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Baby naps by age schedule(with downloadable chart)

Your baby will (hopefully!) be doing a lot of napping in their first couple years of life, but exactly how often should your baby be snoozing in the daytime?

Figuring out a consistent napping schedule for your baby isn't only a great way to introduce some routine to their life early on, but can also ensure they're catching the Zs they need to aid their growth and development.

Your baby's daytime sleep and the number of naps a day they need are highly dependent on their age, which is why we've put together some quick guides so you can create an effective baby nap schedule for every stage.

Why are baby nap schedules important?

Baby sleep isn't always easy to come by - any parent can tell you that! And while a sleep schedule won't guarantee that your baby snoozes, it can help create a foundation of good sleep routines that will follow them into childhood, particularly if you combine them with a sleep training method.

There are many reasons that nap schedules can be helpful for your family - here's what baby expert Bernadetta Pacon from baby chick has to say about one of the benefits of a naptime routine: better nighttime sleep!

'How well does your little one sleep at night?

If they are a great sleeper, chances are your nap schedule is helping. It seems that the kids who are good daytime nappers who can soothe themselves to sleep without much difficulty are also sound sleepers at night.

Those same kids tend to have a regular sleep schedule, so their Circadian rhythm is tied to their routine.

Sleep requirements vary from child to child, but typically, a kid no longer physically needs to nap by age four or five. Until then, these naps factor into a child’s circadian rhythm and determine many smaller outcomes, from mood to growth spurts.'

Baby naps by age

Baby naps by age

So, you know why establishing a baby nap schedule is important - but how many naps does your little one need each day? Here, we've covered every stage up to 18 months and older to give you an idea of how many naps your baby should be having each day.

With that said, you shouldn't worry if your little one's schedule varies a little from what we've described here - every baby is different, and their sleep will reflect that. As long as they're getting all the rest they need, you shouldn't be too worried about the specifics!

0-3 months nap schedule

As a newborn, your baby will be doing a lot of sleeping - lots of babies at this age actually sleep for up to nineteen or twenty hours a day, though plenty snooze for less than this (as many tired parents can tell you!)

Because they need to be fed regularly, these naps will be split up into smaller chunks - for example, they might have four or five naps a day totaling around eight or nine hours.

Here's what your baby's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 8:00 am first nap

  • 9:30 am wake up

  • 11:00 am second nap

  • 12:30 pm wake up

  • 2:00 pm third nap

  • 3:30 pm wake up

  • 5:00 pm fourth nap

  • 6:30 pm wake up

  • 8:00 pm bedtime

If you've found that your little one is struggling to fall asleep for their scheduled nap, we recommend swaddling them with our Zen Neo!

This cozy swaddle pod is made from a snug and stretchy fabric to ease the womb-to-world transition, and helps baby snooze by mimicking your soothing touch with our gently weighted Cuddle Pad technology - we think it's the perfect first swaddle for any newborn!

Here's why Zen Mom Jess loves her Zen Neo:

'My 1-week-old has such a strong startle reflex. No matter how we try to blanket swaddle him, his little arms find their way out and he wakes himself up.

The only way we had been able to get him to sleep for more than brief spurts was to hold him in our arms (and that is not a sustainable long-term solution!)…

But, today we tried the Zen Neo for the first time today, and OMG- instant difference! I was able to lay him in his bassinet, and he slept for HOURS, without startling himself awake!

I am so glad I tried this product only one week in because it seems to be a total game-changer!'

3-6 months nap schedule

Once your little one is past the newborn stage, you'll find that they'll be sleeping for a longer stretch at night - hopefully! This means that they won't need so much sleep during the day - instead of the eight or nine hours they needed a few months ago, this will reduce to four or five.

Here's what your baby's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 8:30 am first nap

  • 9:30 am wake up

  • 11:30 am second nap

  • 12:30 pm wake up

  • 2:30 pm third nap

  • 3:30 pm wake up

  • 5:30 pm fourth nap

  • 6:30 pm wake up

  • 8:00 pm bedtime

Have you found that the transition away from swaddling has been impacting your baby's naps? If so, try our adaptable Zen One, perfect for babies too old for a swaddle blanket who still crave calming pressure during their afternoon nap or sleep at night.

