Tag Archives: baby sleep schedule

Will Sleep Training Make Your Baby Inflexible?

 
Will Sleep Training Make Your Baby Inflexible?

When you are getting up a million times each night with a sleepless baby, and suffering through microscopically short naps, you probably feel like you would do anything (A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.) to get your baby sleeping through the night and taking long, restful naps. But there are parents out there who are a little nervous about starting sleep training – and not because they are nervous about trying it, or because they aren’t sure their babies are ready.

They are nervous about sleep training making their babies inflexible.

Specifically, some parents are concerned that if they they create predictable sleep schedules, and institute strong bedtime routines, they their babies will no longer be able to ‘go with the flow’ and catch a nap in the car, for example, or go to bed later than usual during a special occasion, or sleep in a pack-n-play at grandma and grandpa’s house.

This is a good question, if you think about it, and one that we think is worth answering!

Sleep Training Impact Depends on Your Baby’s Temperament

First, let’s be clear about something: sleep training most likely will not change your baby. Cry-it-out probably will not change your baby’s personality; neither will sleep training in general. Remember, your baby is born with certain temperament traits; this is why some babies are more relaxed and go-with-the-flow, while others need consistency and routine. Your baby’s inborn temperament traits will have much more to do with how flexible she is than anything you do (like sleep training) or don’t do.

Sleep Training May Make Your Baby More Sensitive To Schedule Changes

That said, it’s true that sleep training can, in general, make babies more sensitive to disruptions to your normal sleep schedule and routines. For instance, if you have been sleep training for a few months, and your baby has become used to napping twice per day, at the same time, in his crib, then it will probably be tough for him to miss one of those naps, or to catch the nap in the car.

Same for bedtime; if you have been sleep training for awhile and have a constant bedtime each night, you may notice that your baby isn’t able to stay up much later, or to fall asleep somewhere else at bedtime.

Finally, if your sleep training has been successful, you have no doubt gotten your baby used to her sleeping environment. That can make it a little difficult to travel with your baby; you may notice that your baby has a hard time falling asleep in a different room, or in a pack-n-play.

But keep in mind that ‘tough’ is relative in all of these scenarios – how ‘tough’ each of these is depends entirely on your baby’s temperament. Intense, persistent babies will react strongly to any change in the schedule – but that is true both before and after sleep training. More relaxed, easy-going babies may put up a little fuss to disruptions (which they may not have done prior to sleep training), but it likely will not be as a ‘big’ fuss.

Baby Sleep Training: Most Parents Find The Benefits Worth It!

So, what’s the bottom line? It’s this: sleep training will not fundamentally alter your baby’s personality or temperament. However, it will make your baby accustomed to certain routines and schedules, and after months of following a certain schedule, or sleeping in a certain way, it’s not surprising that most babies will react at least somewhat to changes in those schedules and routines. However, how strongly they react depends on innate temperament traits – intense babies will probably have big (and loud!) reactions, while easy-going babies put up a smaller fuss.

Is it worth it, then? That’s the question for some parents, particularly those who are on-the-go types, and like to have flexibility from day to day.

We certainly can’t answer that question for you – after all, you are the best judge of what’s best for your baby, and for your family! What we can say, however, is that every parent we have worked with would say that it is definitely, definitely worth it! For them, sleep training put an end to sleepless nights and non-existent naps, and gave them their lives (and their sanity!) back. Yes, it can mean that your baby is a bit less flexible in responding to schedule changes than she once was, but our well-rested parents would tell you that the nights of uninterrupted sleep are worth it! ;)

Plus, remember that if you prepare for schedule disruptions in advance, you can likely alleviate some of the stress to your child, and help him through it. Check out some of these articles on how to prepare for and deal with “schedule-busters”:

Nicole’s Note:
“I honestly can’t remember EVER getting an e-mail saying ‘I wish I hadn’t sleep trained!’ On the contrary, I most often hear ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’”

Ready To Sleep Train Your Baby? The Baby Sleep Site® Can Help!

If you are ready to be a well-rested parent, and are ready to trade sleepless nights for peaceful, quiet ones – look no further! Our team of consultants is waiting to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for you, and to help your whole family finally get the sleep you deserve.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Did sleep training make your baby seem less flexible? What do you think – is sleep training worth it? We want to hear your opinions, parents!

  • Want to tackle sleep training on your own? Why not take a look at our 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, and stay asleep (and stop fighting bedtime!). For toddlers, try The 5-Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Best of all, both books is available to download instantly – you can put it to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is 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! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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5 Month Old Baby Schedule

 
5 Month Old Baby Schedule


This article outlines the average 5 month old baby schedule, including feedings, solids, naps and night sleep.

Skip to the schedule


5 month old baby’s sleep

At this age, if you are not lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night, many 5 month olds are still waking 1-3 times to eat at night. Anything more and likely you have a sleep association problem. Your 5 month old should be taking 3-4 naps per day for a total of 3-4 hours per day plus 11-12 hours at night. If you’re having trouble with naps, you might be interested in helping your baby nap.

