How Long Should Babies Nap?

How Long Should Babies Nap?

Discover the ideal baby nap durations and routines based on your baby's age. Read on for tips to establish a perfect nap schedule for your little one

How long should your baby nap?

Truth time: How… um, terrifying is the moment you bring your brand-new baby home from the hospital? Sure, it’s a time for bonding and coming into your role as a new parent. But it’s also That Moment When you realize you are solely responsible for the well-being and care of a tiny, vulnerable little human with a lot of needs. No pressure!

While adjusting to this entirely new life is challenging, it may leave you doubting if you’ll ever establish any semblance of a routine again—especially in the sleep department.

You may find yourself wondering, “How long should a baby nap?” New (and new-again) parents worldwide have asked themselves this question time and again, and truthfully, each baby is unique, with several variables in the sleep department. Here are our best tips on baby naps—no matter what age or stage they’re at.

How many naps do babies need?

Whether this is your first parenting rodeo or you’ve collected a few tricks, trophies, and children over the years, one thing is certain: Baby sleep is not a one-size-fits-all affair, and the question “How long should babies nap?” is not a simple one-sentence response.

Let’s dive into the average number of naps babies need each day based on their age:

Naps from birth to 3 months

If there is ever a chapter in life that will humble your appreciation for schedules and routines, it’s the first few weeks after you bring your newborn home. Why? Because one, you’re exhausted from giving birth to a newborn—and two, said newborn really doesn’t care if you’re tired, too (and they need to eat ALL. The. Time)! However, that first week may (ahem) be the most bearable in terms of their sleep “schedule,” e.g. eat/diaper change/sleep/repeat.

But beyond this dazed and confused bubble, your baby may begin waking more frequently and randomly. With no familiarity between day and night, they’ll sleep when they’re tired and wake when they’re hungry. You’ll feel like you’re on call, and maybe a little unsure of whether you brushed your teeth or when your baby last ate (this is where tracking apps are super helpful!). That said, there’s no set number of naps for newborns—and that’s OK.

Instead, you can use this time to set yourselves up for success by helping them adjust to daytime and nighttime with these tips:

  • Daytime sleep. Should babies nap in the dark, even if it’s daytime? When your little one naps during the day, it's beneficial to create a dark, peaceful environment for their sleep. You can continue with your day in other areas, ensuring they get the rest they need while keeping an eye on them with a baby monitor.
  • Nighttime sleep. When your baby is awake at night, ensure they’re in a quiet space or use a white noise machine to help soothe them to sleep. In addition, during feeding and diaper changes, try to keep the lighting low and avoid excessive interactions, such as talking or playing with them. This can help your baby understand that nighttime is for sleeping, while daytime is for playing and engaging in activities.

Naps from 4 to 6 months

By the time babies are about four months old, many of them have learned the difference between day and night. The next step is working on establishing a nap routine. At this age, three to four daily naps are ideal, depending on the duration of each nap.

Naps from 7 to 11 months

Your baby is becoming busier with each passing day. From crawling to babbling, you’re crossing milestones off left and right. However, all that learning doesn’t stop your little one from needing naps throughout the day. Sometime between seven and 11 months, they'll start needing slightly fewer naps, transitioning to two naps a day.

Naps from 12 to 18 months

One second you have a cuddly, cooing baby in your arms. The next, you are the proud parent of an always-on-the-go and independent one-year-old. While time may be flying, their naps aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sometime during this period, most babies will transition to one nap a day.

How long should their naps be?

Now that you’re familiar with the number of naps your baby needs, it’s time to find answers to the question, “How long should babies nap?”

Like the number of naps, the length of each nap depends on your baby’s age. Below, we discuss how long naps should be from day one until year one and beyond.

Naps from birth to 3 months 

One of the most common questions for new parents is, “How long should newborn naps be?” In truth, newborn naps can vary enormously. It could be 30 minutes, or it could be two hours. The length of each nap doesn’t matter so much, so long as they are given the opportunity to nap several times each day.

Naps from 4 to 6 months

Around this time, you can begin establishing a nap routine for your little one. Generally, their nap lengths are as follows:

  • Total duration: 1.5-4 hours each day
  • Per nap: 30 minutes-2 hours

Every baby is unique, and so are their sleep preferences. While your baby might take four one-hour naps between each wake window, your friend’s baby of a similar age might take five naps a day, all of varying lengths—and that’s alright, so long as they appear well rested and happy.

