A mother naps with her baby in order to determine a consistent sleep schedule.

Why You Need a Sleep Schedule for Your Baby

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When you become a new parent, it can seem as though your newborn is the one calling the shots for the first few months especially when it comes to his sleep schedule. Ask any sleep-deprived parent and they will tell you that in any given 24 hours, the days and nights can feel almost interchangeable. It might appear as though your baby is the one running the show for the first weeks and you are just along for the ride to satisfy his needs at random hours of the day and night. As new parents, this can become frustrating and disconcerting. After a few sleepless nights you may find yourself wondering if you will ever have a solid 8 hours of sleep again. I promise you will! By establishing a sleep schedule for your little one you won’t have to wait until your child is 18 to catch some shuteye.

Pediatricians suggest that the best time to start developing a sleep schedule is when your baby is just a few days old. As young as your baby is, he still has the ability to learn and follow a regular schedule. While respecting your newborn’s rhythms, you actually have the ability to gently help him establish regular sleep patterns. If you have an extended stay in the hospital after delivery, ask to keep the baby in the room with you to ease into the new sleep schedule. Some babies can become over stimulated in the hospital nursery which can disrupt any type of natural sleep cycle and thwart your immediate efforts.

The truth is, your baby did have a sleeping pattern in the uterus. Before he was born he had a routine that followed fairly closely to your own. He ate when you ate and slept when you slept. However, labor, delivery and adjusting to life outside the womb can take a lot of getting used to for a newborn.

Immediately after birth, babies are alert for about an hour then they settle into a state of grogginess for 12 to 24 hours with hunger waking them about every hour. By day five with your newborn baby, you should be able to see a pattern of his typical behavior. Just as you want him to develop a sleep schedule, he wants one too! Things are certainly easier and calmer for a little baby when they are predictable.

From birth to 3 months, babies are driven by internal factors such as hunger and fatigue. By keeping a rhythm of feeding and napping, you can create an initial schedule for the baby. Then, as the baby matures and become more influenced by environmental factors such as noises, older siblings and other disruptions, he will already have developed a temperament for a schedule. Babies with erratic and unsettled sleep patterns tend to have bad temperaments as they become toddlers. Not only is establishing strong sleep patterns important to your baby’s health but it is important to establishing his behavior as well.

Getting into a regular schedule for sleep early on can make life much easier for everyone. By keeping a regular bedtime routine, a daytime routine will also fall into place. Whether your child is a baby, toddler, or in grade school, establishing a routine they can depend on night after night will encourage healthy physical and emotional development.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

“Mommies with a two year old, what is their sleep schedule (like when they go to bed and wake up)? Do they still take a nap? I’m just curious about it. Thanks in advance!”

If your newborn is sleeping do any of you ladies wake your baby up to breastfeed? My baby is 4 days old and he sleeps a lot. I don’t want to wake him, but I want to get him on a feeding schedule and sleep schedule.

For anyone with a four month old, what’s their typical sleep schedule?

Can any moms of 1 year olds share their lo’s sleep schedule? Thanks 🙂

Help!!! My now 15 month old son gets out of his crib!!! He was up before 5 running around wildly. Just like randomly doing things here and there. I think he’s not getting enough sleep maybe? He naps twice during the day and sleeps mostly thru the night. Has a very consistent sleep schedule too. It’s crazy when he finally crashes, he sleeps for like 4 hours! I’m stressing bc something seemed to have change the last week or so and I feel like I’m losing my mind with barely any sleep. Any ideas?

Do any of you moms have a sleep schedule or have sleep trained your kids? My 9 month old is not sleeping thru the night and is dependent on a bottle to sleep so she wakes up at least twice in the night. I have researched some things but not all of them say if they let them cry to sleep. I just don’t know. Help!

My baby is almost 9 months old and overtired. Don’t ask me how we got here. But I’m trying to make a sleep schedule for her. Problem is whenever I try to put her to nap she resists it. We are trying to soothe her by changing her diaper, breast feed and rock her to soothe. She did fine for two days but since yesterday she’s resisting it. She’ll sleep until we do all this but wake up the minute we put her down. She wants me right next to her all the time. Any suggestions!?

At what age did you get your LO on a sleep schedule? My newborns been going to bed for the night between 10-11 usually, some nights earlier, but at what age do you usually establish a bedtime routine and earlier bedtime?

Any moms have their babies on a sleep schedule??There are days like today when my son just won’t go to bed!!!

“I really wish family would understand our son’s sleeping schedule. They think “oh if he misses a nap, he’ll sleep better at night”. How about no, he is just more cranky and he’ll be asleep earlier also be awake earlier. I wish they would respect me as the mom knowing my son’s sleep schedule and knowing he’s tired over being told otherwise.”

 

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