Obviously, all babies vary, but here are some sample schedules you can use to make your own for your unique baby. Schedules are iffy at this age because many babies simply cannot stay up past 2 hours to get to the next scheduled nap-time, so at this age, it’s likely naps are still on the short side, but come frequently. Over the next several weeks, you can work on getting down to just 3 naps to get closer to the 6 month schedule.

I should warn you that I am in the camp that breast milk or formula should be the primary nutrition for the first year and solids come secondary. Below are the amounts we recommend. For more information on starting your baby on solid food, visit our sister site, Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods. It includes recommendations about how and when to start solids, as well as helpful information on food allergies, recommended products, baby-friendly recipes, and more.

Amounts per day:

• At least 7-10 breastfeeding sessions per day (5-6 during daylight hours, and 2-4 at night) or 24-32 ounces formula or combination (decrease solids if your baby is not taking in at least this much)
• Water is unnecessary (breast milk and formula have plenty of water in them). If your baby has any constipation issues, focus on P-foods (pears, prunes, etc.)
• 1-2 servings baby cereal (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons dry)
• 1-2 servings fruit (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)
• 1-2 servings vegetable (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)

Note: If you did not start solids until 6 months (I did not start until 6 months), you will work your way up to the amount of servings above. Don’t worry about feeding this much right away!


Sample 5 month old schedule

This first schedule works best for babies who become overtired quickly and can stay awake for about 1.5 – 2 hours between naps:

Schedule 1

6:30 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
7:15 – Breakfast
8:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
9:00 – Breast milk or Formula
11:00 – Nap (often 30-60 minutes at this age)
12:00 – Breast milk or Formula
1:30 – Breast milk or Formula
2:00 – Nap
4:00 – Breast milk or Formula
5:00 – Catnap (30 minutes)
6:30 – Begin bedtime routine
6:45 – Breast milk or Formula and Bedtime
7:00 – Goal to be asleep

+Plus possibly 1-2 nighttime feedings

If your baby is able to stay up longer between naps, and is not as sensitive to over tiredness, you may want to take a look at our 6 month schedule, and modify the schedule above to more closely match the 6 month schedule.

Note: Many people prefer to follow an eat-play-sleep routine, which is a good routine to follow, however, sometimes hard to implement at this age when the amount of time between naps is not long enough and your baby wakes too early from his nap because of a feeding. I take all of that into consideration when making my schedules. The most important part is to be careful not to create sleep associations with feedings too close to sleep times, which we saw become important at 4 months old.

Need Baby and Toddler Sleep Help? We Have the Resources You Need!

 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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What is your 5-month old’s schedule? Share it in the comments section below!

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3 Easy Steps To A Better Baby or Toddler Sleep Schedule

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How To Build A More Consistent Sleep ScheduleIf we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times: consistency is key! That’s true when it comes to sleep training, AND when it comes to ensuring quality sleep for your baby or toddler. But while consistency is easy to talk about, it can be harder to actually put into practice.

But never fear, readers – we are here to help! We are outlining 3 easy steps to build a more consistent sleep schedule for your baby or toddler.

3 Easy Steps To Build a Consistent Sleep Schedule For Your Baby or Toddler

  1. Establish a (pretty) regular bedtime. First, work on getting your baby or toddler to bed at about the same time each night. This doesn’t have to be exact (in fact, there are times when our consultants will actually recommend moving bedtime around, based on naps). A 30-minute bedtime window is fine. But sticking to that bedtime window is important – if your little one’s bedtime is erratic, it can have big repercussions when it comes to behavior and to overall sleep quality. Remember, too, that the large majority of your baby or toddler’s sleep should happen at night, so don’t make the excuse that you’ll compensate for late bedtimes with longer naps – that’ll cheat your little one out of optimal sleep. Don’t worry about whether or not your little one actually falls asleep right at bedtime – in the beginning, just strive for putting him into bed at the same time each night.
  2. Establish a regular wake-up time. Your baby or toddler’s morning wake time is important, too – it sets the schedule for the entire day. If your baby or toddler isn’t awake at the designated time, then wake her up. (Want more info about the 4 times when it’s okay to wake your baby from sleep? Read this article.) If she wakes too early, then try to keep her content, but avoid getting her up and out of bed until it’s wake-up time. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re having to frequently wake your baby from sleep in order to stick to the schedule, you may need to rework the schedule itself. Waking your baby from sleep should be a temporary solution, not a long-term one.
  3. Establish one regular nap time. Once you have a pretty consistent bedtime and wake-up time going, work on establishing a consistent time-frame for one of your baby or toddler’s naps. The first nap of the day is usually the best one to work on. It tends to be the longest and most restorative nap, and as long as your baby or toddler is waking at about the same time each day, it should be pretty easy to time it up.

What steps have you taken to build more consistency into your baby or toddler’s schedule?

