Baby sleep patterns


As frustrating as is it, variation in baby sleep patterns is normal. Babies might sleep from 30 minutes to 5 hours and anywhere in between. Predictable, regular patterns only begin as the baby matures.

A recent study of 97 Portuguese families identified the average time babies spend sleeping and the frequency of sleep over a 24 hours for babies aged:

  • two weeks
  • three months
  • six months. 

The study supported much of what we already know: sleep patterns slowly mature and by three months, infants begin to have distinct day and night sleep patterns.

2 weeks

Avg time asleep

13.27 hours

  • 6.35 hours during the day
  • 6.91 hours at night 

Longest sleep period

3.20 hours

Avg time awake

8.69 hours, inc feeding times

  • 4.62 hours during the day
  • 4.07 hours at night 

How often they woke

6 times

  • 4.95 times during the day
  • 8.01 times overnight

3 months

Avg time asleep

12.95 hours

  • 4.95 hours during the day
  • 8.01 hours at night

Longest sleep period

5.24 hours

Avg time awake

9.19 hours over 24 hours

  • 6.06 hours during the day
  • 3.13 hours at night

How often they woke

5.5 times

  • 3.03 times during the day
  • 2.24 times overnight

6 months

Avg time asleep

12.21 hours

  • 4.02 hours during the day
  • 8.20 hours at night 

Longest sleep period

5.59 hours

Avg time awake

9.98 hours over 24 hours

  • 7.15 hours during the day
  • 2.83 hours at night

How often they woke

5.1 times

  • 3.10 times during the day
  • 2.11 times overnight

Note: the remaining time between asleep and awake was called ‘latency to sleep’, i.e. the time spent getting to sleep.

The study

Figueiredo, Dias, Pinto, Field 2016


  • The majority of the mothers were Caucasian (97.8%), first time mothers with full term infants and no health related hospital admissions.
  • More than half of the babies (57.4%) were male
  • More than half of the babies in the study (56.3%) were not bedsharing, while 43.7% bedshared.
  • The majority (81.9%) were exclusively breast fed at 2 weeks, 68.6% at 3 months and 4.3% at 6 months.

Night time was defined as 8pm to 8am. 


Author: Helen Stevens. RN. RM. MCHN. Manager of Clinical Services, Education and Research.
Parent Infant Consultants. 0411880720.