With removable mesh sleeves, the Zen One can be used both during and after swaddling, and - like all of our sleepwear - uses gently weighted Cuddle Pad technology to mimic your touch and soothe your little one to sleep.

6-9 months nap schedule

At half a year old, your baby is hitting lots of new milestones and will be needing even less sleep during the daytime if they're falling asleep and staying asleep consistently at night.

You'll probably be able to remove the fourth nap without much trouble at this point and increase the overall nap length if needed - this is all in service of transitioning to just one nap as they enter early childhood later on.

Here's what your baby's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 9:30 am first nap

  • 10:30 am wake up

  • 1:30 pm second nap

  • 2:30 pm wake up

  • 5:30 pm third nap

  • 6:30 pm wake up

  • 8:00 pm bedtime

Now that your baby has outgrown the swaddle, you may be worried that they won't fall asleep so easily - but you can have the best of both worlds!

Our Zen Sack is a gently weighted wearable blanket that mimics your soothing touch and provides the calming pressure of a swaddle while keeping your baby's arms out for safe sleeping.

Here's what Zen Mom Elisa R. thinks of her Zen Sack:

'I bought this at a desperate moment around 3:30 in the morning when our six-month-old wasn’t sleeping well. The reviews are spot on.

As soon as this bad boy arrived, we wrapped our little one up and we’ve been on consistent sleep since then!

The weight is just right and she loves the freedom of the space. I now need to buy another one for back up.'

9-12 months nap schedule

When your baby is well into their first year of life, they'll generally need around three hours of daytime sleep to supplement their stretch of nighttime sleep.

You may be able to make another transition down to two naps per day - but again, don't worry if this takes some time for your little one to get used to!

Here's what your baby's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 10:30 am first nap

  • 12:00 pm wake up

  • 3:30 pm second nap

  • 5:00 pm wake up

  • 8:30 pm bedtime

12-15 months nap schedule

Congratulations - your little one is a year old and not quite so little anymore! At this point, they'll be able to go a little longer between naps than before, and while they might need a similar amount of daytime sleep, this can be spaced out a little further.

Having said this, if you're struggling to get your baby to sleep at night or during their second nap, it might be time to start thinking about transitioning to just one; we'll cover that in our next section!

Here's what your toddler's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 11:00 am first nap

  • 12:00 pm wake up

  • 4:00 pm second nap

  • 5:00 pm wake up

  • 8:30 pm bedtime

Now that your little one is way past the swaddling stage, you might be wondering what options you have if they're struggling to fall asleep on schedule.

Our Zen Sack comes in sizes that fit all the way up to 24 months, and gives a similar comfort to a swaddle blanket through our Cuddle Pad technology. They might be a toddler now, but that doesn't mean they can't sleep like a baby!

15-18 months nap schedule

Between a year and 18 months, you should be aiming for your toddler to be having just one nap per day, as they're now old enough to stay awake for longer periods in between for other activities.

This can be tricky, especially if your little one can't help falling asleep during wake windows, but don't worry - every toddler takes a different amount of time to transition, and a couple of extra naps here and there never hurt anyone!

Here's what your toddler's nap schedule might look like at this stage:

  • 6:30 am wake up

  • 12:00 pm nap

  • 2:30 pm wake up

  • 8:30 pm bedtime

Transitioning to one nap isn't always easy, and takes a little trial and error. Pediatric sleep coach Desiree Baird weighs in on this tricky time on her website:

'As I have mentioned a few times, nap transitions can be hard, not to mention tricky. There's likely to be some short naps, some frustration, perhaps some night wakings, etc., but if you stay consistent and trust the process, it will all come together.

Often, once parents don't see immediate results they are quick to switch things up and try something else, but with babies consistency is key.'

Just stick to your plan and your toddler will happily nap for one long stretch in no time!

Nap schedule at 18 months and older

number of naps by age

By the time your little one is older than 18 months, you'll likely have transitioned to only needing one nap per day, with the majority of their snoozing coming from their much longer stretch of nighttime sleep (if you can get them to fall asleep consistently at bedtime!)

