New parents now belong to an exclusive club where sleep is elusive and milk is on the menu. And while a newborn sleep schedule may be unpredictable, there is some relatively responsible science that can give parents a better understanding of what to expect. If you want to make sure you’re adhering to an appropriate sleep schedule for newborns, here are some things to keep in min.
A Week By Week Infant Sleeping Schedule
A brand new baby is kind of a sleep machine. The primary goal for new parents in the first week is to make sure babies stay awake long enough to feed regularly. In fact, experts will suggest if you can keep your baby awake long enough for a full feed, their developing baby sleep schedule will more regular.
At two weeks, if you’ve been concentrating on making sure they’re fed every two to three hours, your baby might start to confuse night with day. And while you’re already exhausted by your new role as a parent, this can compound the situation for both of you. The second week is the right time to work on keeping a more normal day to night schedule. Make sure your baby is exposed to sunlight during the day. After about 8 p.m., try to keep the lights dim while you’re doing any activities with the baby. Feed them about every 3 hours during the day, even if they’re asleep and they sleep again right after the feeding. What you don’t want is to encourage them to wake up often overnight. And make sure you’re not over stimulating them at night with play or other activities.
Once you’re into the third week, your role as a parent is to create a sleep schedule for newborns that encourage them to fall asleep on their own. Instead of waiting until they’re sound asleep to put them in their crib, learn to notice the signs of drowsiness. They yawn and rub their eyes. Now put them to bed so they can put themselves to sleep. Create positive sleep associations such as a pacifier, signing, or rocking. Put them to bed once they are fed, changed, and sleepy but not overtired and you may have mastered this baby sleep schedule thing.
By the time your baby is a month old, you both should have a pretty good understanding of the sleep schedule over the next few weeks, make sure you create good habits such as an appropriate time to wake up. Also start to build a good routine for their daytime. Keep them awake longer during the day so they will sleep more at night.
After that, there will be continued changes that may impact the way your baby sleeps, but keeping up with good sleep habits will be essential for the first three months.
How do Naps Figure In for your Baby’s Sleep Schedule?
When your baby is super tiny, you need to allow for an extended napping period. Their brain is developing, so they will want to nap frequently throughout the day. This is fine as long as your baby’s sleep schedule begins to build some normalcy that will help both of you develop good habits.
For about the first two months, they won’t be able to stay awake more than about two hours at a time. Allow them the chance to nap, but work to increase their time awake so they sleep longer at night.
The Correlation Between Newborn’s Sleep Schedule and Feeding Times
Sleep schedules for newborns rely almost entirely on the time frame when they need to eat. A baby tummy is tiny, so it doesn’t take much time to fill it up. And all that work processing the food, turning it in to fuel, and building the body and brain are a lot of hard work, so sleeping and eating are intrinsically connected for babies.
Experts recommend that nursing mothers nurse on demand for the first few weeks. Then, to maintain the baby’s health and supply, every two to three hours after that. Over time, you slowly decrease the feedings at night to help establish a sleep schedule for newborns.
Create a Bedtime Routine for Your Sake and Your Newborn Sleep Schedule
Bedtime routines are perfect to help develop the right infant sleep schedule, which will help you have a more healthy parenting sleep schedule. Once you and your baby are ready to start establishing a good schedule for day and night, start with a routine by 8 p.m. or later.
- Dim the lights.
- Feed your baby.
- Cuddle and hug your baby.
- Change their diaper and swaddle.
- Sooth the baby.
- Put baby to bed.
By starting from birth, you can create an appropriate sleep schedule for newborns that will help you and your baby stay healthy and happy.