How to set baby sleeping schedule?

Did you know that babies grow the most while they are asleep? Their brains and bodies develop a lot while sleeping and that is why proper sleep is very important to keep babies healthy. From when your baby is a newborn to the time he/she is 12 months old, their sleep schedules grow and evolve to something that suits them. As babies are dependent on their parents, you are the one responsible for creating and sticking to that baby sleep schedule.

Newborn babies usually sleep around 14-17 hours a day with 2-3 hours of wakefulness in between. For the first year after birth, babies more or less continue this pattern of sleeping for long hours. Mothers are usually thankful for these sleep hours as they also get to rest at this time. But many of them struggle to understand and device the sleep routine that works best for everyone. To better understand about baby sleep schedules at different points in the first year, we have divided the topic into sections listed below:

Baby sleep schedule

0-2 months

  • In the newborn sleep schedule, your little one is likely to sleep for 14-18 hours a day. But this does not mean that it is uninterrupted sleep. In fact, you have to breastfeed your baby every two hours at this time. Whether your baby wakes up on their own or you have to wake them up, the break in between sleep is inevitable. 
  • The cycle of sleep in the daytime will usually consist of up to 2 hours of sleep and 1.5 hours of being awake, the routine continues on repeat. 
  • The nighttime routine starts at around 10 pm, your baby sleeping for up to 4 hours at a stretch and then wake up for feeding. Although this will affect your own sleep at night, you can compensate the required rest in the daytime when your baby is asleep.
Baby sleep schedule followed by a 2 month old

2-4 months

  • At this stage of newborn sleep schedule, your baby will sleep a total of 13-14 hours a day. While in the previous stage, babies were prone to wake at around 8 am, in this stage, he/ she is likely to wake up at 6 am. As your baby grows older with each month, their total sleeping time will also gradually reduce.
  • The infant sleep schedule now accommodates 3-4 naps in a day with a total of around 8 hours of sleep during that time. 
  • The nighttime routine also shifts as per the morning routines, starting at 9 pm rather than 10 pm like in previous months. Your nights will also become more restful as you won’t need to feed the baby more than 2 times at night. Your baby might sleep as long as 5- 8 hours at a stretch.
  • An important point to note here for your infant sleep schedule is to stop swaddling and allow more movement for the child. Baby development is rapid and they need to roll over or move their limbs a lot more.
Mother putting her baby to sleep

4-8 months

  • The infant sleep schedule at this stage has your baby sleeping for around 12-14 hours a day. His/ her sleep routine is still evolving, causing your own sleep to still be incomplete. Have patience, this won’t last forever. After 6 months, you don’t need to breastfeed exclusively and you can start using the bottle too. This will help you both have rest without hindering their own growth.
  • The daytime routine will start anytime between 6 am to 8 am, it depends from baby to baby. What does not change, however, is their previous nap time and schedule. In fact, it is advised that you don’t change their daytime nap routine to give them stability and easy rest.
  • Similar to the subjectivity of daytime routine, your infant sleep schedule will start at 8-9 pm depending upon how your baby is feeling. The good news for you is that your little one will have a full night’s sleep! 6-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep can do wonders for you as well.
  • An additional thing to note here is that it is also the usual time for teething to start for your baby. It can be painful or cause irritation, leading to inability to sleep properly for your child. Chewy pacifiers, white noise, lullabies and other distractions can help the baby sleep better despite the pain.
Mother and baby enjoying the nap time

8-12 months

  • By the time your baby sleep schedule reaches 8 months, he/ she still sleeps 12-14 hours a day. There is still time in reaching the infant sleep schedule, take advantage of this time when your little one is not that active nor has the ability to run around. 
  • The daytime routine will still consist of 2-3 naps and longer periods of activity. It is a good time to play and engage with your baby.
  • The nighttime infant sleep schedule is starting to look similar to that of a normal adult, with sleeping time ranging from anything between 7-10 hours. 
  • The thing to keep an eye on in this stage is the need for motor activity and restless your infant now feels. If you don’t play enough with them, they may feel agitated enough to wake up from sleep or unable to sleep due to access energy.
A toddler falling asleep easily
Source by Pinterest

12 months and after

  • Now that your baby has reached 1 year, the toddler sleep schedule will be firmer and less prone to any changes. Although your little one will still sleep for 12 hours or more, this time will allow you to rest as well. 
  • The daytime will have regular naps and will be able to enjoy a very easy sleep routine. Similarly, you don’t have to worry about their nighttime routine either, with 7-10 hours of deep sleep.
  • Just make sure that the toddler sleep schedule is consistent, even with things like baths and bedtime stories. Communicating and bonding with your toddler is essential and needs a regular effort. Be sure to make time for these days.

If you thought that childbirth will let you cover up on the lack of sleep in pregnancy, you will have to wait a little more. Your little one is still getting used to the world outside of your womb and developing of an infant sleep schedule will take some time. Even though you will be exhausted, you will find this experience to be worthwhile. When you try to put your child to sleep, know that it is a precious time that won’t come back. It is for you to live in and cherish!

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