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.