How Do I Make Sure My Baby Gets The Right Amount Of Sleep
Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Newborn babies need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.
If your newborn baby becomes overtired they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. We’ve given age-targeted tips to help avoid overstimulation and improve your baby’s sleep in the sleep schedules below. For more information on how much sleep your baby needs and how long they should be sleeping at a time read How Much Do Newborns Sleep?
Learning your baby’s sleep cycle
While your baby has your nose or eyes, the two of you couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to sleep cycle! The main reason your newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable is because of their evolving sleep cycle.
Adults can easily pass from one sleep cycle into the next without completely waking up. Newborns, however, don’t stay in deep sleep for long periods at a time, so they are more susceptible to frequent wake-ups. Our post, Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle, explains more in-depth about how your baby’s sleep cycle is linked to their sleep patterns.
To learn more about the changes to your baby’s sleep cycle and how to cope with sleep regression, read our post 10 Tips to Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression.
Knowing How Much Your Baby Needs To Sleep
The amount of sleep your baby will need varies on their age and individual needs. However, when establishing a routine it can be helpful to use daily/age guidelines as a starting point.
Sleep needs vary for every child, but there are some general guidelines that can help you ensure that your baby is well rested.
Newborn-3 months: Fourteen to seventeen hours. In addition to nighttime sleep, newborn babies require three to five naps per day.
4-12 months: Twelve to sixteen hours of sleep between nighttime sleep and two to three naps is a good guideline for infants.
1-2 years: As your child settles into their toddler years they should be sleeping through the night without issue. At this age they need about 11-14 hours and 1-2 naps per day.
How To Help Your Baby Sleep In Summer
1. Invest in blackout blinds
While the longer days mean more hours of fun to be had in the summer, it can also make it far more difficult to convince your baby its time for bed.
Investing in some quality blackout blinds will allow you to make you and your babys rooms dark and give the illusion of nighttime.
2. Keep blinds and curtains shut during the day
If you dont fancy forking out on a whole new set of blackout blinds for a few short weeks of summer here in the UK, by just making sure all the curtains and blinds are drawn throughout the day can help prevent natural light coming in. This will also help keep the room cool and more comfortable.
3. Monitor the room temperature with a thermometer
The optimum room temperature for a comfortable nights sleep for your baby is around 16 to 20 degrees centigrade. However, its best to check your babys body temperature to gauge whether to increase or decrease the room. And to know how many layers and blankets to use.
4. Create a cool breeze
On particularly warm summer nights, try to create a cool breeze to help make sleeping more comfortable. If its not too noisy outside, open several windows, in or near the bedroom to allow air to flow the room.
5. Place ice in your babys room
If the open windows alone arent cutting it, bring out the big guns with a fan and a bowl of ice. Place the ice near the fans so cooler air filters through the room.
6. Run a cool bath before bedtime.
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When Should I See My Doctor
Never hesitate to see your doctor if you have questions about your babys sleep schedule or sleep issues. Many sleep problems have a solution as long as you ask for help.
Healthy sleep patterns start with a sleep schedule even for infants. Once you learn to anticipate your baby’s natural sleepy times and wake windows, you can help smooth the transition to dreamland so you both get the rest you need.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Place The Crib Near Your Bed
Placing the babys crib or bassinet next to your bed makes it easier to tend to the baby and then go back to sleep, making for a more restful night. While co-sleeping in the same bed with your little one may seem tempting, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it because of the risk of suffocating the baby.
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Where Should My Baby Sleep
For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they’re asleep, both day and night. This can reduce the risk of SIDS .
Particularly in the early weeks, you may find your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner’s arms, or when you’re standing by the cot.
You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they’ve just finished a feed. It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.
If you use a baby sling to carry your baby, make sure you use it safely. The Lullaby Trust has information about swaddling your baby and using slings safely.
Make Getting Dressed More Enjoyable
Does your baby fight the bedtime diaper & PJ time like their life depends on it? Changing your little one can be a difficult part of the routine. Some babies tend to notice that getting changed means sleep, and therefore separation, is coming, which might set off their sense of alarm. Others dislike dressing because of their sensory system and discomfort around laying down flat, being cold, or feeling different fabrics coming on and off. For older toddlers and children, getting changed can be when they try and assert some power and attempt to stall bedtime, leading to a battle.