Naps from 7 to 11 months

At this age, most babies follow a nap schedule loosely fashioned around the following durations:

  • Total duration: 1.5-3 hours each day 
  • Per nap: 30 minutes to two hours

Pro tip: If your little one is still sleeping at the two-hour mark, don’t hesitate to gently wake them up. As much as you might enjoy 15 more minutes of “you” time, it’s essential for them to receive enough awake time for feedings and active play. This could prepare them for better naps later in the day and, more importantly, set them up for a night of (hopefully) uninterrupted sleep.

Naps from 12 to 18 months

If your baby turned toddler is still taking two naps, they’ll likely drop one soon in favor of a one-nap day. The duration of each nap will vary from child to child, but typically looks similar to this:

  • Total duration: 1-3 hours each day
  • Per nap: 1-2 hours

To increase the likelihood of a sleepy baby, try to ensure they’re awake for at least 3.5-5 hours before bedtime. This may also help them sleep more soundly throughout the night.

Tips for perfecting your baby’s nap schedule

While your baby’s cozy crib may have been set up in a day, solidifying a consistent nap schedule will take a little longer. With consistency, you’ll have an effective nap routine established before you know it—and more time to recharge your batteries.

Create a nap routine similar to their night schedule

Consider what the nightly regimen with your little one consists of. For example, if you read them two books, give them a bottle, and then sing a lullaby to them before bed, try following a corresponding mini routine before each nap. Partaking in similar activities is more likely to alert them that it’s time for sleep, no matter where your baby naps during the day.

Here are a few additional tips you can implement to improve your baby’s nap routine:

  • Set their room temperature at a cool yet comfortable 68 and 72 degrees F.
  • Help your little one stay active between naps by engaging them in age-appropriate playtime activities.
  • Learn to gauge your child’s sleepy cues, like rubbing their eyes, pulling at their ears, appearing clumsy, or becoming bored with their toys.
  • Don’t stress over a dropped nap. If you’re watching your little one struggle to nap on the baby monitor an hour after you laid them down, it’s alright to end the nap and carry on with your day. Sooner or later, they’ll find their nap rhythm!

Perfect your nap routine with Nanit

Helping your little one find a comfortable napping cadence can make a sizable difference in how they sleep at night. Even when they’re sleeping soundly, you want to know they’re safe and sound.

With Nanit, you’ll always know how they’re doing the moment you lay them down for sleep. Our Pro Camera not only tracks and analyzes your baby’s sleep habits, it also provides sensor-free Breathing Motion Monitoring. Day or night, you can sleep easy knowing Nanit has your baby’s wellness in mind. 

Key takeaways 

  • The number of naps a baby needs varies with their age, with newborns having no set schedule, four to six-month-olds usually needing three naps, seven to 11-month-olds transitioning to two naps, and 12 to 18-month-olds typically transitioning to one nap.
  • The length of each nap also depends on age, with newborns napping as long as they want, four to six-month-olds napping for 30 minutes to two hours per nap, seven to 11-month-olds napping for 20 minutes to two hours, and 12 to 18-month-olds napping for 1-3 hours.
  • To establish a consistent nap schedule, create a routine, understand and utilize wake windows, maintain a comfortable room temperature, engage in age-appropriate playtime, and learn to recognize your baby's sleepy cues.


Stanford Medicine. Newborn Sleep Patterns. 

Healthy Children. Reversing Day-Night Reversal. 

Baby Centre. Establishing good sleep habits: 12 to 18 months. 

Baby Centre. Baby naps and nap schedules, explained. 

Taking Cara Babies. Should You Wake a Sleeping Baby? 

Taking Cara Babies. 12 Month Old Sleep Schedule. 

The Bump. Wake Windows: How to Time Baby’s Sleep Just Right. 

What to Expect. Baby Naps and Nap Routine. 

Raising Children. Tired Signs in Babies and Toddlers. 

Nanit is dedicated to delivering high-quality, reliable content for our readers. Our Parent Confidently articles are crafted by experienced parenting contributors and are firmly rooted in data and research. To ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, all articles undergo a rigorous review process by our team of parenting experts. Additionally, our wellness-related content receives further scrutiny from Nanit Lab, our think tank of scientists, engineers, physicians, academic experts, and thought leaders.

Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.