First of all, congratulations on becoming parents. Undoubtedly, there is nothing more exciting and touching than holding your newborn baby and watching how it sleeps peacefully. If you have found yourself reading this article, most likely, you have experienced certain difficulties with watching your baby sleeping. Though, do not give up. You are in the right place where you can get useful tips that will help you adjust your newborn sleep schedule and forget about night-long cries.
What Are the Causes of the Sleeping Problem?
It is important, first of all, to start understanding what is happening with your child and what can be the reasons for troubled night sleep. If the problem has appeared almost immediately after arriving home, you should remember that babies first weeks are quite stressful for them as well:
- Your child adapts to the new environment. For around 40 weeks, it has lived in a warm and comfortable ambiance, and this has dramatically changed recently. Everything has become different. You may have chosen the softest newborn clothes, however, they cannot be compared to the womb where your child has spent most of its life.
- The digestion system is adjusting as well. Being in the womb, your baby was receiving all the elements through the umbilical cord. After birth, the intestine is being filled with bacteria that are needed for digestion. All these processes cause inconveniences like colics that can disturb your child and wake it up during baby sleep time. Statistically, colics are not appearing at night, though, everything is possible.
- Thermoregulation is not yet working properly. Your baby can be cold or overheated. The latter happens more often as caring parents tend to put a lot of clothes on a newborn. Touch the neck to understand if one layer of clothes should be taken off.
Thus, you should understand that a newborn sleep schedule is contingent on the way it feels. There are certain behavioral patterns that you will be able to trace to find out if there is the reason for any disturbance. However, do not think that nothing can be done with a baby’s sleep schedule. There are plenty of recommendations that may help you out.
Improving the Conditions in the Nursery
Quite probably, the problem with sleeping is experienced at night when parents are so eager to have rest. While in the daytime, you take your little outside where it sleeps for three hours in a row. Right?
Undoubtedly, the soft swinging of a stroller helps your baby fall asleep. Besides, the fresh air contributes to this. You may try swinging your newborn all night long or buy a special rocking bed. The latter one, by the way, has become a savior for many families. With a swinging bed or without, the nursery should provide the environment healthy for a child to sleep.
First of all, check out the temperature and humidity. The most appropriate parameters are 64-70 °F at the humidity range of 40-70%. If the temperature is higher or humidity lower, take the measures to change these parameters. It is not prohibited to use an air conditioner in summer (just change the filters as prescribed and make sure that the air current is not directed to the bed). How long should baby sleep at night? So many parents are asking this question. How to arrange a healthy sleeping environment? That is the correct question.
Why is this so important? If the air in the room is too dry and hot, your baby will lose too much humidity on thermoregulation and digestion. As a result, the thirst can make it wake up and cry.
Babies First Weeks: The Impact of Nutrition
With the reasons defined and conditions improved, let us consider the connection between a baby’s sleep schedule and the type of nutrition. Breastfeeding or formula? In the first case, your child may require eating and drinking more often than in the second. That is why a sleep schedule will be interfered with eating at least every two hours.
In the case of formula feeding, the interval between feeding and a 1-month-old baby routine should be at least three hours. If your baby wakes up earlier, probably, it is thirsty. Here, we come back to the question of the temperature and humidity. Are you sure they are within the optimum range?
Baby Schedule of Sleeping & Where It Sleeps
This is a question that raises a lot of disputes among pediatricians, parents, and all the other related specialists. Should parents and a child co-sleep? Despite the points of view, make this decision yourself. If you accept the idea of sleeping together, this may also save the situation, especially in the case of breastfeeding. Lots of mothers nowadays are not bothered by learning a baby’s sleep in its crib. How long do babies sleep with parents? Way longer than in their beds.
How Long Do Babies Sleep in Different Age?
This is an important question the answer to which is searched for many parents. There is a chart that provides the ranges of normal sleep duration for a baby at every age. Here is the information on sleep.
Newborns & Babies of 2-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
The first three months are the period of adaptation of the child to a new environment. It is also called the fourth semester. Just like in the womb, a newborn and 6-week old baby sleeping comprises the biggest part of the day, it only wakes up for feeding. So, a newborn up to two-month-old sleep schedule foresees 16 to 19 hours of sleep per day, with about four periods of sleep in the daytime around 2-3 hours. At night, one longest period of sleep should be around 6-8 hours, a baby can wake up twice per night for feeding. Thus, let’s say, a 7-week infant should be asleep around 8-10 hours in total at night.
With newborns and kids up to eight weeks, it sometimes happens that the day and night time is confused. It means that it sleeps well all day long and stays awake at night. So, a 6-week-old sleeping all day is quite a common situation. What to do? Either wait for a schedule to adjust on its own, or wake your child up in the day time and do not let it sleep all the time. Before going to bed, arrange a bathing session so that it is tired enough to eat well and fall asleep for the next eight hours.
3 to 4-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
Your baby is growing, and the timetable changes. A 3-month-old schedule does not differ too much from two months’. What is changed? A child should sleep a bit more at night and a bit less in the day time. First of all, it learns how to turn, can concentrate on objects and turns own head. That is why a baby schedule in 3 months already includes other activities aside from sleeping, eating and changing diapers. Out of 15-16 hours of sleep per day, around 10-11 hours are for the nighttime.
How long should a 3-month-old sleep at night without eating? At least eight hours. It is important to understand that it is not only a matter of comfortable sleep for parents. This is essential for the digestion of a baby to rest during this period. If it wakes up in two or three hours, it is better not to feed it.
In the day time, the total period of sleeping should not be more than 5-6 hours. In the remaining period, keep it awake. You may include gymnastics, books, and toys in a baby routine at 3 months. It is better to entertain a child a bit in the afternoon than at midnight, isn’t it?