Need help in creating a sleep schedule that works for you AND for your baby or toddler? We can help! Take a look at these Baby Sleep Site resources:

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby, toddler, or newborn develop better napping and sleeping habits.
  • Want Unlimited Access to ALL Our Products, Including E-Books? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars.
  • Need Personalized Help? If you want a customized solution PLUS support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. You will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about!
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How to Manage Your Baby or Toddler’s Naps During Holiday Traveling

Managing Naps During Holiday TravelsHere in the United States, we are right on the verge of one of the busiest traveling seasons of the year – Thanksgiving weekend! In another day or so, lots of us in the U.S. will pack up and travel to see friends and loved ones, and to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with them.

Of course, while all that traveling can be fun (provided we don’t have any weather delays – fingers crossed!), it’s by no means relaxing. And if you are traveling with a baby or a toddler in tow? Not relaxing at all. In fact, your holiday weekend may end up feeling like a whole lot of work!

One of the toughest things about traveling with a baby or toddler is the fact that your little one’s normal sleep schedule is bound to be thrown off (sometimes way, way off) by your travel plans. Nighttime sleep may be affected (for instance, if you will be staying overnight at a relative’s house, the different sleeping arrangements can cause issues). And it’s almost guaranteed that naps will be affected. Nothing throws off a naptime routine quite like uprooting your little one from her familiar surroundings and whisking her away to a new place.

We know holiday travels can destroy your little one’s naptime schedule, leading to short naps (or no naps at all!). We’ve been there. We’ve felt the pain first-hand! So we’re offering you some simple ways to make naptime as painless as possible while your family is traveling. Put these 5 tips into practice during your Thanksgiving travels, and make naptime more restful for everyone.

1. Stick to the schedule as much as you can.

If you want your baby or toddler to nap well while you’re traveling, you’re probably going to have to stick to his normal schedule as much as you can. So if he normally naps mid-morning and mid-afternoon, do what you can to make sure he’s able to nap at those times during vacation, too. Don’t plan activities that’ll force him to miss his nap; instead, try to prioritize his sleep.

Of course, some circumstances might make this impossible, and that’s okay. If a nap can’t happen when it “should” every once in awhile during your trip, simply roll with it, and then do your best to make sure the rest of his naps are restorative.

What’s more, if you have a highly-adaptable baby, sticking closely to the schedule might not be necessary. Your baby might sleep beautifully in grandma’s arms, or in her stroller. If that’s the case, congratulations! Enjoy. The rest of us are just a little jealous. ;)

2. Pack some good napping products.

We shared this post last year on fantastic napping products. And guess what? Most of these are totally portable, so make room in your suitcase! The loveys, the noise machines, the swaddle blankets, and the stroller covers should all fit nicely in a bag. You can even find portable room-darkening blinds; the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind has suction cups that stick to any window, making it a great option for traveling. (Note: our readers in the U.S. won’t be able to purchase these portable blinds, unfortunately. But if you’re in the U.K., Australia, or New Zealand, you will!)

3. Make the napping area feel like home.

There are limitations to this, obviously; you can’t exactly pack your baby’s or toddler’s entire room and haul it on vacation with you! But you can take small steps to make sure that the place your baby or toddler naps while you’re traveling feels homey and familiar. That might mean bringing along his crib sheets and bedding, or packing the lullaby CD that you always play for her at naptime. And of course, you’ll definitely want to pack all of your little one’s comfort items — loveys, stuffed animals, favorite books, etc. Surround him with things that feel like home, and it’ll help him settle down and nap when he needs to.

4. Lay some groundwork before you leave.

This is especially important if you have a slow-to-adapt baby, or a toddler who’s really sensitive to disruptions in the routine. If that’s the case, starting a few days to two weeks before you leave, begin napping your baby or toddler in whatever she’ll be sleeping in while you travel (if possible) for at least one nap per day. Set up your pack-n-play or portable crib in her room, and have her take her naps there. This will help her adjust to to a new sleeping arrangement before you hit the road, which will be easier on everyone.

5. Give yourself a pep-talk.

Even if you take every single precaution you can, there’s still a good chance that your baby or toddler just isn’t going to nap as well on the road as he does at home. Such is the reality of traveling with a tiny child! So be prepared to be flexible, and to make the best of whatever comes.

And then, when you get home, schedule yourself a pedicure, or a massage, or an afternoon out — anything that’ll help you feel relaxed. After all that holiday traveling, you will probably need a break. ;)

Nicole’s Note
“After traveling, the biggest thing we see in the Helpdesk is that even if schedules were perfect on vacation, traveling is tiring for everyone, including your baby. Plan for an earlier bedtime for several nights to help your baby ‘catch up’ on sleep and rest up!”

How do you help your baby or toddler sleep well when you’re traveling? Share your tips!

Travel plans in your future? We have the nap resources you need to get ready:

  • Holiday-proof your baby or toddler’s naps! Be sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
  • Want Unlimited Product Access? 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!
  • Need Personalized Help? 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.
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How ‘Fixed Points’ Can Help Your Baby Sleep

Fixed Points Help Baby SleepOne of the questions we hear pretty frequently from moms and dads who have newborns and young infants at home is, “How can I get my baby on some kind of schedule?” In fact, the sample sleep and feeding schedules by age are some of the most popular pages on our site!

