Are you struggling with what to do to help your baby sleep better?
Here are my guidelines below for each age:
We can’t sleep train a newborn baby as they don’t have the ability to self soothe/self-settle until they are 3-4 months old, instead we can put in place some healthy sleep habits to help your baby start to sleep well and for many months and years to come!
The key things we can do to promote healthy sleep habits are:
1. Feeding – Newborns have very tiny tummies and will only go so long without needing to feed again so focus on feeds being every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hourly at night.
2. Use positive sleep associations – White noise, swaddling, a wind down ritual before sleep and put them down to sleep in a dark room from 6 weeks old.
3. Follow age appropriate awake times – download my free newborn sleep guide here for these.
4. Encourage your older newborn to start to develop self-soothing skills by gradually backing off the assistance you are giving them to sleep aiming for your baby to be close to being able to self-settle by the end of their third month.
Want to learn more about how you can help your newborn to sleep well so you do too?
My newborn sleep guide is perfect for this!
It includes practical advice to help you put healthy sleep habits in place, how to settle your baby to sleep in their moses basket or cot, routines to follow and learn how my youngest slept through from 10 weeks old! click here for more info
From 12 weeks old is a great age to put a routine in place, aim for 3-4 naps a day, read about my preferred routine here.
Start the day at 7am as it syncs with their biological clock and helps the day to flow well and for naps to happen around the same time each day too.
Follow an age appropriate awake window, an overtired baby will be difficult to settle to sleep and an under tired baby will resist sleep. Download my free nap guide here.
Motion sleep (naps in the car and pram) is not very restorative from 3 months old so it’s worth aiming for their long middle of the day nap to happen in their cots.
Your baby has the ability to learn to self-settle and resettle from 3-4 months.
In preparation for the big 4 month sleep regression, I recommend starting to put your baby down awake and ready for sleep in their cots, this will give them the opportunity to learn to self-settle and to sleep longer stretches at night.
The 4 month sleep regression is unlikely to go away until they can fall asleep independently and go back to sleep on their own unless they are hungry.
If they are really unsettled, we can either stay with them to help them learn to self-settle or leave the room and return to soothe using extended timed intervals. Step by step guides for all my settling methods are included in my baby sleep and routines e-guide here.
6 months is the recommended age to start solids, but it is safe to start from 5 months if your baby is showing the signs they are ready.
If your baby is still taking short naps and it’s causing havoc with their night sleep, I recommend focussing on resettling for their second nap of the day which I call the “lunch nap”.
First of all keep the morning nap short to build up enough sleep pressure and then attempt to resettle for at least 45-60 mins for the lunch nap, any less and it’s not enough time for them to learn they need to go back to sleep.
Consistency is really key here from us parents to achieve a longer nap and this is when the most restorative sleep occurs during the day so it’s really worth taking the time to achieve this nap plus you get 2 hours to yourself a day!
By 7/8 months the third nap of the day is dropped leaving a 4 hour awake window between their long lunch nap and bedtime.
If you are struggling with your baby’s sleep, feel like you need the support and encouragement to stay consistent to achieve life changing improvements to your baby’s sleep so that you all get a great night’s sleep every night, I’m your girl!
Click here to find out more
What to Focus on at each age: Part 2 - toddlers coming soon!