Are you struggling with baby sleep problems in your home? Is your baby waking often at night, even though you know she is capable of sleeping straight through? Is your little guy taking short mini-naps, instead of long and restful ones (or perhaps refusing naps altogether)?
There are lots of ways to solve these issues, but here’s a first step you may not have considered yet: try keeping a baby sleep log.
Why You Should Bother With Keeping a Baby Sleep Log
Here’s a fact that may be helpful to remember, as you work to understand your baby’s sleeping patterns: the amount of sleep a baby gets in 24 hours will stay relatively constant. However, babies can shift sleep between daytime and nighttime. For example, if your 9 month old baby sleeps 14 total hours, and she takes 3 naps each day that are about an hour each, then you can expect that she will probably sleep about 11 hours at night. But if her naps are extra-long, then her nighttime sleep amount will likely decrease. This won’t always work perfectly, of course, but it should generally remain true.
Keeping a baby sleep log will not only help you keep track of how much overall sleep your baby is getting (which is useful information to have, to help determine if your baby is sleep-deprived); it will also help you see how that sleep is divided up between naps and night, and will help you spot any inconsistencies or problems.
Logging your baby’s sleep will also help you see if there are patterns to your baby’s sleep issues. For example, your sleep log will reveal which naps are consistently shorter, and what times (on average) your baby wakes at night.
Finally, is you keep a log of your baby’s sleep, you can take the average amount of sleep in 24 hours and use that as a guide when adjusting schedules and setting your expectations on wake-times.
How to Log Your Baby’s Sleep
Logging your baby’s sleep is easy and straightforward. You simply need to keep track of wake times, nap times, nap lengths, and bedtime. You’ll need to do this for 1-2 weeks before you will be able to see patterns in your baby’s sleep, and before you will have enough information about your baby’s sleep to start working on sleep solutions.
Your log can be as high tech or as low tech as you would like. A notebook and a pencil are all you need to keep a basic log; you can also create a simple spreadsheet (using a program like Excel) on your computer, and keep a digital file of your log.
Of course, we do live in the age of the smartphone, and you know what that means: there’s an app for that! BabyConnect is one of the most popular baby log apps on the market (available for both Android phones and the iPhone). BabyConnect will help you log your baby’s sleep, yes, but it will help you track much more than that. And it is a great tool to use if your baby has multiple caregivers – it allows caregivers to enter information into the app, and to exchange messages about baby. Total Baby is another popular baby tracking app that’s available for use on the iPhone and the iPad. Several of our readers have let us know, in the past, that they love Total Baby for logging their babies’ sleep.
Do you keep a baby sleep log? Has it helped you make sense of your baby’s sleep challenges? Any advice for parents who are considering sleep logging?
A baby sleep log will help you identify problems in your baby’s sleep, but it won’t provide you with the tools you need to fix those problems. We, however, can offer those tools! Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.