Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies and Toddlers

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Sleep is important at all ages. Newborns do not know day from night, so they sleep and wake up at all times. Toddler sleep may vary too. This can be hard for parents.

How Much Sleep Your Child Needs Depends on Their Age

Sleep chart up to 2 years old 

Help Your Child Sleep Better

  • Feed your baby right before bedtime so they are not hungry when you put them in their crib.
  • Put your child in their crib when they are sleepy but not yet asleep. This lets them learn to fall asleep on theirAlways place your baby in bed on their back
  • Always put your baby in their crib on their back. Do this until they are 1 year old (Picture 1).
  • Have a regular sleep schedule and a nighttime routine.
    • Your child should go to sleep at the same time each night.
    • Nighttime routines can include feeding, bathing, stories, soft music, etc.
  • You can give your baby a pacifier while they sleep.
    • A pacifier may lower the risk of sudden unexplained infant death syndrome (SUIDS).
    • If your baby is breastfeeding, be sure they can put their mouth around the nipple and latch on before starting a pacifier. This is usually around 3 to 4 weeks of age.
  • Do not put your child in their crib with a bottle or cup. Sleeping with milk or juice in their mouth can lead to tooth decay (cavities).

Prevent Bad Habits

  • Put your baby in their crib on their back for safety and so they learn to sleep alone.
    • Safe sleep for infants up to 1 year of age also includes:
      • Sharing a room but NOT a bed
      • Nothing in the crib but your baby; no blankets, stuffed animals, or bumpers
  • Night feedings
    • When babies are 2 times their birth weight they may not need to be fed at night.
    • Ask your baby’s health care provider when to start cutting down night feedings.
  • When your baby is about 6 months old, try this if they wake up and fuss at night.
    • Check on them, but don’t let them see you. If you do, they will expect you to keep coming back when they fuss.
    • At first, fussing lasts about 10 minutes. The next night, let fussing last a bit longer.
    • For this to work, you must keep doing it over and over again the same way.
    • Remember, you are helping your child learn to go back to sleep on their own.
    • If this does not work after a few weeks, you can stop. Try again in 4 to 6 weeks.

Call Your Child’s Health Care Provider If:

  • Sleep problems don’t go away after you follow these tips.
  • Your child snores loudly.
  • Your child has long pauses in their breathing when sleeping.
  • You have any other questions or concerns.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies and Toddlers (PDF), Arabic (PDF), Nepali (PDF), Somali (PDF), Spanish (PDF)

HH-IV-117 Revised 3/22 Copyright 2011, Nationwide Children's Hospital