This is a topic that brings with it many opinions and ideas. We are all passionate about getting our babies the sleep they need. I happen to believe that happens when we make a schedule to help protect the time that should be devoted to a baby or child’s sleep. I also fully agree with the idea of helping your baby have healthy sleep habits which can eliminate the need to do sleep training. I have come to believe this because I did sleep training with my first two daughters and did not do it with my baby boy. Rather, I started focusing on his sleep schedule at four weeks and he instantly began to sleep through the night and have organized day time naps. With that said, it is never too late. I did sleep training with my first at eight weeks, my second at twelve weeks, and have seen countless others do it at other ages. The most important thing is to get your child the sleep they need, regardless of how old they are when you start the process.
As I’ve mentioned before, babies have different hourly sleep needs depending on their age. To help them get all those hours, you can use these sleep schedules to help guide you to what works for your child and your family. Get ready for some helpful, Pinterest friendly, informative schedule graphics!
- Getting baby to stay awake in the early weeks can still be hard. Try to stimulate him during awake times and even take off clothing to keep awake during feedings.
- The sooner you try to get day time sleep regulated, the sooner you will see long stretches of night time sleep. So, start by getting day time naps happening at these times and for these lengths and you will naturally see positive night time sleep habits.
- I always fed on demand during the night and never woke my babies in order to feed them. So, I fed them and put them back to sleep throughout the night and then did my best to get them up at the 7am start time for the day.
- No matter what happened, including if we both overslept due to tiredness, I planned my day with bedtime in mind. It was always my goal to get my babies to bed at 6pm. So, if we started our day 30-60 minutes late or a nap didn’t go as planned, I made my adjustments throughout the day to ensure bedtime happened when it was supposed to.
- I did not wake my babies for the 10pm (or so) ‘dream feed.’ I found that it did not help with my schedule in a positive way so wasn’t worth doing. That is just my personal preference.
- Sometimes getting baby to stay awake for two hours at a time can be challenging. Do your best to be creative and keep them awake. However, if they need more sleep, give it to them as long as it doesn’t stop them from sleeping during the night time. My babies always wanted a bit more sleep than the average suggestions.
- Keep in mind that according to Dr. Marc Weissbluth, ‘sleep begets sleep.’ The more sleep a baby gets, the more they will want. So, for the most part, don’t be afraid that if you give your baby all the day time sleep noted here that they won’t want to sleep at night. It is quite the opposite. As they get the needed day time sleep, they will naturally sleep more during the night. How awesome is that?!
- If baby is not sleeping for as long as you’d like during the afternoon nap, check out my post about lengthening nap times.
- The late afternoon/early evening nap is the first to disappear. It happens anywhere around 9 months. But, you just have to watch your baby to see when they are done with it. They will start to stay awake for a long time in their crib when you put them down at bed time, be visibly energetic before bed, and will not show any drowsy signs. My baby boy dropped this nap at 6 months. I allowed him to sleep a bit later for his afternoon nap because I felt he was a little young to drop that third nap, but he didn’t need it either. At 10 months, I still allow him to sleep until 3:30pm and we still make a 6 or 6:30pm bed time.
- As the morning nap is no longer needed, around 18 months, you will see the same signs mentioned above with the third nap. You can shorten the nap or your baby will do it for you until it is no longer needed.
- And around age 2, only one nap will be needed! While you may miss morning nap time, this also gives you a lot of freedom to leave the house and spend extra time with baby!
- All children will be ready to drop their nap at different ages. By this time you will know your child’s needs and be able to make the necessary adjustments.