There is no predicting when a newborn will sleep. As babies get older, they can start to develop a routine. After being sleep deprived for so many weeks it can start to feel like a fever dream having the baby on a sleep schedule. It’s important that you don’t rush and start the process too early.
It is suggested that you start to get your baby on a sleep schedule between four and six months. This is when they start to develop a natural sleep rhythm and sleep for longer periods at night.
Steps to Get Your Baby On A Sleep Schedule
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to put the baby on a sleep schedule, you must make up your mind to be consistent. You also need to make their sleep space comfortable. Make sure you know what to look for in a crib mattress and cribs that are made with the baby’s safety in mind. You want to be able to relax when they are napping knowing that they will be asleep for a good stretch of time.
Outside of the place where you will have the baby take their nap, there are some other steps that will make sleep training a lot easier for you.
1. Set The Environment
It is important that you set the tone of the room for sleep. Get a white noise machine. Make sure that the room is cool and dark enough. You can also use scents that are safe for babies that aid in sleep. You want to develop a correlation in your baby’s mind. Babies will know that this area is for sleeping and will help to push them towards the desire to take a nap.
2. Encourage The Morning Nap
You may be unsure about this, but the morning nap that happens shortly after your baby wakes up in the morning is one of the best tools to ease your baby into a smoother sleep schedule. This nap is usually short, but it does help your baby to be calmer and get them ready for a midday nap. Allowing them to get the short bit of sleep in encourages a longer sleeping time in their afternoon/midday naps. You’ll find that eventually, they will be going down for three naps a day. Usually around an hour to an hour and a half.
3. Allow For Short Naps
Allow them to take short naps. You may feel discouraged and want to give up, but don’t. It will take them some time to get adjusted to the sleep schedule. You also want the schedule to work itself naturally. That will be the best for finding the right time balance in your lifestyle. Rather than keeping them up so that they’ll sleep longer, just allow them to sleep when it’s needed. Again your baby will be in a better place and you’ll also get on a more structured schedule sooner rather than later.
4. Figure Out The Timing
This part may take a few weeks. Figuring out the timing is all dependent on where your baby is in the sleep growth patterns. As they cross different milestones, things will begin to change. Your baby will go from sleep whenever the notion hits them to sleep solid 5 or 6 hour chunks per night. This is the part that takes the most patience. Once you have the timing figured out, you can begin to have more flexibility in your day.
5. Allow Them To Get Into The Schedule
Again, you need to have patience and allow the baby to naturally get into the schedule. Don’t force or rush the process. It’s likely you’ll trigger sleep regression or make them resistant to taking naps. Encourage them to go to sleep around the time they should but let them drift into sleep on their own. If they only slept for 30 minutes before getting frustrated, wait to see if they will fall asleep again on their own. All of this is a part of the adjustment period.
Sleep training is one thing moms can do to add more structure to their days and make parenting easier. Babies need to rest just as much as mamas do. When they are overtired, they can become irritable and overstimulated. Allowing your baby to get sufficient rest will make them much happier and calmer throughout the day. Your baby will eventually hit its sleep milestones. Continue to work with them and at their own pace. Soon enough your baby will be going down for naps on their own. Keep a regular routine and you’ll see positive results.