What can you do to make this part of the routine a bit calmer and more enjoyable?
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How Do I Deal With Catnapping
If your baby is catnapping, your best line of defence is to allow them to learn to self-settle at the start of naps. Even then, some babies will need help to resettle during a nap to get a longer stretch of sleep – this is completely normal and for some babies it can last quite a while! Resettling them here rather than getting them up from their nap helps teach them to sleep for longer.
It is in this tricky sleep stage that it is important to foster good sleep habits, so aiming to have your baby do at least one nap a day in their bed is a great way to head towards better sleep.
To read more about catnapping and what causes it, read our catnapping article here.
Settling A Baby Aged 6 To 12 Months
As with younger babies, it helps to talk quietly and cuddle your baby to help keep them calm.
Try the ‘hands-on settling technique’ and, as your baby calms or falls asleep, move away from the cot or leave the room. If your baby starts to become distressed, return and continue to comfort your baby using patting and calming sounds before moving away or leaving the room again. Some babies may need you to stay in the room until they are asleep.
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
Check out the Tresillian website for more tips on how you can help your baby learn to settle and fall asleep at different ages.
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Tips For Getting Baby To Sleep When The Clocks Go Forward
Paediatric sleep expert, Lucy Wolfe has come up with some top tips to combat the clocks going forward and ensure your babys sleep routine is time-proof.
1. Do your best to prepare your child for this transition by ensuring that they are well rested in the run-up to DST . Pay specific attention to day time sleep and fill this need as much as possible.
2. Make sure that you have blackout blinds and a healthy sleep-friendly environment to help with going to sleep and to avoid unnecessary early rising.
3. Consider moving your childs schedule ahead by 15 minutes every day from Wednesday before the time change. Adjust meals and naps times and of course their morning wake-time accordingly so that by Sunday youll be in sync with the new time on the clock.
4. If you prefer: do nothing until the day of the change, waking your child by 7.30am new time that morning and then follow your daily routine, addressing meals, naps and bedtime as you always do but offering a level of flexibility possibly splitting the difference between the old time and the new time. This means that your child is potentially going to bed 30 minutes to one hour earlier than normal they may struggle as their inner-clock may resist this, but within 3-7 days their system will adjust and your regular timetable will run just fine.
6. Remember to wake by 7.30am new time each day so that the internal body clock is not disrupting your nap and bedtime rhythm.
How To Establish A Good Baby Sleep Routine
Read time: 5 minutes
When it comes to introducing a sleep routine for your baby, its important to be realistic in your expectations. When theyre very young, theyll simply sleep, wake and feed when their instincts tell them to. But after a few weeks, its possible to start introducing simple concepts like night and day, which can help when it comes to developing a routine later on.
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How To Find A Good Rhythm Routine Or Schedule:
- Determine the average time between feeds. If your baby usually goes between 2.5 to 3 hours between feeds, create a routine based on those times.
- Start your day at a consistent time. Choose a time each morning and feed the baby every single day at that time. Soon your baby will sleep until 7 and thatll be your normal start to the day.
- Write down a feasible schedule that allows 2.5 to 3 hours between feedings with nap times in between each feed. See my sample newborn routine with all its times here.
- Make sure general feeding times dont coincide with other major activities you cant change like car pickup, dinner time, or the bedtime routine of older children. Of course, youll have to be flexible, but take these times into consideration and attempt to feed before or after those events.
- Cluster feed during the late afternoon early evening, more on that here.
- Get the baby sleep routine cards, the baby sleep checklists, AND all 25+ routines for babies aged 6 weeks to 5 years right here.
- Make sure to wake baby up to maintain your routine during the day. Dont let baby sleep for 4 hours during the day because, inevitably, shell need to feed twice during that period at night to make up for it. At night, let the baby sleep as long as they are able between feeds. You determine day, they determine night.
If you still have questions about how to craft a routine, here are my routine archives full of practical tips age by age.
