A baby’s sleep schedule can be very unpredictable, especially within their first few months. Once your baby is old enough, enforcing regular sleeping habits is an important milestone.
By accomplishing this earlier rather than later, you’ll encourage a healthy sleeping schedule for your little one that will hopefully carry into toddlerhood.
If you can resonate with the complexity of enforcing your little one’s bedtime, here are five helpful tips to get your baby’s sleep on track.
1. Wait for the appropriate age
Newborn babies can’t be conditioned into a sleep schedule right away, so waiting for the right time is crucial. According to What to Expect, your baby’s circadian rhythm (or internal clock) will begin to regulate at approximately two months old. At three to six months, their daily activities will also become a part of a more defined routine.
Before initiating sleep training, you should wait until your baby is at least four to six months old. Every infant is different, so speaking to your doctor can ultimately provide you with the best timeline for your child.
2. Utilize your resources
Once your child approaches two months, their sleeping behaviour will likely mirror that of other babies their age. Resources like this What to Expect chart provide a general guideline of what your baby’s sleep schedule will look like. Although these numbers won’t apply to all babies, this resource gives you an idea of what type of progression to prepare for.
If you’re a new parent, another option is to reach out to a family member, friend, or support group if you require advice. They just may be able to provide you with some invaluable knowledge!
3. Learn sleep patterns and cues
To familiarize yourself with your baby’s sleep patterns, you can keep track of which hours they’re asleep and awake, including naps throughout the day. This will help you become more accustomed to your baby’s sleep schedule as they grow. You’ll also be able to compare their sleep behaviour to a general sleep guide for babies.
Additionally, you can watch out for sleep cues from your infant, which What to Expect suggests can look like “eye rubbing, yawning or crankiness.” Once you begin to recognize these signals, you’ll ideally be able to recognize when to put your little one down for a snooze.
4. Enforce a daily routine
As a newborn, your little one won’t be able to differentiate between daytime hours from nighttime ones. Their sleeping behaviour will be relatively unpredictable for the first few weeks after birth. Once your baby grows past this, enforcing a familiar day-to-day routine, as well as a nighttime routine, can help your baby understand different cues. Simple activities, like having bathtime, playing white noise, or closing your window’s blinds, can indicate to your little one that it’s bedtime.
5. Communicate with your physician
Like many aspects of parenthood, you should be prepared to deal with changes. Your little one’s sleep schedule may change for whatever reason, so it’s important to remain flexible. When in doubt, you can always speak with your pediatrician or physician. They can help address any concerns regarding your baby’s sleep or refer you to someone who can help out.
Written by: Alicia Chow
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