The problem is, most babies are not ready for strict, by-the-clock schedules until they are about 6 months old. Some babies are ready earlier than this, of course (some 3 month old babies are so predictable, you can set your watch by them!) And other babies will take longer to develop a consistent schedule. But 6 months is a good average.

This often leaves parents of newborns and young babies wondering how they can bring some order and predictability to their babies’ days. No, newborns and young infants are not ready for rigid sleep and feeding schedules, but isn’t there some way to create a little bit of consistency in a young baby’s day?

The answer is yes, there is. Creating what we call “fixed points” in your baby’s day is a gentle way to provide some structure and routine, which in turn can help promote better sleep for your baby.

What Are Fixed Points?

Fixed points are parts of your baby’s daily routines that happen at roughly the same time each day. Note the ‘roughly’ there — these are not strictly clock-based! However, a fixed point should happen at about the same time (give or take up to 20 or 30 minutes) from day to day.

How to Create Fixed Points In Your Baby’s Day

A great way to start establishing fixed points is to start with your baby’s morning wake-up time. This strategy works well for all babies, actually, regardless of age — and it works for toddlers, too! The idea here is that you make sure your baby (or toddler) wakes up at approximately the same time each morning. If your baby (or toddler) has a consistent wake-up time, it will go a long way towards creating consistency in the rest of the day’s activities.

The next fixed point that many parents choose to work on is a consistent bedtime. Keep in mind that bedtime looks different for a newborn than it does for a 4 or 5 month old baby. Since a newborn’s sleep cycles are driven by feedings, and since newborns tend to wake every few hours around the clock, regardless of whether it’s daytime or nighttime, most newborns don’t really have a clear bedtime. However, by 3 or 4 months, most babies are sleeping longer stretches (and feeding less) at night. At this point, you can begin to carve out a bedtime, and then work on consistently putting your baby to bed at this time. As with the morning wake-up, this fixed point works well for both babies and toddlers.

Naptime can also be a fixed point in your baby’s schedule — specifically, the timing of the first morning nap and the first afternoon nap. When your baby is old enough to start eating solid food, you can also make meals fixed points in your baby’s daily schedule.

Fixed Points – A Gentle Way To Create A Schedule

Essential Keys to Your Newborn's SleepUsing the fixed point technique, you can begin create small amounts of order and consistency in your baby’s day, starting right away, in the newborn stage. Then, as your baby grows, you can slowly add in more and more fixed points, until a predictable schedule emerges.

There’s a lot more we could say about fixed points, but we just don’t have room to do it in a blog article. Want more info about how to incorporate fixed points into your baby’s schedule? Check out our newest e-Book, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. It contains an entire chapter on schedules and sleep, which includes lots more details about fixed points, as well as a variety of sample daily sleep and feeding schedules (for both breastfed and formula fed babies). Want to try before you buy? No problem; you can download a PDF excerpt of the book! Visit this page and click the yellow ‘Download Free Sample’ button.

What are your baby’s ‘fixed points’? Any tips for how to gradually create a good baby sleep and feeding schedule? Share them with us!

Need help in creating a schedule that will maximize your baby or toddler’s sleep? 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. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. 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.

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Celebrating Our Newest Arrival with a Giveaway!

Newborn Sleep eBook GiveawayHave you heard the news? On Tuesday, we unveiled the newest addition to our Baby Sleep Site® family of products: 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Written specifically for parents of newborns and young infants, this book is designed to help parents create healthy baby sleep habits right from the start.

It may be a bit of an understatement to say that we’re excited about our newest e-Book. Truth is, all of us are absolutely thrilled that we can finally put this awesome resource into the hands of our Baby Sleep Site® parents.

In fact, we’re so thrilled, we decided we had to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than to host a giveaway? :) That’s right — a brand-new e-book AND fabulous prizes! So enter today, using the widget below (and also on our Facebook Page). We will be accepting entries from today through Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm EST.

Ready for the details? Check out the list below for a description of the prizes we are giving away in celebration or our new e-Book.


Grand Prize- Newborn e-Book Bundle (a $99 value)

Newborn eBook Bundle GiveawayBecause all of us here at The Baby Sleep Site® know first-hand just how exhausting and overwhelming the newborn stage can be, we created a bundle package that includes a copy of the e-Book, 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, PLUS a Basic E-Mail Consultation. With this bundle package, you get all the helpful, hands-on information in the book as well as a Personalized Sleep Plan™, created specifically for your newborn. At $99, this bundle package is already a great deal. But an even better deal? Winning it in our giveaway! One winner will receive the 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep Bundle Package. (Please Note: If you already have an account, your account will be credited. This prize is available to entrants worldwide.)

$75 Amazon Gift Card

amazon-GCEvery mom and dad deserve a little shopping spree now and then — and we are doing our part to make that happen! One winner will receive an Amazon gift card worth $75, to use toward any Amazon.com online purchase. The Amazon gift card is available to both U.S. and international contestants where Amazon is available.

