MPH Blog

Baby Sleep Schedules

Establishing a basic schedule for your infant is a huge step in making life a little easier for parents, especially with the demands of daily routines and often other children as well. However, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to approach a seemingly complicated task. Fortunately, the end result is extremely rewarding for both you and the baby. Not only will you have a simplified schedule, but your baby will know what to expect and when to expect it. Having a routine sleep schedule can help contribute to a happy baby.

Several Approaches to Baby Schedules

There is no set standard on when a baby’s sleep schedule should begin. While most infant’s sleeping and feeding routines become more consistent within three to four months, parents can encourage routines before this and track the baby’s sleeping patterns to uncover a natural routine.

Several approaches to creating a baby sleep schedule are possible:

  • Parent-Led Schedule: In a parent-led schedule, the parent determines exactly when the baby will sleep, and for how long the baby will sleep. This schedule thrives on down-to-the-minute consistency.
  • Baby-Led Schedule: In a baby-led schedule, the parents look to the infant for cues on when the baby is tired and needs rest. This schedule is loosely defined and will vary from day to day.
  • Combination Schedule: A combination schedule begins with a loosely structured parent schedule that adapts and flexes with the infant’s cues. This schedule compromises structure and flexibility.

At the end of the day, many experts agree that the parents should follow their instincts about the needs of the baby, rather than sticking solely to a schedule. If your baby needs sleep, don’t withhold it.

Baby Sleeping Patterns & Establishing Good Habits

Although newborns sleep nearly 16 to 17 hours per day, this sleep is broken up into shorter periods. While this is initially exhausting to new parents, the phase doesn’t last forever. Around three to six months, babies may begin sleeping from 8-12 hours through the night. Establishing a good sleep habit can help the infant begin to sleep more at night, rather than napping throughout the day.

Take a look at some tips to help your baby establish a good sleep schedule:

  • For the first 6-8 weeks, let your baby nap as frequently as needed.
  • Try to teach your baby to distinguish day and night by increased activity and noise during the day and quiet rest at night.
  • Try to establish a bedtime routine, such as getting changed for bed, singing a lullaby, and so on.
  • Try putting your baby in bed when he or she is sleepy, but still awake, and letting the baby fall asleep on his/her own.

It is helpful to try to strike a balance between consistency and flexibility when establishing a sleep schedule for your baby. Don’t exhaust your baby by keeping the baby awake when he or she is clearly in need of sleep. However, take the opportunities that you can to establish a familiar, comfortable sleep schedule that sets your baby up for success in sleeping through the night as they get older. Simple, small changes can go a long way in establishing a routine that your child will begin to naturally follow.

Parents often adapt their approach and schedule as is needed for the health of the baby. However, these basic approaches and tips can be instrumental in establishing a sleep schedule that benefits both the infants and the parents in the long run. To learn more about your baby and about beginning to establish sleep schedules, speak with the medical professionals at Monterey Park Hospital.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.