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.
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.
Establishing A Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and can help prevent sleeping problems later on. It’s also great one-to-one time with your baby. Here are some things to try:
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving them a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile that you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
Where Should Our Newborn Sleep
Your newborn can sleep in a bassinet or a crib. This can be located in a parents room, a siblings room or in the newborns own room. Its important that you have your baby sleep in a safe place. Your baby should not sleep in your bed with you. This is dangerous because of the risk of suffocation, strangulation and sudden infant death syndrome .
You can bring the baby into your bed for feedings, but should return the baby to a crib as soon as you are done. Many experts recommend feeding your child while in a chair to avoid any injury that can happen while sleeping in a bed with the baby. Room-sharing with your baby is recommended, but not bed-sharing.
Don’t Miss: What To Teach A Newborn
When Should Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night
Some babies begin sleeping through the night around six months of age. At six months, about 62% of babies sleep uninterrupted for at least 6 hours. By the time they reach one year, about 71% of babies sleep uninterrupted for at least 6 hours at night.
Infants three months and younger generally don’t sleep throughout the night without waking up to be fed. Parents shouldn’t be concerned if their baby doesn’t sleep throughout the night without waking up, even if the baby is a year old.
Who Should Put Baby To Bed
Im going to get a little out of my comfort zone for this blog and do something I wouldnt typically do.
Im going to speculate.
Im going to hypothesize.
If you read my blog regularly, you know Im a big believer in studies, data, and established, credible scientific fact, but today, today Im freestyling.
So in most parental relationships, as you probably know, theres one parent who takes on the majority of the responsibilities when it comes to the kids. Im not talking about the antiquated idea of, Mom feeds, dresses, changes, teaches, nurtures, and raises the kids, and Dad goes to work and kisses them goodnight when he gets home in time. But most of the families Ive worked with have had one parent who takes on a little more of the baby-related responsibilities. It might be split 75/25 or 45/55, but theres usually someone who has the role of primary caregiver.
And that parent, more often than not, is usually the one who handles two main things feeding baby and putting baby to bed.
If this sounds like you and youre one of the millions of families who are trying to teach your little one how to get to sleep independently and have them sleep through the night, Id like to offer a suggestion
I suggest you assign the bedtime responsibilities to the parent who doesnt typically handle the feeds..
So for now, focus on whats effective and discuss how you can balance the scales once babys sleeping through the night.
Read Also: What Do I Need To Buy For My Newborn
What Clothes Should A Baby Sleep In
When dressing your newborn for bed, follow this rule of thumb: dress the infant in one additional layer than what youd be comfortable wearing at night in that room. Consider a onesie, sleep sack, or lightweight swaddle in warmer months. In colder months, opt for a long-sleeved onesie or a heavier sleepsack or swaddle.
The TOG indicates approximately how many blankets a sleeping sack or bag is equivalent to. Bags with ratings of .5-2 or below are for spring/summer use. Bags with ratings of 2-2.5 are for autumn/winter.
For those mamas that do better with a chart, here is a wonderful example of a Sleep Temperature Guide:
Safe Sleeping Where Should Your Baby Sleep
It’s up to you where your baby sleeps, but it is recommended that babies sleep in a cot in the same room as an adult for the first 6 to 12 months, since this has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome .
Always place a baby to sleep on their back with the head and face uncovered every time they sleep, night or day. Keep the room smoke-free.
You May Like: What Tests Are Done On Newborns After Birth
When Its Hard To Know What Your Newborn Needs
There are times when its hard to know what newborns need. For example, you might have tried feeding or putting your baby down for a sleep, but baby still seems unsettled.
If your baby is crying, first check whether baby is sick, hurt or uncomfortable. If not, and if baby has fed in the last two hours, cuddling and comfort are in order. For example, you could try holding your baby in your arms with their head near your chest.
Your newborn will feel safe and secure when you interact with them in warm, loving and responsive ways. You cant spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them.
If your baby is crying a lot, its very important to look after yourself. Even just five minutes reading a book, walking around the block or doing some meditation can give you a break if youre feeling stressed, anxious or angry. Or sometimes it might help to have another person take over for a while. If you can, ask your partner or a friend or relative to help out.