5 Copies of Our Newborn E-Book

Essential Keys to Your Newborn's Sleep5 lucky winners will receive an instant download of our newest e-Book, 4 Essential Keys to Your Baby’s Sleep. This fantastic resource is packed full of information that all parents of newborns and young infants will benefit from, such as:

  • tips and special help on feeding (both breast and bottle) from Miriam, our lactation consultant.
  • suggested routines for promoting sleep.
  • guidelines to help you decode your baby’s cries, and advice on how to cope with fussiness and colic.
  • sample daily sleep and feeding schedules, for both breastfed and formula fed babies.

The E-Book is available in your choice of formats: PDF, Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

Remember, the deadline to enter is 8:59 pm EST on Thursday, October 24, 2013. So don’t wait; enter now!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Your Baby’s Changing Sleep Patterns: Birth – 12 Months

As a mom or dad, you already know that the first year of your baby’s life is a year of incredible growth and development. The average baby triples his birthweight by age 1, and grows an incredible 10 inches in that first year. And that’s not all — between birth and 12 months, your baby will learn to roll over, sit up, creep and crawl, and perhaps even walk.

Impressive, right?

Your baby’s sleep patterns will change pretty significantly in the first year, too. And that’s what we’re exploring in today’s blog article: how our babies’ sleep needs and patterns change in the first 12 months of life.


Sleep Patterns from Birth – 3 Months

NewbornNewborns sleep A LOT in the early weeks after birth — the average newborn needs about 16-17 total hours of sleep! But as you experienced parents know, that sleep is very broken up. Newborns need to eat every 2-4 hours, and most newborns sleep for an hour or two at a time (and sometimes even less than that!)

By 4-6 weeks of age, newborns need more like 14-16 hours of sleep each day. By 8 weeks of age, some (although not all!) babies will start to sleep for shorter periods during the day and slightly longer periods at night (although babies will still wake multiple times each night for feedings).

While these sleeping patterns are exhausting for us parents, rest assured that they’re quite normal — and necessary — for newborns. Remember that while there are steps we parents can take to improve sleep during the newborn stage, and to help our newborns establish healthy sleep habits, it’s far too early to expect our newborns to stick to a strict sleep and feeding schedule, or to sleep straight through the night without feedings. That will come later.


Sleep Patterns from 3 – 6 Months

3-6 MonthsBy 3 or 4 months of age, your baby is officially out of the newborn stage, and you may notice that your little one’s sleep is slowly starting to organize itself into shorter daytime naps and longer periods of night sleep (although again — not all babies do this by 3 months.) If your baby starts to naturally create her own schedule, then roll with it! If not, though, don’t worry — she’ll be ready in another few months.

Naps may become more clearly defined at this point. 4 month olds need about 5 naps during the day; 6 month olds need more like 3 or 4 naps each day. Don’t worry if these naps don’t happen at the same times each day. Some babies this age will nap very predictably, but others won’t until later.

During this stage, the 4 month sleep regression can happen. This is a point at which your baby’s sleep patterns change permanently; it’s also the reason why some babies who have been sleeping like…well, like babies…suddenly start waking frequently and sleeping a lot less. This is also the point at which you can start sleep coaching your baby (although this is the earliest recommended age for sleep coaching, so it’s also fine to wait a bit longer.)

While some babies will start to sleep through the night by this point, others won’t, and that’s perfectly okay. Many 6 month olds still need 1 – 2 nighttime feedings. However, by 6 months of age, your baby should be sleeping for longer stretches at night and shorter periods during the day.


Sleep Patterns from 7 – 9 Months

7-9 monthsBy 7 months, most babies are ready to follow a fairly predictable daytime schedule (although it doesn’t necessarily need to be a rigid one.) At 7 months, your baby will need between 2 or 3 naps during the day (that 3rd nap will probably be a catnap, if your baby is taking 3 naps). By 8 months, however, you should be able to move to two naps a day – a morning nap and an afternoon nap.

Don’t forget that another sleep regression can happen during this time, and it can really disrupt sleep. The sleep regression that happens around 8 or 9 months is mostly due to all the physical development your baby is experiencing around this time — learning to crawl, pull up to standing, cruise, and perhaps even take steps! While this kind of development is so exciting to watch, it can definitely interfere with sleep.

While one night feeding is still considered normal at this point, we usually recommend an attempt to night wean around 9 months. This will help you determine whether your baby still needs one feeding at night (which may be the case), or if your baby is waking more out of habit, and less out of a real need to eat.


Sleep Patterns from 10 – 12 Months

10-12 monthsBy this age, most babies are sleeping through the night and feeding only during the day (although some babies will continue to need one night feeding up to 12 months.) Most babies are taking two naps per day by 10 months. While most people assume that babies transition to needing just one nap per day around 12 months, this is actually a misconception. Most babies aren’t ready to make that transition until somewhere between 15 – 18 months.

At this point, if your baby still doesn’t have a predictable daytime schedule in place, work to create one. This will help ensure that your baby is getting enough sleep, and that her sleep is organized well (i.e. she’s getting enough naptime sleep, but not so much that it affects her nighttime sleep amounts).

