Tired babies are cranky babies. As parents, it’s our jobs to make sure our babies get enough sleep – enter baby sleep chart.
How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?
Baby sleep varies depending on your baby’s age.
Generally, newborn babies sleep about 8 – 9 hours during the day and about 8 hours at night. That may seem like long stretches but newborn babies may not sleep more than 1 to 2 hours at a time.
As your baby grows, the total amount of daily sleep slowly decreases.
There is a very gradual shift – the younger your baby, the longer the total sleep per day and the longer daytime naps will be. The older your baby gets, the shorter the daytime naps and the longer the nighttime sleep.
All new parents ask when do babies sleep through the night, but unfortunately, this does come later as your baby gets older. According to Stanford Children’s Health, the earliest babies may sleep through the night (6-8 hours), is from 3 months of age. Having said that, most babies DO NOT sleep through the night at this age.
Your baby’s weight also plays a role in how long he/she sleeps. Your baby may not sleep through the night until he/she reaches 12-13 lbs.
However, do not be encouraged too quickly. Only about two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through the night on a regular basis by 6 months of age.
Signs That Your Baby Is Ready To Sleep
Look for the following signs to know that your baby is feeling tired. Your goal will be to put your baby down just before, or at the time they start showing these signs, according to Happiest Baby.
- Staring, blinking and rubbing the eyes;
- Reduced activity, smiling, and talking.
Over time, it will get easier to recognize the signs that your baby needs to rest.
Putting your baby down before she/he gets overtired and cranky will make life easier for you. Also, it will set your baby up to get the best sleep possible!
How To Help Your Baby Fall Asleep
Surprise! Most babies don’t know how to put themselves to sleep. (That is not sarcasm.)
Most babies may not be able to create their own sleeping and waking patterns, and not all babies can go back to sleep if they are awakened in the night.
It is a good idea to create a bedtime routine. With a bedtime routine, your goal is to create positive sleep associations from an early age.
As you get into the habit of doing the same things at bedtime, your baby will naturally associate these actions with sleep.
The following recommendations are optional in terms of a bedtime routine for your baby. It’s basically just to set the stage for your sleepy baby.
- remove any stimulation or activity. For example, turn off the tv, take away active toys, etc;
- play soft/ relaxing music while your baby is getting sleepy;
- turn down the lights;
- offer a transitional toy or blankie to older babies. To prevent the risk of suffocation, transitional toys are recommended only for babies who can sit and rollover.
How To Develop A Bedtime Routine
You certainly do not need to follow all these bedtime routine recommendations. However, by picking 1-3, and doing it consistently, your baby naturally associates these activities with sleep.
- Bathing before bed;
- Use a white noise sound machine,
- Sing a lullaby to your baby.
- Nursing/ Rocking*
*While nursing or rocking your baby to sleep is sweet and wonderful, you could create a pattern that your baby will expect every time he/she goes to sleep. If you are comfortable doing this, do it. (Don’t allow yourself to be judged by others. It is your baby and you decide what is best for both of you.)
Note From The Author
I am a mother of 5, so I know my fair share of raising babies and trying to stay sane while you’re doing it. But I didn’t always.
I giggle about it now but with our first child, I thought that babies would just fall asleep when they were tired. This, despite all the many parenting books I read.
My first baby was always cranky. Thanks to a next-door neighbor, I finally got it! By the time our other babies were born, I had happy babies because they got enough rest. I put them to sleep because you tend to learn the signals. Believe me, despite the fact that they are tired, some babies may still resist a nap.
But from mom to mom – resist their resistance! If you know your baby is tired, get him/her into the routine of napping regularly. It will make them less cranky in the long run and it will make parenting easier.