Real Baby Schedules From Other Moms
It can also help to get the perspective of other parents going through the same things as you. Have mom friends with babies the same age as yours? Ask them what kind of baby schedules their children keep. Or go on The Bump message boards to make new pals.
Curious to see some sample baby schedules? See below for routines that other families have found work for them, broken down by different age groups:
Learn The Art Of Stress
Its hard to soothe a baby who is very irritable or distressed. This Parenting Science article about opens in a new windowstress in babies offers insights into what stresses out babies. It also provides evidence-based tips for keeping babies calm and emotionally healthy.
But what if you are feeling too stressed-out to project reassurance and calm? Or too depressed?
If so, you arent alone. Caring for a baby can be very stressful and exhausting, especially when you are sleep-deprived, coping with opens in a new windowchildbirth trauma, or struggling with a baby that opens in a new windowcries excessively .
If youre emotional state is poor, opens in a new windowscreen yourself for postpartum depression, and make your psychological health a priority. Postpartum depression and opens in a new windowpostpartum stress are very common, yet many parents continue to suffer privately. Talk to your doctor about your options.
For more information, see my article about the opens in a new windowpersonal costs of parenting stress and these opens in a new windowParenting Science tips for coping.
The Surprising Secret For Better Baby Sleep
Every parent wants a well rested baby. Babies who get enough sleep are happier.and have parents who are happier, too. After all, if baby isnt sleeping, neither are Mom and Dad.
But many parents dont know this one simple secret trick to having a baby who sleeps better at night.
What is it, you ask? Babies who nap well during the day will sleep well during the night. Weve all heard people say things like, Better not let them nap too much if you want sleep tonightbut maybe we need to re-think that!
Babies who take good naps will actually sleep better overnight . Keeping a baby up longer during the day will not tire them out for a good nights rest. In fact, one of the most important factors in sleeping through the night is a well-rested baby.
What Happens When a Baby is Sleep Deprived?
To understand why this is true, lets take a look at what happens when a baby is not well rested. Have you ever stayed up later than usual and experienced a second wind? That surge of energy is from the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Your body produces them because it senses that something is wrong. You did not go to sleep when your body clock said it was time.
This is what happens to a baby who misses the right time to go down for a nap. The difference is that its much harder for a baby to handle. His body experiences stress and the increased energy makes it even more difficult for him to fall asleep.
A Well-Rested Baby
The Sleep Training Process
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Get Right With The Light
One of the best ways to fix your sleep schedule is to plan your exposure to light.
When youre exposed to light, your brain stops producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. This makes you feel awake and alert.
Darkness tells your brain to make more melatonin, so you feel drowsy.
In the morning, exposing yourself to light can help you wake up. Try opening the curtains, taking a walk, or relaxing on the porch.
At night, prime yourself for sleep by turning off or dimming bright lights. You should also avoid glowing electronic screens from computers, smartphones, or television, as they can stimulate your brain for several hours.
Make A Big Deal Of The Morning
When your baby wakes up in the morning, make a big deal out of it! Go in his room, sing a little good morning song, open up the blinds to let the sunlight in, change his diaper, and start the day. Your baby will start to see a difference between night feeds and that first morning feed and theyll learn that the day is starting when mom enters with a pep in her step!
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Week 5 Of Newborn Sleep Schedule
The dream feed is one of the most important feeds of the day. Or night, rather.
Because its what will help baby get a longer stretch of sleep through the middle of the night and its whatll help you do the same!
A dream feed is essentially a feeding you give the baby between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm or so, right before you go to sleep.
It helps top the baby off so to speak and will hopefully allow you both an extra hour or two of uninterrupted sleep.
This feed is important because it works to fill the babys tummy during early evening hours so they learn to sleep long stretches.
It is also the last feed youll likely drop.
When you have only one nighttime feed left this will be that feed.
Set Up An Optimum Sleep Environment
Set up your babys nursery for an optimum sleep environment to help your baby when falling asleep and stay asleep. Use blackout curtains to keep the room pitch black and a good sound machine to muffle outside noises. If youve read any of my other posts, you know I am obsessed with the !
The temperature of the room is also important for babys safety and comfort. I was a nutcase about the temperature in Evelyns nursery after she was born, so I get it. Most experts agree the room a baby sleeps in should be between 68 and 72 degrees F. Make sure your baby is dressed comfortably for the temperature.
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But Is A Rigid Or Flexible Sleep Schedule Right For Your Baby
Unfortunately, whats convenient for us isnt what works for our baby. As I discussed in my article about schedules for breast-feeding and formula-feeding babies, your personality will likely gravitate you towards one or the other. Your baby will make it a success or a failure. And, sometimes maybe its somewhere in between leading to some good days and some bad days.
For highly inconsistent babies, it is usually best to keep a rigid sleep schedule from a sleep perspective , because it helps set their internal clock and biological rhythms. If you allow your inconsistent baby to drive the schedule, he is more likely to continue being even more inconsistent than whats normal for him.
For babies who are very sensitive to becoming over-tired leading to less and less sleep, its important to keep their sleep at a high priority. It doesnt necessarily mean keeping a rigid schedule by the clock, but in terms of making sure they are not awake too long before sleep. It means that swim class might have to wait until theyve changed their schedule.
For babies who can sometimes stay up longer and other times cant, having a rigid schedule where they are in the crib when they are not tired, could lead to other sleep problems and frustration for your baby. Maybe he needs a more flexible schedule that is driven more by his sleep needs and cues.