Speaking of predictable schedules — be sure that your baby’s schedule includes a consistent bedtime. Consistent bedtimes are a key component of a good daily schedule. There’s also evidence to suggest that creating a habit at an early age of going to bed at the same time each night may benefit our children when they’re a little older. School-aged children who go to bed at the same time each night may be better behaved and may perform better in school.

How have you noticed your baby’s sleep schedules and patterns change over time? How have you adapted to these changes?

Is your baby’s changing sleep schedule proving to be more than you can handle? 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.

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2 Strategies For Surviving the Daylight Savings Time Change

Surviving Daylight Savings Daylight Savings tends to be a big topic here at The Baby Sleep Site®; we start getting e-mails in the Helpdesk up to a month before it ends, asking for suggestions on how to help babies and toddlers ‘fall back’ and adjust to the time change.

After working with many, many, many families to adjust to new time change schedules, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the transition a smooth one.

And that’s what we are talking about today! We’re presenting two strategies for surviving the daylight savings time change.

2 Options For Surviving Daylight Savings

  1. Do nothing. If your baby’s is fairly adaptable to change, and is not sensitive to overtiredness, then you can simply do nothing, take the time change in stride. This means sticking to your baby or toddler’s normal schedule as best you can. The exception to that would be the morning wake-up time; that will likely be earlier for a few days, or maybe a week. For example, if your baby normally wakes at 7 a.m., then after the time change, she will probably wake closer to 6 a.m. However, keep naps and bedtime close to their usual times. You can bump them up a bit if your baby or toddler seems really exhausted, but remember, this is a short-term solution. You don’t want to do this long-term, or you will create a long-term schedule change.

    This is also a good option for babies and toddlers who are waking up and going to bed too late. If this is the case, and if you would like your child’s wake time, naps, and bedtimes to be a bit earlier than they currently are, consider yourself lucky — the end of daylight savings will shift your child’s schedule backwards by an hour!

  2. Tweak your child’s schedule ahead of time. If your baby is already waking up too early in the morning, in relation to your ideal family schedule, we recommend doing some preemptive work ahead of time to ease the transition. Moving your baby’s schedule isn’t always easy, but in the next week or two, you can successfully move your baby’s schedule forward by an hour and then move it again, if necessary, to achieve your family’s ideal schedule.

    For example, if your baby is waking at 5 a.m., and you’d like her to wake at 6 a.m. or later, you can move her schedule forward one hour to 6 a.m., wait for the time to change (where she will be waking at 5 a.m. once again) and then move her schedule forward again. This works best when your baby is at least 8 months old, but some 6 month old schedules can be moved as well. Younger babies generally will adjust naturally within a few days to two weeks as long as you don’t strictly stick to the earlier schedule (a young baby’s sleep is already highly disorganized).

If you are interested, our Shifting Schedules e-Book outlines detailed steps (with examples) to moving your baby’s schedule. It deals with managing early-morning wake up times, as well as late bedtimes. It also provides tips and insights that are useful for tackling the time change. It even includes a case study that follows one family’s schedule shift as they worked one-on-one with Nicole.

Reminders About How Daylight Savings Affects Bedtime

Keep in mind that late bedtimes equal overtiredness. And overtiredness equals restless nights for babies and toddlers, and even earlier morning wake-up times. So watch your baby’s bedtime carefully, and make it earlier, if needed (for a few days, at least – while your baby adjusts). Here’s an example, to help you visualize this point: if your baby normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., after the time change, 6 p.m. will ‘feel’ like 7 p.m., since it WAS 7 p.m. just a few days ago. So if your baby seems sleepy around 6 p.m., respect that, and put him to bed a little early (maybe at 6:15 or 6:30). This shouldn’t be a long-term strategy, of course (few families want a bedtime that early!) But it’s a good short-term strategy.

How are you planning for the end of Daylight Saving’s Time? How do you anticipate it will affect your baby or toddler’s schedule? Let’s put our heads together and share some tips and advice!

Need help with your baby or toddler’s sleep? 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 (including one about managing the time change!). 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.

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7 Tips When Baby Won’t Nap

Baby Wont Nap

You know what’s cute? A cooing, babbling baby who’s grinning ear to ear as she holds onto her crib bars and jumps up and down on her mattress. So adorable!

Except that it’s nap time. And she’s not supposed to be cooing or babbling or jumping. She’s supposed to be SLEEPING, for Pete’s sake, and giving her poor parents a break!

Not so cute anymore, right?

I know a lot of you can identify with that picture, because you have a baby or toddler who simply refuses to nap. You try and you try, but in spite of your best efforts, your little one is wide awake during nap time.

As always, we’re here for you. :) Today, we’re exploring 7 tips for correcting your baby’s naptime issues.

7 Tips For Handling a Baby or Toddler Who Won’t Nap

  1. Make sure your baby’s room is “sleepy”. This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many parents don’t consider factor like light and noise when working through their childrens’ sleep issues. It’s true, though; if you want your baby to nap well, you need to do what you can to be sure that the room he naps in is “sleep friendly”.

