As mentioned before, Michele is my go-to baby guru. Before heading back to work, Aubrey really didn’t have much of a schedule or routine. Some days she’d be ok, and others she would change into a little hellion. I realized after tracking her daily naps – she was just too damn tired to function. This is when I asked Michele for help. She’s read a lot about sleep and while not everyone might agree with having a schedule, I see her kids and how content they are, and by golly I’m gonna try it with Aubrey. (And guess what, so far it’s really been helpful! But more on that later…)
And now, take it away Michele!
What’s the first thing you hear when you’re about you have a new baby? It usually has something to do with sleep! Most people are not used to the fragmented sleep they are about to get when a new baby comes home. Being proactive about a sleep schedule or having a game plan can help greatly. I am what some of my friends would call “the crazy sleep lady”. I read a ton about infant sleep and schedules and took ideas that I knew would work for me.
Now I have friends coming to me often asking for sleep tips and strategies. I can talk baby sleep all day!!
So, now you’re home with your newborn…..what kind of sleep training can you do with a newborn? NONE! But you can begin your research and start figuring out how to create a sleep environment and schedule for your baby. I call the first two to three months “survival mode..” Get that baby to sleep however you can. Swing, swaddling, sleeping on mommy or daddy, whichever way possible. Don’t worry about “spoiling” or creating bad habits…yet.
Over time, You might notice patterns emerging as your baby naturally starts to put themselves on a schedule. Follow those cues because they will help guide you as well.
Around 2-3 months your baby should begin to develop more of a consistent nap schedule (however, don’t expect any REAL consistency until 6 months). By this point 3 naps are appropriate; an early morning nap, mid-day nap, and then a late afternoon nap.
The early morning nap should commence no longer than 1 1/2 hours from when they woke up. Feed them, play with them, and get them to bed. The mid-day nap should occur around 1.5-2.5 hours after they wake. You’ll slowly stretch out their wake time. The last nap will be a short sleep, not to interfere with bedtime. Bedtime should be between 6:30 and 8pm.
Baby wakes at 6:30am for the day. (Feed/play and put down for a nap around 8am.)
Baby wakes around 9:30/10am. (Feed/play and put down for nap around 12/12:30.)
Baby wakes around 1/1:30. (Feed/play and put down for nap around 3/3:30)
Baby wakes around 4/4:30. This should be a short nap.
If a baby becomes overtired, it becomes much harder to put them down, and to keep them asleep. That is why a schedule is so important. It also gives them a sense of security, and allows mommy and daddy alone time to get things done.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Some babies will cooperate and no sleep intervention will be needed, but there are other babies that will fight, but with the right tools you can succeed!! Research what you can and since every baby is different, be open to trying different methods to see what works best.
If you have a scenario that you need help with, leave a comment with your question. I’ll make sure you hear back from us!