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 to adjust sleep plan of a baby and forget about night-long cries.
What Age Can I Put My Baby on a Schedule?
You can start creating a sleeping schedule for your baby as soon as you feel it is necessary. After two to three months after birth is a perfect time for it. The child starts to sleep less, they are already accustomed to the place where they live and to their parents and it will be much more comfortable for them to follow a routine.
At the same time, you should understand that any schedule must be flexible. If you see that your baby needs more sleep or is active longer than you planned - don’t push them to stop it. It is better to update the nap schedule for babies and build it on your child’s preferences.
Why Is a Baby's Sleep Schedule Important?
The daily regimen is a system for the distribution of periods of sleep and wakefulness, meals, hygiene and health procedures, exercises, and independent baby activity throughout the day.
Compliant with rational, appropriate for the age characteristics of the child, daily routine contributes to their healthy growth and development. Accustomed to performing different types of activities at the same time, the child at each moment of time is prepared for the upcoming activity, which ensures their easier and faster implementation. Practicing the correct baby's sleep schedule ensures a good mood for the child and maintains in them a keen interest in studying the world around them, contributing to their normal motor and psycho-speech development.
How Do I Make Sure My Baby Gets the Right Amount of Sleep?
In the first months after birth, a healthy newborn baby sleeps most of the day, since all external stimuli are very strong for the child's nervous system, accustomed to a comfortable environment of the mother's body, and cause its rapid exhaustion. As the child grows older, the duration of sleep gradually decreases and the waking time increases. Here is an example of the infant sleep schedule:
|Age||Daytime sleep||Night sleep|
|From birth to 2 months||6 times for 2.5 hours||6 hours|
|2-4 months||5 times for 2-2.5 hours||6.5 hours|
|4-6 months||4-5 times for 2 hours||7 hours|
|6-9 months||3-4 times for 1.5-2 hours||8 hours|
|9-12 months||2 times for 1.5-2 hours||9-10 hours|
Tips for How to Get Baby on a Sleep Schedule
If you wonder what time babies should go to bed, you need to remember that the daily routine of the child is generally individual, however, ideally, you need to strive for the child to eat after waking up and then stay awake until the next sleep. A baby who has slept well, eats with an appetite, and then plays or exercises calmly and actively, and is tired of games, easily goes to sleep.
While the baby is awake, you need to try to keep them active and cheerful. It is necessary to dress the child in loose clothing that does not hinder movement, to provide access to toys appropriate for their age, and most importantly, to actively participate in games and activities with the baby with the whole family. In that way, choosing the first baby clothes is an important task, too.
If you stick to the created sleep plan for a baby, your child will be accustomed to it in several days. At the same time, there is no need to wake your baby if they sleep longer than it’s planned. It is normal that certain deviations appear as the child may feel tired after active play and needs more rest. The same thing is applicable to feeding and playing.
The child's stay in the fresh air is essential in the daily routine. The total duration of outdoor walks for children under 1 year of age should be at least 5-6 hours a day. Fresh air has a calming effect on the baby, improves metabolic processes, increases the body's defenses. In the summer, all games and activities should be held outdoors, in the cold, two walks for 1.5-2 hours are enough.
Fresh air also has a beneficial effect on sleep. By acting on the skin and mucous membranes of the nose and upper respiratory tract, it allows the child to fall asleep faster and to improve the quality of sleep. Sleeping outside can be a substitute for a walk, especially during the colder months of the year.
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 for nap schedules for babies 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.From the experts
“As long as your little one is safe, gaining weight appropriately, and has been properly fed, your baby is pretty well able to tolerate most things.” Cara Dumaplin, founder of Taking Cara Babies
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.From the experts
“Your worth as a mother is not defined by the length of your baby’s naps.” Rosey Davidson, founder of Just Chill Baby Sleep
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.