    Remember that nap time sleep is different than nighttime sleep; that’s one reason why naps can be so challenging. Naps happen when the sun’s up, for instance, so you may need to invest in some good blackout blinds in order to make your little one’s room nice and dim for naps.

    It can also be hard to keep your home quiet for nap time (this is especially true if you have older children!) So think about investing in a white noise machine that’ll help block out background noise while your little one sleeps. Don’t want to pay for a machine? Try downloading a white noise MP3, or a white noise app.

  2. Evaluate your baby’s daytime schedule. If you want your child to take regular, consistent, predictable naps, then you need to have a regular, consistent, predictable schedule in place. Sure, this schedule may need to be adapted every once in awhile (to account for special occasions, trips, illness, etc.) But that majority of your days should look roughly the same; if they don’t, then it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to help your baby or toddler nap well.

    What’s more, your daily schedule should be created with naps in mind. Try not to fill your schedule with activities and then squeeze naptime in here and there; instead, build the naps in first, and make sure they coordinate around feedings/meals as well as morning wake time and bedtime. Once those things are established, fill in the schedule with activities (both yours and your baby’s).

    For help creating a sleep-friendly schedule, check out our Sample Sleep and Feeding Schedules page.

  3. Watch for overtiredness. This is especially important in the infant stage. Young babies become overtired very quickly, and an overtired baby is much harder to settle and put to sleep than a baby who’s rested and content. The same is true for toddlers; most toddlers become increasingly “wired” and resistant to sleep as they become overtired. So watch for your baby’s or toddler’s tired cues (rubbing eyes, yawning, etc.), and act on them quickly.
  4. Create a consistent pre-nap routine. We’ve written before about the importance of having a consistent bedtime routine in place. It’s just as important to have a consistent nap time routine, especially if your baby or toddler is struggling to nap well. The routine doesn’t have to be long or complicated; it just needs to consist of a few calming, soothing activities. A few minutes spent cuddling, reading books, and singing songs is perfect.

    A routine like this will not only relax and soothe your child; it’ll also signal to him that nap time is approaching. This is important; babies and toddlers thrive on routine and consistency, so having a regular pre-nap routine in place helps them know when it’s time to settle down and nap.

  5. Take the “schedule-busters” in stride. Sometimes, things that are totally outside of your control will come along and destroy your carefully-crafted schedule. Sleep regressions, for instance, can just obliterate any nap time progress you may have made. Same goes for illnesses, or teething. Even though disruptions like these are usually short-lived (a few days to a few weeks), they sometimes feel like they last for an eternity.

    Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for schedule busters (unless your child is ill; in that case, seek medical care.) Most of the time, you have to simply go with the flow, doing the best you can to stay consistent and working not to create any new bad habits that you’ll have to undo later.

  6. Be smart about on-the-go naps. If your baby or toddler isn’t napping well, one of the problems may be that too many naps are happening on the go. While an occasional on-the-go nap is fine, the majority of your baby or toddler’s naps should happen at home, in a crib or bed. Remember, moving sleep isn’t as restorative for babies and toddlers, so if your baby or toddler is regularly catching naps on the fly, in the stroller or car, it can lead to a big sleep deficit over time.

    For those occasions when a nap simply has to happen on the go, consider adding some on-the-go napping products to your arsenal. A company called Snoozeshade™ makes a number of sun and sleep shades that are designed to fit over car seats, strollers, and pack-n-plays. These products can make it easier for little ones to sleep while mom and dad are out and about.

  7. Know your nap transitions. Sometimes, if your baby or toddler isn’t napping well, it’s not because there’s a problem that needs to be fixed — it’s because your little one’s nap needs are changing. Educate yourself about when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them; then, you’ll know better if your little one’s naptime resistance needs to be worked through, or if it may be time to drop a nap.

Do you have tips to add to our list? Share your napping advice with other parents! Working through your baby’s or toddler’s nap challenges? Feel free to ask your nap questions in the comments section.

Make sure you are not making those pesky 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. 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. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!

Disclosure: The Baby Sleep Site™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link above and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site™ may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product. This commission will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

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How Rigid Should Your Baby’s Nap Schedule Be?

NapSchedule

We talk a lot here at the Baby Sleep Site™ about how all babies are different (that’s why we don’t believe in any one-size-fits-all solutions for baby sleep problems!) Here’s something else we believe: parents are different, too! Talk to 10 different sets of moms and dads, and you’ll likely uncover a variety of parenting methods and philosophies. It’s our belief that this diversity is a good thing. It keeps life interesting!

These differences among parents often extend to the ways that moms and dads handle schedules — particularly, how they handle daytime nap schedules. Some parents are schedule-oriented, “Type A” folks. These parents like to create firm schedules and then stick to them whenever possible. They tend to thrive on predictability and routine. (Full disclosure: I fall squarely into this category!)

