There is an assumption that babies sleep all the time, and although they certainly need a lot more sleep than adults do, there are some babies who simply don’t sleep for as long as you would like or for as long as they need to sleep. Finding a way to set a baby sleep schedule is essential to the health and growth of your baby as well as the sanity of the entire household.
In many ways, babies are not unlike adults in that they have certain requirements in order to sleep. They need a dark room that is cool. They need a warm blanket. They need a comfortable bed. But most of all, they need to be put on baby sleep schedule so that their “internal clock” can begin telling them when it is time to start winding down. Parents who complain the most about their babies not sleeping are usually the same parents who have extremely disordered sleep schedules of their own.
The first thing to keep in mind when you are setting up your own baby sleep schedule is that your baby is unlike any other baby. Every baby has his or her own needs and trying to fit your baby into another baby’s schedule just won’t work. Also, trying to get your baby to match your own sleep schedule, simply for your own convenience won’t work either!
When your baby is young, you can certainly expect them to sleep for well over half of the day. They are doing a lot of growing during this period and their bodies need that time to process food, create new cells, and become a healthier, larger baby. But, after six to eight weeks, you will find that your baby needs less and less sleep every night. This is when they will really begin to disturb your own sleep schedule, but that is just part of having a baby.
As your child grows older and the baby sleep schedule changes, they will start to take short naps, until the time they are four or five years old. Hopefully by that time, they will be able to get enough solid sleep at night that they will not be tired during the day and will be able to go full-blast all day long until it is time to go to bed at night.
There are several important tips that can help to create positive and lasting sleep behaviors in babies and one of them is letting them sleep on their own. No matter how loving you may think it is for them to be in your bed, it sets them up for a lifetime of disordered sleeping. Also, try to keep their room cool, dark, and free from disturbances – just how you like to sleep. By creating a positive sleeping environment for them when they are young, and training their bodies to sleep at the right time, they will have a better chance of sleeping better as older children and then as adults.