Baby Sleep Schedule Basics
After the early months of nighttime feedings, your baby will probably be ready to sleep through the night at around six months. Setting up a regular sleep routine will help calm her down after a busy day of play and get her ready for a good night’s sleep. Here are several ideas to incorporate into your new baby’s sleep schedule so you can both get some rest.
Baby sleep solution: Be consistent.
Babies do best with routine, and bedtime is no exception. Keeping the same sleep schedule each night will help comfort your child, and she’ll come to know just what to expect. While it’s not always possible to have the exact routine every time (you may be away one night or on vacation), aim to keep your new baby’s bedtime routine and timing about the same.
Baby sleep solution: Come clean.
A warm bath makes everyone feel a little drowsy, so it’s just the ticket for your new baby, too. Babies don’t need to be scrubbed head to toe every night, but a quick dip in warm water can be very relaxing. Washing her face, neck, and hands with a warm cloth is fine if you’re short on time.
Baby sleep solution: Spin a tale.
Reading, of course, is wonderful for your baby’s language development, and when it’s done in the evening, it’s a lovely way to bond and feel cozy together. Introducing a short board book or two at the end of your baby’s sleep routine will signal to your little one that the day is coming to a close.
Baby sleep solution: Croon a tune.
Yup, even if you can’t sing on key, just a few bars of the same song will help soothe your new baby. You could also rock your baby or sway gently as you sing, but don’t hold her until she’s deep in sleep, since this can make it hard for her to learn how to drift off to sleep on her own. Putting her to bed when she’s drowsy but still awake is a better bet.
Baby sleep solution: Don’t rush in.
If your child wakes in the night, give her a few minutes to go back to sleep on her own. Most infants can soothe themselves to sleep at this age, so allow your new baby a bit of time to try. If she seems unable to settle down, make it quick. Try not to turn on bright lights, talk loudly or play with her. The idea is to keep things calm so she can go right back to sleep.
Setting up a sleep schedule that works can take some time, but most babies thrive once a routine has been established. Be sure to let the other people who care for your baby know what works for your new baby (one story followed by two songs, for example) too. Stick with it, and you’ll both be having better nights.