Week 3 Of The Newborn Sleep Schedule
Now that your baby is about 3 weeks old and is getting the hang of full feeds and has their days and nights mostly fixed, its time to start thinking about teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.
Why worry about this so early?
Heres why because they are probably already doing it at this point and their drive to sleep is still strong.
2 and 3 week old babies often go to sleep on their own without much fuss, and if you want that to continue then now is the time to start good habits. Some babies wont fall asleep in the bassinet, but you can help achieve this without much fuss.
As babies get bigger theyll stop this and thats when you get in a pickle. Moms find themselves victim of the nap trap with no end in sight.
Having to jump through hoops and use newfangled vibrating equipment, washing machines, and cars to get baby to sleep.
These lovely cards and checklists will help you create and keep healthy wind down and sleep routines for your little ones.
Next, well talk about finding and crafting a good routine for a baby that meets all their needs in a timely way that encourages full bellies and rested babies.
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All Babies Are Different
Some babies need more help than others to fall asleep. But most babies will develop a regular sleep pattern over time, although these will continue to change as they grow.
All children will eventually develop the ability to fall asleep without a parent being present, though this is likely to happen when they’re closer to a year old and not in the early months. For tips on how to cope with a lack of sleep, see here.
Eliminate Or Limit Bottles
If your baby has previously needed a bottle in order to fall asleep, ensure that in the new child bedtime routine, the bottle will only contain water. Formula, juice, or milk will normally pool around his teeth leading to the development of cavities, which can be dangerous, especially for small children.
If you want to stop giving your baby a bedtime bottle, now is the time to start.
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How Many Naps Are Appropriate Per Day
We believe it is vital to establish and maintain a long restorative nap of approximately 2 hours across the middle of the day when there is a natural dip in their energy levels.
Our reason for aiming for this long consistent nap is that during restorative sleep, babies enter REM and this is where a whole lot of amazing stuff happens! For example, their appetite and emotions are regulated, stress and cortisol levels are reduced, new skills and memories are consolidated, their immune system is boosted and brain connections are made and strengthened.
You may find that around 5 months old, your baby starts to resist their third nap – this doesn’t mean they’re entirely ready to drop it though. Up until around 6 months old, the late afternoon nap is essential, even though it might become very short, because it ensures your baby isn’t overtired at bedtime and unsettled overnight. Even just a 10 minute power nap is enough to stave off any residual overtiredness and helps to get your baby through to bedtime.
Should You Let Baby Cry It Out For Naps
If your baby has you trained to respond to every whimper while hes supposed to be napping, crying it out might help both of you get some rest. The cry it out method is only for babies who are at least 4 to 6 months old. It simply means you allow a napping baby to cry for periods of time without going in to comfort him, so he learns to soothe himself to sleep on his own.
Although many parents can find it distressing, studies say this sleep training method usually improves sleep within a week.
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What’s The Best Baby Sleep Schedule
There is no one-size-fits-all baby sleep schedule. Little ones vary in when and how much they sleep every night and at naptime. You may have a naturally early riser who likes to wake up before the sun and eat right away … or your baby may sleep a bit later .
As your baby grows, you’ll become familiar enough with her hunger and sleep cues to develop a feeding and sleep schedule that works for your family.
Heres a chart of rough baby sleep schedules by age to get you started:
Everything You Need To Know About Helping You Baby Have A Natural And Simple Sleep Routine
Do you know that during deep sleep, the bodys energy gets restored and growth and repair occurs?
Quality sleep is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. It is especially important for children due to the impact it has on both their mental and physical development. Not getting enough sleep can have serious long term consequences, including an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
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Swaddle And Keep Him Cozy
After spending nine months in a tight tummy, its no surprise that your newborn prefers a snug space now. Sure, hell grow into the crib eventually, but for now, he might prefer sleeping in a bassinet or cradle, which offers your baby a cozier, more contained space to settle into.
Swaddling your baby with a blanket or dressing him in a sleep sack will offer an extra dose of security and may even help him sleep a little longer. Just be sure to stop swaddling by the time he’s 3 or 4 months old, when he can roll over and wriggle out of his swaddle or blanket.