This nap will usually come in the middle of the day and be around two hours long, though this also varies depending on the unique needs of your toddler. Sleep is still vital at this point for development, so let them snooze a little longer if they need it and it doesn't result in a much earlier bedtime.

Commonly asked questions about baby naps by age

Do naps help brain development?

Absolutely! Although activities like playtime and reading to your little one aid their brain development, much of it actually occurs when they're sleeping and consolidating everything they've learned during the day. For example, one study showed that babies actually start making connections between objects and certain sounds during sleep!

Getting the rest they need is essential, and much of this sleep comes during the day, especially for younger babies. If you're struggling to get your little one to snooze, we have some daytime sleep tips here that could help!

Why is baby's first nap the longest?

Though we've given more consistent examples to work within our example schedules, many parents find that the first nap of the day is both the easiest and the longest for their baby. Some people even see it as a continuation of their little one's night sleep!

If this approach works for you, then go for it! On the other hand, if consistent nap lengths or a long nap in the afternoon make more sense for your family, then do that - at the end of the day, it's all about being flexible to your baby's specific needs.

At what age do babies nap longer than 30 minutes?

Your baby will likely have shorter naps as a newborn, and some may be as short as half an hour, but they can still be for much longer than that - in fact, you might find that your baby sleeps for over an hour at a time during the day!

While you don't want them to snooze for too long during the day, as this interrupts both their feeding schedule and their developing circadian rhythm, sleeping for longer than 30 minutes at a time right from the get-go is totally normal!

At what age do babies need two naps until?

Though every little one is different, most babies will need their second nap of the day until they enter the toddler stage, so roughly around 12 to 16 months.

But if you find that your baby falls asleep in the day during wake windows without it, then it's completely fine to keep going for a while longer. Every baby is different, and that includes their sleep needs - while some babies easily transition at 12 months, others take longer, and that's completely fine.

Is it ok to let my baby take long naps?

Though it can be tempting to let your toddler or baby sleep throughout the day - after all, you could almost definitely use a break - it's best for their development to make sure they wake up according to their current sleep schedule.

This is to promote the establishment of their circadian rhythm - the pattern we all have that encourages us to sleep at night and be awake during the day. This creates a healthy foundation for childhood and beyond and is great to get going early in their life.

Why do babies wake up 45 minutes into the nap?

There are a couple of reasons why your little one might be waking up during a scheduled nap. It may be caused by a wake window preceding the nap being too short, meaning that your baby still has unspent energy when they're put to bed.

It might also mean that your baby is growing out of the number of naps they're having throughout the day. For instance, if you have an eight-month-old who won't fall asleep for their morning nap, consider removing it and reducing the overall number from three to two naps. You can always add the third nap back for a little longer if you find they're missing it!

Is it ok if my 2-year-old doesn't nap?

For most toddlers, napping reduces to just once per day between the ages of one and two and stops completely when they're around three or four and starting school. But because this is entirely natural and based on your child's own rhythms, they may stop napping a little earlier or later than this - and that's totally ok!

Not wanting to nap during the day at two is normal for many babies, and as long as it isn't making them overtired or disrupting their sleep schedule, you can follow their lead and let them drop that nap early.

Stacey Irvine from Today's Parent explains this naptime conundrum here:

'While most children give up naps between ages three and five, it can be normal for kids as young as two to stop, while 10 to 12 percent of children still nap at age five, according to Manisha Witmans, director of the pediatric sleep program at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

Expect some inconsistency during the transition. “It might be for a few weeks they’re only napping three out of seven days, and then it might be two out of seven days,” she said.'

You may also like

When do toddlers stop taking naps?

Newborn sleep schedules and patterns

Parent's guide to night wakings

American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need?, November 2020.

National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Canadian Family Physician, Infant Sleep Training: Rest Easy?, January 2018.

Nature and Science of Sleep, Spotlight On Daytime Napping During Early Childhood, March 2018

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems book by Dr. Richard Ferber
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book by Dr. Marc Weissbluth M.D.

Athena S.

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