Newborn Sleeping Feeding And Play: Letting Your Baby Lead The Routine
With newborn sleeping and feeding, the key is being flexible and following your babys lead. Your baby will let you know whether they want to sleep, feed or interact with you its OK to go with whatever feels right at the time.
Its also OK to try to do things in a similar order if that feels right for you and your baby. For example, you could trya simple routine of feed, play, sleep. Heres what this might look like:
If you try this kind of routine, its still important to watch your babys cues and respond.
For example, your baby might show tired signs soon after a feed. This means that its time for your baby to sleep, even if you and baby havent had much time to play.
Or your baby might show signs of being hungry after a play. In this situation, just give your baby another feed before settling baby for sleep. Your baby will sleep better with a full tummy.
Or your baby might have an extra-long sleep every now and then. Thats OK too. Unless your doctor or child and family health nurse has told you otherwise, theres no need to wake your baby for feeds.
And at night, a good option might be settling your baby straight back to sleep after feeds, rather than trying to play.
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Reasons Newborn Babies Cry
- They are hungry and need to feed
- They are tired and need to nap. Essentially newborns nap between each feeding. If baby has been up more than 1.5 hours then they are tired, and likely overtired.
- They are physicallyuncomfortable. Baby may have a wet diaper, dirty diaper or be too hot or cold. Generally, newborns need about one more layer than we do!
- They have reflux and its uncomfortable. You will see your pediatrician, of course, for this, then use the information here to keep baby as comfortable as possible until they outgrow this.
- They have colic and/or are letting off steam. Newborns dont usually develop colic until around 6 weeks or so, but some crying is normal with newborns. Its the only way they can communicate. Our job is not to stop their crying as quickly as humanly possible, but to learn to decipher their cries so we can meet their needs appropriately and promptly.
Changing Your Baby’s Sleep Patterns
If youre worried about your sleep or your babys sleep, you might want to look into changing baby sleep patterns. The key is helping your baby learn how to go to sleep without your help.Steps to changing baby sleepIf you are interested in changing baby sleep patterns, the important thing is helping your baby learn to fall asleep independently at bedtime and settle by herself if she wakes during the night.It takes 3-14 days to change baby sleep patterns, just as it takes adults a few days to get over sleep issues like jet lag. Be prepared for your baby to protest for the first few nights, until he gets used to the change. After that, sleep usually improves for everyone.Here are the steps to changing baby sleep patterns:
- finishing the last feed at least 20 minutes before bedtime
- giving baby the last feed outside the bedroom this helps break the link between feeding and sleeping
- phasing out night feeds altogether for babies older than six months this is important if youre trying to help your baby settle independently during the night.
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What Is Your Body Clock
As the day progresses, your levels of alertness and tiredness fluctuate. Ideally, you are energized during the day, and ready for rest at night.
You can thank the part of your brain called the hypothalamus for maintaining these levels, which are part of your circadian rhythm. This rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycle and repeats approximately every 24 hours. This is also called your body clock.
If Your Baby Seems To Cry Inconsolably Dont Blame Yourself Learn About Infantile Colic And Consult With Your Pediatrician
All babies cry, but some babies cry excessively for no apparent reason, and that can make nighttime especially stressful.
Whats going on?
Although these babies are often diagnosed as colicky, that term is little more than a label for we dont know why your baby cries so much. To figure out what might be bothering your baby, see my overview about the possible causes of infantile colic, and discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.
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Benefits Of A Flexible Baby Sleep Schedule
But, what if your baby doesnt get sleepy at the same times every day? Or, what if your family life is such that your day simply is not very similar day to day? A flexible baby sleep schedule allows you to have much more flexibility in your day. Your play date wants to meet at 10 instead of 11? No problem. That baby swim class is at 1 p.m. twice a week right when your babys nap is. No problem. Grandma and grandpa come to visit for two hours making bedtime an hour later? No problem. Having a flexible sleep schedule is definitely appealing in many ways. It feels much less like your whole world revolves around your babys sleep and schedule, thats for sure.
How Long Should You Let Your Newborn Sleep Without Eating
Newborns should eat as often and as long as they want, so it may be necessary to wake your newborn if shes sleeping too much to meet her calorie and nutrient needs. Frequent feeding is crucial for your newborns growth and development. Right after birth, babies lose up to 10 percent of their body weight and need to quickly regain it.
- Newborns: feed every two to four hours
- 2 months: feed every three to four hours
- 4 months: feed every four hours
- 6 months: feed every four to five hours
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Month Baby Sleep Schedule
Total sleep: 12 to 14 hours in a full days cycle.
The day starts… at 6 to 7am
Napping: 2 naps, totaling 2 to 4 hours daily.
Nighttime sleep: usually starts earlier, with your baby hitting the hay between 7-9pm. Early enough for mom and dad to get some alone time! The longest sleeping stretch usually averages 7 to 10 hours at night.
Heads up: You child is officially a toddler . Communicating with kids this age requires a whole new set of tools and expectations. You’ll find fun and fast acting tips to boost emotional strength, increase patience and reduce tantrums in The Happiest Toddler . Also, you can now introduce a handkerchief-sized silky blanket or hand-sized cuddly stuffed animal into the crib!
Switch Off The Lights During The Night
Since you want your baby to associate light and day, switch off the lights during the night. Avoid using overhead lights as they can confuse them. Use a nightlight instead or your flashlight during nighttime feeds. Ensure the room is dark or semi-darkened to help your baby produce melatonin. With time, your baby will sleep better during the night.
Parenting Science advises parents to stick to a regular night schedule. This could include switching off all lights at a specific time. This will help your baby develop circadian rhythm and reverse their sleep schedule.
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