Dont Assume The Mellow Sleepy Newborn Phase Will Last Forever
We hate to break it to you, but your dozy, peaceful infant who simply falls asleep, milk-drunk, after a feeding may not always be this way. The first few weeks are not always indicative of the kind of sleeper you happened to score in the newborn sleep lottery. Some babies randomly sleep through the night early on but it doesnt mean this will continue indefinitely. Have you weathered the four-month sleep regression yet? Yeah, you might want to read up on that. And even though nursing to sleep or rocking to sleep before naps and bedtime might be working for you now, know that sometimes IT JUST STOPS WORKING. If youre one of the lucky parents with a unicorn baby , try not to gloat. It doesnt necessarily mean that youre doing it right, while that other mom with the colicky, sleepless baby hasnt figured it out. Believe us, shes trying.
You May Like: What Do I Need For My Newborn Baby Checklist
How To Put A Baby To Sleep Expert Tip 4 Encourage Self
Newborn babies spend a lot of their time crying. Crying is how your baby communicates. After your little one is a couple of months old, encourage self-soothing techniques. Some experts suggest parents refrain from running to their childs bed when they start crying during the night. If they are not hungry or are not in need a diaper change, try letting them find their thumb to suck .
How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need
The short answer: A LOT. Your newborn will spend the majority of time sleeping, and the rest of their time eating – this is especially true for the first few weeks. As a 6-week-old baby, your newborn will sleep up to 18 hours for every 24 hour period – in their first few days of being alive, they’ll sleep even more! Of course, as your baby grows they’ll need less and less sleep each day. Our newborn sleep schedules break it down for you and apps can help you track naps and nighttime sleep.
Zen Sleepwear is gently weighted to help soothe babies to sleep, so they can start learning healthy sleep habits while getting the rest they need.
Also Check: How Many Oz Newborn Eat
Stick To An Early Bedtime
When considering how to put a baby to sleep, timing is just as important as a routine. “At around 8 weeks, babies have a rise in melatonin, a drowsy-making hormone the body releases when it’s time for sleep, which means they’re ready for an early bedtime consistent with the sun setting,” says Turgeon. “If you keep them up late instead, they become overstimulated and harder to put down.” Melatonin levels rise somewhere around sundown, but given that sundown can be anytime from 4:30 in winter to 8:30 in summer, stick to the clock and put your baby down around 6:30 or 7 p.m. for the most success. If the sun is still up, close the shades.
“A good sign of drowsiness is when the baby becomes calmthey’re less active, have a bored look, or just stare off,” says Turgeon. Don’t mistake this behavior as happiness for being awake. Seize the moment and start your bedtime routine. “The baby’s internal clock is telling them when to be awake and when to be asleep, and you want to reinforce that,” she notes.
- RELATED: How to Combat Baby Sleep Regression
Let Your Baby Cry It Out
One crying-it-out type of sleep training is the well-known Ferber Method, also known as “Progressive Watching” or “Graduated Extinction.” The goal is to teach your baby how to sleep on their own and put themselves back to sleep if they wake up during the night. Richard Ferber, MD, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital Boston, developed this method. He advises parents not to start this training until their baby is at least 5 or 6 months old. Heres an overview of how its done:
- Put your baby in their crib — drowsy, but awake. Once you’ve finished their bedtime routine, leave the room.
- If your baby cries, wait a few minutes before you check on them. The amount of time you wait depends on you and your baby. You might start waiting somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes.
- When you re-enter your babys room, try to console them. But do not pick them up and do not stay for more than 2 or 3 minutes, even if they are still crying when you leave. Seeing your face will be enough to assure your baby that you are close by so they can eventually fall asleep on their own.
- If they continue crying, gradually increase the amount of time you wait before going in to check on them again. For instance, if you wait 3 minutes the first time, wait 5 minutes the second time, and 10 minutes each time after that.
- The next night, wait 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time, and 12 minutes each time after that.
Read Also: What Is A Good Going Home Outfit For Newborn
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.
Establishing Routine With A Newborn
Newborn babies will sleep on and off throughout the day and night. It can be helpful to have a pattern, but you can always change the routine to suit your needs. For example, you could try waking your baby for a feed just before you go to bed in the hope that you’ll get a long sleep before they wake up again.
Recommended Reading: How Much Oz Should A Newborn Drink
Set A Bedtime Routine
A study of 405 mothers — with infants between 7 months and 36 months old — showed that babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried out in the middle of the night less often.
Some parents start their baby’s bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby’s routine can be any combination of regular bedtime activities. The keys to success:
- Play active games during the day and quiet games in the evening. This keeps your baby from getting too excited right before bedtime but gets them tired from the day’s activities.
- Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
- Make every activity calm and peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine.
- Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down.
- Save your baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do.
- Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. If they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If you need to feed or change your baby during the night, keep the lights low and the talking to a minimum. Too much stimulation can make it hard for them to settle again.