The day my oldest son was born, my days of sleeping in until noon ended forever. But it wasn’t just my own sleep that became an issue once I had children. I had to learn about the baby sleep schedule of my boys as well.
And understanding the sleep needs of a newborn is no easy thing! All babies sleep differently, so learning what works best can be difficult! These were the three tips that helped me ensure my boys were sleeping properly.
Set a Regular Bedtime
I knew that babies under a year old needed lots of food and lots of sleep, so when I had my first son, I followed his cues as to when he wanted to eat and sleep. But as he reached about six months old, I found that I was staying up with him later and later. In fact, he’d often be up until one in the morning, sleep just a few hours and then be up again at five in the morning. Needless to say, I was a zombie.
Finally somebody convinced me of the importance of a regular bedtime even for babies. The first two days were hard, but after a week I couldn’t believe the difference. I only wish I’d set a baby sleep schedule from the very beginning!
Separate Day and Night
Babies need to sleep during the day, but there should still be clear differences between day and night to help little ones develop proper sleep patterns. In the daytime, ensure the room is dim without being completely dark and let baby be exposed to the normal background noises of the daytime household. At night, keep the room completely dark and quiet.
This has two benefits. It helps a baby sleep through the night sooner since night becomes a recognizable occurrence, and it ensures a baby won’t be startled by minor noises during the day. I was overly cautious about keeping the house quiet when my boys were sleeping and it backfired on me when they woke up at the slightest disturbance!
Let Baby Eat in the Evening
When my son first started eating solids, I initially gave him a meal of rice cereal first thing in the morning. But when I added a solid meal in the evening, I noticed an immediate improvement in the length of time he slept each night. Instead of waking up twice in the night to nurse, he only woke up once. He also slept later the next morning.
Something about having a meal of solid food in the evening was hugely beneficial for both my boys’ sleep habits, so if your little one is just starting solids, consider introducing an evening meal instead of a morning one and see if you notice any differences.
Even at four and seven years old, I have sleep challenges with my boys, and while trial and error help a lot, I find that I make the most progress when I get tips and advice from other mothers.
So if you’re struggling with a baby sleep schedule for your child, head over to the Playtex Mommyville Facebook page and get some advice from other mothers that have gone through similar problems. You may just find the solution you’ve been searching for. And even if you don’t, sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is the best help of all!