Other parents, however, are more footloose and fancy-free with their schedules. These parents tend to be on-the-go types, whose schedules rarely look the same from one day to the next. (More disclosure: I wish I were more like this. I’ve even tried to be, but alas! It’s just not me. :) )

Both types are perfectly fine, of course, and then there is everything in between (i.e. predictable schedule with flexible days). But when it comes to creating healthy nap schedules for our babies — the kind of schedules that produce long, restful naps — is one type better than the other?

The Benefits of a Rigid Daily Schedule

The word “rigid” tends to sound a little negative, but when it comes to your baby’s daily nap schedule, it can actually be a good thing! As Nicole’s written in a past article, there are some benefits to having a more rigid sleep schedule:

The main benefit of a rigid baby sleep schedule is the fact that it’s predictable. This isn’t just good for you to plan play dates or errands, but your baby will know what to expect every day, too. By prioritizing your baby’s sleep and making sure she’s in her crib at nap time and bedtime will make it that much more likely that she will sleep through the night and ensure your baby naps longer. You are making sure that you are putting her down during her “sleep windows” and helping “set” her internal clock.

This kind of predictability makes it easier to nap train your little one — remember, consistency is a huge part of any kind of sleep training! And once your baby is successfully nap trained, having a fairly rigid schedule in place can go a long way towards helping your baby get long, restorative naps on a regular basis.

The Benefits of a Flexible Daily Schedule

Of course, there are benefits to a highly-flexible daily schedule, too. Nicole pointed those out in her article as well:

But, what if your baby doesn’t get sleepy at the same times every day? Or, what if your family life is such that your day simply is not very similar day to day? A flexible baby sleep schedule allows you to have much more flexibility in your day. Your playdate wants to meet at 10 instead of 11? No problem. That baby swim class is at 1 p.m. twice a week right when your baby’s nap is. No problem. Grandma and grandpa come to visit for two hours making bedtime an hour later? No problem. Having a flexible sleep schedule is definitely appealing in many ways. It feels much less like your whole world revolves around your baby’s sleep and schedule, that’s for sure.

Don’t Forget To Consider Your Baby’s Personality and Temperament, Too!

Before we get any further, I have to stop and point something out. We started this discussion with a comparison between parent personality types. And that makes sense; we parents are the ones who create our babies’ schedules, after all! But you’ll need to consider your baby’s temperament and personality as well.

Specifically, you’ll need to consider your child’s adaptability and regularity. Your little one’s adaptability refers to his ability to “go with the flow”, so to speak. Highly-adaptable babies adjust easily to changes in the schedule and routine; less-adaptable babies don’t. What does this mean for you? If your baby is less adaptable, you’ll probably need to develop a fairly consistent daily schedule. If your baby is more adaptable, however, you can probably have a more on-the-go lifestyle.

Your baby’s regularity refers to the kind of consistency he shows from day to day. Very regular babies tend to eat and sleep at the same times each day. As Nicole points out, they may even poop at the same time day to day! Less regular children, however, are inconsistent in their eating and sleeping habits. What does this mean for you? If your baby is less regular, you’ll need to build some flexibility into your daily schedule, in order to accommodate.

So, Which is Better: Rigid or Flexible?

Answer: it depends. It depends on your personality, on your child’s temperament, on your goals for your baby’s sleep, on your little one’s current sleeping habits… But don’t let that discourage you! Nicole has some tips to offer that may help those of you who are struggling with how to create a daytime nap schedule that will suit both your personality and needs, as well as your child’s:

For highly inconsistent babies, it is usually best to keep a rigid sleep schedule from a sleep perspective (not necessarily feeding schedule), because it helps “set” their internal clock and biological rhythms. If you allow your inconsistent baby to drive the schedule, he is more likely to continue being even more inconsistent than what’s “normal” for him.

For babies who are very sensitive to becoming over-tired leading to less and less sleep, it’s important to keep their sleep at a high priority. It doesn’t necessarily mean keeping a rigid schedule by the clock, but in terms of making sure they are not awake too long before sleep. It means that swim class might have to wait until they’ve changed their schedule.

For babies who can sometimes stay up longer and other times can’t, having a rigid schedule where they are in the crib when they are not tired, could lead to other sleep problems and frustration for your baby. Maybe he needs a more flexible schedule that is driven more by his sleep needs and cues.

Need Help Creating a Nap Schedule That Works For Your Baby?

Perhaps all this talk about daily schedules has you thinking that it’s high time you got to work creating one for your baby. If that’s the case, we can help! For those of you who want to tackle the challenge on your own, check out our Mastering Naps and Schedules e-book. It’ll give you the tools you need to get started on building a daily nap schedule that will work for your baby.

If you’d prefer to have some help with this, we can offer that, too! Take a peek at our personalized sleep consultation packages to find one that’s right for you. A trained sleep consultant will walk you through every step of creating and implementing a daily nap schedule that will get your baby napping well in no time!

Rigid or Flexible: which are you? Share your “schedule type” below, and tell us about your experiences creating a nap schedule that works for you and your baby!

If you’re ready to create a daytime nap schedule for your baby, first, make sure you are not making those pesky 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. 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. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!

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