How Long Should a 4-Month-Old Nap?

As a new parent, your child’s sleep schedule is one of the most important things in your life. Not only because your baby needs sleep, but also because that's all the free time you’ll get.
A baby’s sleep cycle changes constantly as they grow, which can leave you not knowing exactly how much sleep they need.
If you’re reading this post, you’re most likely wondering, “How long should a 4-month-old nap?”
You’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at what your baby’s sleep schedule should look like and what you can do to help make it better.

How Long Should a 4-Month-Old Nap? Short Answer

On average, 4-year-olds need around 4-5 hours of nap time. This is in addition to their hours of sleep at night. You can break up these 4-5 hours into two long naps or five small ones. It’s best to divide your baby’s napping time evenly throughout the day.

The Ideal Sleep Schedule for a 4-Month-Old Baby

When it comes to sleep schedules, each baby will be a bit different and will have different habits and needs based on their level of activity.
Before you start planning out your baby’s sleep schedule, you must remember that consistency is crucial. Without consistency, no amount of training will help your infant’s sleep schedule.
Firstly, make sure that your baby has a set bedtime. This will do wonders for how well your baby sleeps. Naps are a little more forgiving. You can space out naps depending on the day, but try to make sure your baby gets enough of them.
Here’s a more in-depth breakdown:

Daily Sleep

As your baby hits the 4-month-old mark, new senses start to develop. These senses help your baby tell the difference between day and night. So, this is generally when your newborn will be able to sleep throughout the night.
Typically, most 4-month-olds need between 12 and 17 hours of sleep each day. It’s completely normal if your infant snoozes for a little more or less.
However, if you think your baby isn't close to the normal sleep range, it’s a good idea to consult your pediatrician.

Naps

The above-mentioned 12-17 hours of sleep aren’t all consecutive; they will include a full night's sleep as well as a few naps. Depending on your daily routine, the number of naps can differ.
The average baby needs about 4-5 hours of sleep during the day. You can break it up into two long naps or five small ones. Either way, your baby can still maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Though, it’s usually best to divide the naps evenly across the day.
An average of three naps a day should be optimal. This means each nap should be around an hour or an hour and a half. However, it’s perfectly normal for the first nap to be shorter than the second and third.
So, for example, your infant will have a 30-minute nap about 2 hours after they wake up. Then, after a couple more hours, they’ll take a 2-hour nap. Finally, after a few hours of play, the baby will go in for a final hour and a half of napping.
This is just a general guide and is completely up for adjustment based on your daily schedule. The most important thing is to keep an eye on the number of nap hours. Anything less than 2 hours and more than 7 hours should have you talking to your pediatrician.
It’s also a good idea to limit the naps to no more than 2 hours. Anything more than that could interfere with your infant’s sleep at night.
Another factor to keep in mind when deciding your nap schedule is bedtime. You never want to have your baby nap right before bedtime, especially if you plan on getting any sleep yourself.
To make sure your cutie pie is getting enough sleep, you should implement a sleep schedule. To do that, you may need to sleep-train your munchkin.

Sleep Training a 4-Month-Old Baby

We all hear about sleep training, and it sounds simple enough, but implementing it can be hard. Sleep training is basically teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.
This can be incredibly difficult at first. Infants tend to not like being on their own and if you leave them alone, they can start to cry and scream for attention. Still, the most important part of sleep training is that you don’t interfere.
Interference here can have several definitions. It could mean picking up your baby or swinging their cradle.
No matter how loud your baby is screaming, you have to resist the urge to pick them up. This is the toughest part of the job for most parents. It can be heartbreaking, but you have to remember that you’re doing it to help them sleep better.
Still, it’s ok for you to sing a lullaby or play some music from a distance.
Not interfering doesn’t mean you’re not involved. There are a lot of things you can do to ease your baby’s sleep process. It’s not as simple as placing your baby in the crib and walking away.
Some of the things you can try include:

The Ferber Method

The Ferber method can be exhausting, but it’s straightforward. Start by putting your baby in their crib and walk away from their line of sight for about a minute.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave the room altogether. Just make sure they can’t see you. Wait for a minute and observe your newborn's reaction.
After that, walk back in and reassure your baby that you’re still there. Be sure to resist the urge to hold them.
Repeat the same process, but this time, wait 5 minutes instead of 1. Then, repeat the process again and wait 10 minutes, and so on. Do this until your baby drifts away.
This can take a while at first, but over time, the process should get faster.

The Cry-It-Out Method

This method is self-explanatory. What you do is you let your baby cry to sleep. You’re still in the room, but you don’t interact with your baby at all.
There are many debates over the effects of this method on a baby’s emotional health, but it’s still widely used.

Conclusion

Every baby has unique sleeping needs and patterns. Still, as a general rule, babies should get around 12 to 17 hours of sleep a day.
When it comes to how long a 4-month-old should nap, on average, 4-year-olds need around 4 to 5 hours of nap time during the day, in addition to their hours of sleep at night.
If you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough sleep or is getting too much sleep, contact your doctor.