at 3:30AM, fussed, not really crying for 5-10mins and back to sleep. He’s been rolling around her and there for the past hour or so, but definitely still asleep. Do I wake him??? I fear naps being a mess now.

    Also, I should mention this is the first night he’s ever not eaten at night. It’s as if he may have weaned himself???? (also weird to type that knowing our child). I can’t imagine he’s not hungry. When do I get him??? Or do I “Let sleeping dogs lie”??? Thanks!
    ps: had to pump when I woke up in PAIN due to the no night feeding… was almost like the milking scene straight out of “Neighbors” LOL

    • Ideally bedtime sticks to roughly the norm so I wouldn’t wake him up unless it’s vastly LATER than usual.

      Also nap #3 is the roughest of the day thus 20 minutes is not necessarily a burst or a crisis but may just be him struggling to fall asleep because it’s nap #3.

      He’s not hungry. He would let you know if he was hungry!

  34. I found this because I was researching about my child sleeping to much. She sleeps about 13 hours at night and that was a concern because none of my other kids have done this before

  35. My 22 month old has always been a really great sleeper. He’s consistently slept from about 7:30pm-7am since about 6 months. He has also been at one nap of 2 hours since about 18 months. He goes down for naps and bedtime with no problem at all. He has been SO predictable, which is why this last few weeks have been really confusing. About 3 weeks ago he woke up at 530am, and as continued to every day since. He hasn’t been sick , teething, or experienced any big changes in life. We’re still putting him to bed around 7, his nap is still from 1-3pm. We have tried letting him CIO in the morning, tried giving him some milk in his cup in bed, etc. He just seems wide awake. A flip switched and he went from getting about 13.5 total hours of sleep in a day to about 12 hours (night + nap). He wakes up happy, but has been getting really crabby by 9am. Please help!

  36. My son is 11 weeks old and he finds it really hard to settle. I watched out for the cues and try to get him to nap. Sometimes this works other times it really doesn’t. Even when he does nap during g the day it’s only for around 20mins or so. Night sleep is worse because I think he’s so overtired he cannot sleep properly. He is up every hour or so at night. I am literally at my wits end! I see all these posts and information that babies his age should be sleeping for 15 hours a day and I feel like a failure. Can someone please tell me where I’m going wrong.

    • I’ll tell you what I wish someone would have told me at 16 weeks. If they are not sleeping yet in their own, let them CIO. Our LO would scream and vomit and poop when we tried CIO, thankfully that drama passed within two days. Anyway they HAVE to figure it out now. Our son should have had his pacifier taken away at this point, in hindsight. Now he’s eight months old, I’ve had to Co nap with him three hours every day for months. We’ve sleep trained three times and because he likes to wake up and play with his pacifier, I’m staring CIO in the face again–only this time he won’t have something to suck during sleep for the first time ever and it’s an ugly place to be. So. Be strong for your LO. Develop a plan of attack and stay consistent. This is a skill your child needs to learn now. Best wishes.

  37. My 7 month old son has never slept through the night. He gets up every 1-2 hrs. He sometimes eats an oz and sometimes a whole bottle. He will scream if I don’t have milk ready for him. Letting him “cry it out” isn’t an option, I’ve tried. He will cry literally yhe whole night if I’d let him. Any advice?

    • Your baby needs a set schedule. You are in charge. Your baby is old enough to sleep all night. Have set meal times and make sure your baby is eating enough. By now, I hope your baby is on solid food and not just milk. Set nap times. I did 10-12 and 2-4. Dont let your baby nap when it wants and dont let them nap late. Be strong. Let your baby cry it out. It wont kill him. Dont spoil your baby by picking him up every time he cries. Try the Ferber method where they go a little longer each night before you go to them and eventually they are through the night.

  38. My daughter never sleeps. She will never finish a bottle fully, even if you hold her. She sleeps about 3-4 hours A DAY. My wife is going insane, she wakes up every hour and stays awake, falls asleep for about 2 minutes, then starts crying. My wife keeps rushing to her within the first few seconds of a cry, but she’s a wits end. Problem is, she REFUSES to even try cry it out, stating it’ll psychologically damage her. I keep reiterating that lack of sleep is far more damaging to a baby than 20-30 minutes of crying, but she won’t listen, stating it’ll pass, she’ll sleep full time by 2 years old. If it doesn’t work then we’ll try it then. How can we get this little monster to sleep? It’s effecting my job at this point, I’m living on caffeine.

    • Sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time…. my little one was and still is like that gowevwr he is sleeping much better at night now. I tried the “natural baby sleep solution” you can get the book or ebookversion from amazon. Basically the theory is that the more naps the baby has during the day the better the baby will sleep. What you do is time 90minutes from when your baby wakes up. By the end of that 90minutes the baby shoild be having a nap. Look out for sleep cues such as sucking hands or rubbing eyes or fussing and crying. Once u see these cues thats ur window of opportunity to try and get ur baby to sleep. Rocking or singing whatever you have to do but the baby should fall asleep. According to this theory if the baby misses this window of opportunity they get overtired, and the wake cycle will again last for another 90minutes, however it will get harder to get ur baby to sleep. The first week is hard and ur baby may only nap for about 20minutes but it does get easier and your baby will settle down into her own routine. It took me about 2weeks to get this and now he sleeps much better. My son also has reflux which effects his sleep. Good luck and hope i have been of some help x

  39. Hello my name is Laura my son is nearly 2 years old I do not get enough sleep at all so my son doesn’t either he will have a nap about 3 to 4 in the afternoon then have his dinner I will try get him to sleep around 8pm but he doesn’t go to sleep he refuses and around 1 o’clock in the morning he will finally go to sleep I’ll take him to bed and he will wake up around 4 to 5am I’m really struggling to get a good night sleep an it’s not working out I’ve tried everything ….he goes to sleep in his rocker (he won’t go to sleep or lye down without going into it ) he has a dummy an blanket an it seems like I’m fighting a losing battle has anyone got any suggestions what I could do I would love to be like all the other mom’s that have 10 hours asleep with there little one I’m barely getting 3 hours a night please help !

  40. Hi, I have a 10 month old baby girl. She is sleeping about 9 hours at night. We go to bed at 830-9pm and she wakes up 6-630am, sometimes 5-530am. Usually she wakes up to breastfeed and sometimes to drink her bottle and most times she goes back to sleep for about another hour. She takes 2 naps during the day most days, for about 45-60min. It lately her naps are getting longer, like 1.5 to 2 hours long. My questions is, since she sleeps about 9hrs at night, can she sleep longer naps? So far I don’t see any changes on her night sleeping pattern

    • 1) I think you answered your own question there

      2) 9 hours is on the short side for night duration but I think she actually sleeps (from your post) 8:30 – 7:30 which is closer to 11 hours. Thus 11 hours at night + 2 chunky naps is what we, in the sleep business, call AMAZEBOOBS

  41. Tabatha Maisonneuve

    Im having issues with my 7 month old sleeping now im lucky if she gets 7 or 8 hour sleeps at night she only takes 3 naps during the day first one is at 10 for maby an hour sometimes second one is at 2 for 50 min and 3rd one is at 5 for 40 min and i still cant get her to go to bed earlier than 10pm i have tried everything i need some advice please. I do co sleep with her in my bed she will not sleep in her crib since day one including the bed at the hospital.

  42. I have a 19 months old baby. He usually has been sleeping from 8pm to 8am but recentrly he began to wake up around 630-7am. He takes one nap from 2-3:30pm or 2:30-4pm. I wonder why he began to wake up earlier, or maybe I need to put him to sleep ealier. He usually goes to bed by 730 but falls asleep after 10-20 minutes. He doesnt have any problem to be left in his room alone. He just chat and falls asleep by himself. I would like some advise please.

    • Hi! it could be that as he’s getting older, his body needs less sleep. He’s still getting close to 11 hours of sleep overnight, which is great!

  43. I have a 13 month old that for the last three months has woken up at 10:30 and 4:30 because he wants to breastfeed. In addition his diaper is full and so he wants a new diaper. I put him to bed between 6 and 630 and he wakes up between 6 and 630.

    • How to make this more clear this is 10:30 and 4:30 at night an early morning. He takes two naps during the day as well

  44. 5 month old daughter used to sleep through the night then the 4 month sleep regression hit and now she’s waking every 2-3 hrs to eat and I’m so drained. I got so used to her sleeping thru the night that I feel like we’re back in the newborn stages. How can I help her and myself get more sleep at night? I put her to bed between 8 & 9 p.m. but tonight I put her to bed around 745 p.m. she usually naps 2 – 3 times a day btw 45 mins to 2 hrs. It depends on her mood. I’m out of ideas…. Help!

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