A baby sleep schedule helps your baby develop good sleeping habits. Your baby needs good, quality sleep − or else they won’t develop properly. Newborns especially need a baby sleep schedule since this will help them establish a healthy body clock. What if my newborn doesn’t get enough sleep during the night? If you’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep through the night, don’t worry. Here are some ways to ensure your baby gets the rest they need.
11 Ways to Establish Your Baby’s Sleeping Routine
1. Prepare Baby Sleep Environment
If it’s late at night and your newborn is still awake, maybe they aren’t comfortable. Something in their crib or room might be preventing them from getting a good night’s rest. Maybe the window curtains let in too much light or their blankets are made from synthetic materials which bother their skin. To ensure the quality of your baby’s sleep, their sleeping environment must be comfortable. Their room shouldn’t be too hot or cold. Around 68 degrees is a comfortable temperature to help baby stay comfortable during rest. Also, try finding them a crib, blankets, and sheets made from safe, organic materials.
2. Make a Routine
Establishing a routine for your newborn is very important because they still haven’t developed a body clock in their first few months. So, as a parent, you have to introduce the idea that your baby should be awake at times and asleep at a certain time. This will help regulate your baby’s body clock for a healthier sleep cycle. Usually, it’s best to set their bedtime between 7 pm and 9 pm.
3. Stick to the Same Routine
A lot of new parents make the mistake of setting a routine and not sticking to it. This is very bad since it’s only going to disrupt your baby’s sleep schedule. If you set a bedtime for your baby, make sure they’re tucked in and ready to sleep by that time. Remove any distractions like TV, phones, or too much light from the room so their sleep schedule isn’t disturbed.
4. Use Baby Sleep Signals
Having trouble sticking to your baby sleep schedule because your baby is restless? Then use signals to tell them that it’s bedtime. These signals help them transition from being awake to sleeping. Taking a soothing bath, changing into pajamas, and hearing soothing music are some activities to ease your baby into sleep.
5. Keep a Close Eye on Your Baby
New parents can also make the mistake of not paying close attention to their baby. For example, they don’t notice during the day that it’s time for their nap which can affect a healthy sleep schedule. Make sure you pay attention to signs like yawning, rubbing their eyes, and other signals that your baby is tired and sleepy. Also, note if they’re expressing any discomfort during bedtime.
6. Write Down Any Sleep Problems or Issues
If you notice a problem with your baby, write it down immediately. Maybe they’re waking up more often than usual at night or they’re having nightmares. Mention this to your pediatrician so they can offer a solution and eliminate any other possible issues.
7. Establish the Difference Between Day and Night
As we’ve mentioned before, your baby doesn’t have a fixed sleep cycle. So, you have to introduce the concept that some things should be done in the day and some things at night. This helps them get used to sleeping at night, leading to healthier sleeping habits. Avoid any stimulating things at night such as loud music or exciting play. When it’s nighttime, make sure they’re winding down and getting ready for bed.
8. Don’t Rely So Much on Sleep Props
Sleep props are the things parents use to put their baby to sleep. There’s a difference between sleep signals and sleep props. Parents use sleep signals to tell a baby that it’s time for bed like lullabies or rocking them in your arms. These activities become sleep props when you rely on them too much, making your baby rely on them as well. Your baby won’t be able to sleep without them which is a bad thing because if your baby wakes up at night, they won’t go back to sleep unless you rock them yourself. So, your own sleep cycle becomes disturbed.
You can prevent a sleep signal from becoming a sleep prop by making sure you don’t rely on the same props all of the time. For example, rock your baby only until they’re drowsy then set them down in their crib. Don’t rock your baby until they fall asleep in your arms or they’ll become too dependent on this.
9. Make Sure You Also Get Some Good Sleep
Don’t forget about yourself, Momma. You won’t be able to take care of your child if you can’t take care of yourself. We all need sleep, not just babies. It might seem difficult, but it’s doable. First, your partner or other family members can help when you get too tired. If you’re having trouble sleeping even when you’re tired, you can follow these steps.
10. Stay Flexible and Don’t Panic
11. Follow How Much Sleep Your Baby Needs Based on Age
You can’t make a good baby sleep schedule if you don’t know how much sleep they need. Newborns, infants, and toddlers all need different amounts of sleep, even if their ages are separated by only a few months. Newborns need 14 to 17 hours of sleep while infants need 13 to 16 hours. Your baby needs a lot of sleep to be able to develop properly.
Newborn Baby Sleep Schedule
Newborn babies tend to rest more as they have to settle into their new environment and get used to day and night. Babies in this age group typically sleep for about 14 to 18 hours a day, spread across daytime naps and nighttime sleep. They usually take six 30 to 45 minute-naps a day, with an interval of 45 minutes to an hour between naps. Newborns can typically handle only 2 to 4 hours of sleep at night.
1 to 2 months
At this age, babies need around 11 to 15 hours of sleep. Entering into their second month, babies start having fewer, but longer naps. At this age, they take only 3 to 5 naps, each lasting around 45 minutes to an hour. They are also able to stay awake longer, with the interval between naps increasing to 1 to 2 hours. Their nighttime sleep also increases to 4 to 6 hours.
2 to 4 months
Total sleep time needed at this age becomes 12 to 14 hours. They can have, at most, four naps a day, lasting between 45 minutes and two hours each, with a gap of an hour or two between naps. They can also sleep considerably longer at night, increasing their sleep time to 4 to 8 hours.
4 to 8 months
From their 4th to 8th month, babies’ total sleep time remains the same. They take about two to three naps a day, each lasting an hour or two. They can also stay awake between naps for about 2 hours and can sleep throughout the night for 6 to 12 hours.
In their 8th month, babies begin to have a more predictable nap time of about an hour or two with about three hours between naps. They take 2 naps throughout the day and can sleep for 10 to 12 hours throughout the night. Their total sleep time is still from 12 to 14 hours.
During this period, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of the total amount of sleep needed, nap times and intervals, and nighttime sleep duration. The only difference is some babies might be able to already handle napping only once during the day, but it’s still typical for others to take two naps.
Those in this age group need around 11 to 14 hours of sleep. They could already handle one nap that lasts anywhere between an hour or two as they become more active.
Learning a baby’s sleep routine can help you get ready for what some call “sleepless nights ahead.” Observe your baby’s sleep patterns, when they are most awake, and when they want to rest or sleep. This baby sleep guide can help you determine how much your baby needs to rest or when he/she needs to be active.
If you’ve done everything on this list but your baby is still restless, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. The first few months are a critical adjusting period for your baby so nothing’s set in stone yet. If you find yourself overwhelmed, have your partner or other loved ones help out. Or, talk to your pediatrician or other experts. There’s always a solution out there.
Follow this guide to ensure your precious one gets proper rest!
A baby sleep schedule is necessary for your little one’s proper growth. We all want what’s best for our babies and they won’t get the best if they don’t sleep well. They’ll grow up tired, cranky, and unhealthy. Your baby’s sleep needs to be sufficient and of the highest quality. So, with the right sleep schedule and sleep habits, your baby will grow up strong and healthy!
Do you have any questions about the right baby sleep schedule? Let us know in the comments section below!