If you have noticed that instead of normal daytime sleeps, your 4-month-old naps for only 30 minutes every hour, do not let it fall asleep immediately after eating. Wait for a while and try to tire your child.
5 to 9-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
Within this period, your baby is actively growing and developing new skills. As a result, it is much more active in the daytime. It should sleep for two or a maximum three times per day with a total duration of up to 4 hours. At night, the timetable is more or less the same. A 6-month-old sleep schedule foresees that a baby can sleep all night without feeding or waking up only once. This is especially possible when you start introducing food. The total duration varies between 13 and 15 hours per day.
A 9-12 Months Infant Sleep Schedule
At the age of 9 months, the difference is huge in comparison to even a 5-month-old sleep schedule. Of course, you have already heard a lot of new sounds, your baby can sit, crawl, and probably stand. The world around is so interesting. That is why there is no way a bedtime will take too long. Thus, in the daytime, a 10-month sleep schedule foresees two naps of 2-3 hours in total. At night, it is expected to sleep about 10-14 hours.
If you experience troubles with 10 to 14 hours at night, be sure that you do not let your baby sleep more throughout the day. Remember: if you are trying to adjust a 12-month sleep schedule, the first days will not show the result as a little one is not yet adapted, wait for a bit longer before giving up.
The Second-Year Timetable
After celebrating the first birthday, your baby may sleep only once in the daytime, with a total of 13 hours per day. The schedule can remain unchanged till your baby turns two or even three. The most important is that there are no problems with nighttime sleep. Otherwise, a day nap should be shortened or all the lifestyle changed.
In General About an Infant Sleep Schedule
First of all, remember that all the above figures are indicative. Of course, for your little daughter or son to develop properly and grow healthily, he or she should have sufficient rest. Though, every child is different. Even if the duration of sleep at night and day is longer or shorter, but your baby is active and joyful, forget about the figures!
The problem exists if a baby is crying often, and you feel that it is tired and can't fall asleep. This is when it is necessary to take measures so that to adjust the timetable and live happily ever after.
Tips to Adjust Newborn & Infant Schedule
If you have decided not to wait until the situation gets better on its own, there is a certain guide that may help you set the happiest baby sleep schedule that will bring joy, first of all, to you. Most problems are experienced at an early age, let’s say at 2-3 months of child age. Parents are already tired enough from 10 weeks of sleepless nights and have enough courage to fight the situation. As an example, let’s try to imagine an 8-week-old schedule:
- Start with finding the info on the sleep time of a baby of a particular age. Here it is in brief:
Age № of Naps, Daytime Daytime Naps’ Total Duration Nighttime Duration Total Newborn - 2 months 4 6-7 8-10 16-19 3-4 months 3-4 5-6 10-11 15-16 5-9 months 2-3 3-4 10-11 13-15 9-12 months 2 2-3 11-12 12-14 12-24 months 1 2-3 10-12 12-13
- Next, define when you want your baby to wake up in the morning. Let us take, for instance, 8 a.m. Nighttime sleep should be around 8-10 hours. Considering 10 hours, your baby’s bedtime should start at 10 p.m. So, there is the period between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. within which your baby can sleep four or, probably, three times, up to seven hours in total. Approximately, the sleeping periods can be: 10 a.m. — midday, 2 p.m. — 4 p.m., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m. Of course, the above is a perfect situation. Refer to it and set own timetable.
- Make notes on how your schedule looks like, compare, and find the gaps. For example, probably, your baby sleeps too much in the evening. This may cause disturbances at night. Or the bedtime starts at 8 p.m., that is why your child wakes you up before the dawn.
- The most complicated step is to follow the timetable you have created. It may take up to a month to adjust the sleeping schedule of your baby to the timetable you have created. Besides, adapt it to the specifics of your child. It may need less sleep or, on the contrary, more. You are the parent and you know your baby much better.
- Most important: do not be afraid to wake your baby up if it sleeps too long in the daytime. Probably, it will not be in the best mood this time, however, when it adapts to the schedule, you will get a happy well-rested child. No need to say how good parents feel if their baby sleeps all night long. Sounds like a dream? No, that is possible if you are persistent enough to follow the above steps.
- It is fine if your newborn or 2-months old baby cries. During this time, the lungs are purified. So, if you wake your baby up and it cries for 10 minutes, no problem.
- Do not start adjusting a 2-months or 1-year-old sleep schedule, if you are not completely sure that you will manage to finalize this. The period of adjustment can be stressful both for you and your baby. If you give up halfway, all the previous inconveniences have been for nothing. If you are a parent who cannot withstand your child crying, it is better not to start this process. Either go till the end or do not even start.
- Make sure that your partner is in line with your strategy. You may need support. If another parent is not ready, do not start. This may lead to fights, which is even worse.
- You are parents and you know better. Do not listen to a sister, friend or anyone else.
- Adjustment of schedule is possible only if your child is completely healthy. If there are any doubts, first, find out if everything is ok. It is even better to wait for an appointment with a pediatrician.
A Well-Sleeping Baby = Happy Parents
It is best of all if you start adjusting the schedule of your child right after getting home from the hospital. It will take less time, first of all. In a couple of weeks, you will enjoy the parenthood and have sufficient time to rest and do all the chores. Besides, when all the family sleeps well, everyone is happy. When your baby starts saying the first sounds and learns how to maneuver with its body, you will have time and wish to entertain it and enjoy a baby routine at 3 months or any other age.
Some children adjust to changes easily, while others dislike them. Although, this is not a way out to be led by the nose by your baby sacrificing own health, nerves, and comfort. Parenthood should bring joy even if this may require certain efforts. We wish you long night-time sleeps.