Baby Sleep Schedule

Baby won’t sleep!

Chances are, you are reading this through tired eyes. I know what it’s like being up most of the night trying to get your baby to sleep.

Do I need a baby sleep schedule?

Those first few weeks are especially exhausting. There are ways of making it easier though, your baby could be sleeping longer stretches of time with just a few techniques and yes, a baby sleep schedule.

On average a baby will sleep about 16 hours per 24 hours, but it is perfectly normal for a baby to sleep 10 hours per day and in the extreme also normal to sleep 23 hours per day.

By the time baby reaches a place where he/she is sleeping through the night…you will have plenty time to rest, so let’s discuss a few tips so that you can get there faster.

If you are breastfeeding and would like to start night weaning baby (6 months and older) from the breast… read more here on night weaning.

Some healthy sleep habits happy baby...

My own baby sleep training methods

- Try to keep to a specific bath time and bedtime routine. What I do is always make sure that things are calm and quiet after about 6 in the evening, from there you can bath baby, read a story, breastfeed her/him and put them to bed. This always happens in that order so that baby knows what to expect and is more likely to sleep, than to struggle against my baby sleep schedule. Babies love consistency.

- Keep your baby sleep schedule routine to about 15 minutes, longer than this, and it might become too stimulating.

- For older babies you can try sticking to a nap time routine during the day, this will ensure better sleep at night too.

- Keeping your baby from sleeping during the day will not help him/her sleep longer at night. Keeping baby from day time naps will actually hamper sleep at night because baby will be overtired.

- Keep to specific nap times during the day. Three nap times are usually enough.

- How long should baby sleep? By 6 months your baby should be sleeping a total of about 14 hours every 24 hours. (naps included)

- Co-sleeping for the first few weeks can mean the difference between a few hours sleep and a full night sleep. Read more about co-sleeping here. You can do this until baby starts to sleep through at night. Co sleeping promotes breastfeeding and sleeping apart from baby can cause a higher risk of SIDS. Research shows that moms who sleep apart from their baby’s get the same amount of sleep as ones who co-sleep.

- An overtired baby will struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try to put baby to sleep a little earlier, if you think this is the case.

- A baby (4 months and older) that wakes up in the middle of the night is not necessarily hungry, they might just have had a dream about some new skills discovered during the day. Sleep disturbances usually happen during developmental milestones like learning to sit and crawl for example.

- You don’t need to change your baby’s diaper every time you enter the room at night. Try to do this only if the diaper is very full or if baby has had a poop. A diaper change is a sure way to wake baby! Also if you have to do a diaper change, use a warm cloth instead of a cold wet wipe.

- If you need to change baby’s diaper, its best to change it before a feeding (if baby is still eating at night) rather than afterwards when baby is sleepy again.

- Wake baby at a specific time every morning. Baby will be more likely to sleep to a specific baby sleep schedule if you do this.

- Getting baby to sleep alone ~ Let your baby fall asleep by him/herself. If baby wakes up in the middle of the night, allow some time to see if baby will fall asleep again without you going into the room. Also during the day make a habit of allowing baby (when drowsy) to fall asleep on their own without being held. This will teach baby how to self soothe.

- Avoid looking into baby’s eyes when putting baby to sleep. Baby might take it as an invitation to play…and obviously won’t be feeling too drowsy then.

- Put the light off ~ Even if you have to use a little night light, the darker the room, the better because apparently, as soon as the lights go out, the brain starts to release the sleep hormone melatonin.

- If your baby sleeps more during the day than at night its best to keep the room full of light during day time naps.

- Only go back into baby’s room at night if you are sure that baby is fully awake, sometimes moms will go into the room too soon with just a peep sound, also don’t go into the room too late…if baby is screaming he/she will be wide awake too, and will struggle to go back to sleep.

- Try to refrain from rocking baby to sleep, baby needs to learn how to fall asleep without this. Letting baby sleep in a moving swing is also a bad idea as this actually prevents baby from falling into a deep sleep.

- Some believe that swaddling can help babies sleep faster and for longer periods of time.

- White noise is often used to help baby sleep. You can get special baby audio for this or just play some soft, relaxing music that you like.

- Baby can’t sleep with a blocked nose, this can definitely keep him/her awake. A blocked nose is not always a symptom of a cold or flu, many newborns suffer with blocked noses from other irritants. Also make sure the room is dust free.

- Considering the use of a pacifier in getting your baby to sleep? Read more here on pacifier use

Giving baby solids to help them sleep through

Giving a baby solid foods, does not help them sleep through at night. Giving baby any solids before 4 months can interrupt the breastfeeding relationship and baby’s digestive system is not ready for this.

If your baby is sleeping less than 14 hours/24 hours you should see your pediatrician to rule out any medical baby sleep disorders.

Other pages on “breastfeeding” in connection with a baby sleep schedule

- Swaddling baby

- Night time weaning

- Co-sleeping

Want to share your baby sleep system? Need more baby sleep help? Ask your questions here

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