Baby Sleep Patterns

Why is it that no matter how long my daughter sleeps I obsess over it. If she doesn't sleep long enough I'm frustrated cause I want her to sleep longer. But if she sleeps too long I'm constantly asking "should I wake her?"

I've read (aka obsessed) more about baby sleep than I have about any other baby-related issue. From learning how to get a baby to sleep to learning how to keep a baby asleep through the night and how to merge from four naps to three to why there really is such a thing as the 45 minute intruder. You could say it's been an eye-opening experience...

Here's a general guideline as far as baby sleep patterns. Remember these are just approximate sleep times. Every baby is different. 

Newborn - 18-20 hours a day
3 Weeks - 16-18 hours a day
6 Weeks - 15-16 hours a day
4 Months - 9-12 hours at night + 2-3 naps totally 3-4 hours
6 Months - 11 hours at night + 2-3 naps totally 2-3 hours
9 Months - 11-12 hours at night + 2 naps totally 2-4 hours
12 Months - 10-12 hours at night + 1-2 naps totally 2-3 hours

I am blessed that my 6 month old daughter sleeps 11-12 hours at night. (Believe me it's been a long road getting here...read my post on the challenge of un-swaddling). That means that during the day she usually takes three 45 minute naps. (Ah yes, that 45 minute intruder that seems to wake her up right after the first sleep cycle). She wakes up happy so I know she's rested. If she wakes up cranky there's something else going on...still tired, hungry, gas, poop, sick...you name it.

But today...here she is having slept nearly 3 hours (still strapped in her car seat, of all places). So I'm left to wonder "what is going on and what should I do?" I don't like her to sleep too long during the day for fear it will hurt her night sleep. But then again I don't want to wake her up for fear of getting a real cranky pants. I guess I'll just leave her and let her wake up on her own. Oh, and continue to check that she's still breathing. Don't worry, she is. I'm guessing the reason she's sleeping so long today is because she has an ear infection and got a shot yesterday. Being sick can really impact the amount of time a baby sleeps, but combined who knows the power! If she was a little younger I'd be more concerned about her not having eaten in four hours, but since she's started solids I'm not too worried about knowing she's getting plenty of calories. (She loves the homemade pears we started yesterday, she's been gobbling them up). Of course when she wakes she'll probably be screaming for the milk!

And that's when I'll start worrying about her sleep again...since she got up so late when will she take her third nap? Or should I just stretch to keep her up until bedtime and deal with the cranky baby I'm likely going to have come 6pm?? Oh the worry never stops.

Welcome to new mama-hood!

Recommended Reading:

The 45 Minute Nap
Get Some Sleep: Turn Off the Baby Monitor
How to Get a Baby to Sleep
Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Trouble With Naps: The 2 Day Solution

Crying It Out: The Last Resort

The books I found the most useful as far as teaching my daughter to sleep are:

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