If you are lucky, your new baby will sleep well between each feed and will very quickly be sleeping through the night. However, most babies need a little bit of guidance when it comes to a sleep schedule. The best way to stay rested is to sleep when your baby sleeps, but most new parents do not do this. They will use the time that their baby is sleeping to get other things done around the house, hoping that they can catch up on their own sleep at night. Unfortunately, some babies will be awake for longer periods at night because they have had long naps during the day. This can leave new parents feeling exhausted. How then can you get your baby’s sleep schedule to match your own?
How Soon Can You Start a Sleep Schedule?
A baby will usually begin to develop its own sleep habits at around six weeks old because this is when their own natural circadian rhythms begin to develop. In the first six weeks, babies sleep for much of the day and can usually only stay awake for an hour or two at a time. It is difficult to develop a sleep routine or schedule during this time.
At around three months old, you can start a sleep routine for your baby. If you follow it, your baby will quickly learn when it is time for bed. What you do is up to you, but whatever this is should be the same every night.
Some people like to start off with a warm bath for baby, which can help to make them feel sleepy. This should be followed by their evening feed of either breast or formula milk.
To distinguish between day and night feeds, you can do different things at night such as dimming the lights in the room where your baby sleeps, trying not to talk or if you need to, talking in a quiet voice, and putting your baby in their cot once they have been fed, changed, and burped. If you follow your sleep routine every night, it will become natural, and your baby will soon learn that sleep follows this routine.
If possible, put your baby in their cot when they are sleepy but not fully asleep. This will allow them to fall asleep by themself and will teach them to self-soothe should they wake during the night.
Why Won’t My Baby Settle at Night?
If you have been trying to establish a sleep schedule for your baby without much success, there may be a reason your child is not settling. For example, some babies just don’t like sleeping on their back because they feel more secure on their tummies. However, placing babies to sleep on their tummies increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If your baby will not settle on their back, try swaddling them. You can learn how to swaddle with a blanket or buy an organic cotton swaddle from Cozeecoo (https://www.cozeecoo.com/), which will help your baby to feel safe and secure at night. This may help them to sleep better.
Another possible reason for your baby struggling to settle at night is that they still haven’t worked out the difference between night and day. This is something that you are going to have to help with. We have discussed introducing a sleep routine above, but if you are allowing your baby to sleep too long during the day then it may be that they are just not tired at night. Continue with the same routine every night and limit naptimes during the day to see if this helps.