Baby Sleep Training Guide – Easy to Follow Steps and Tips
Sleep is such an important factor in any human being’s life. All the more, sleep is a vital part of your newborn’s growth and it needs to be completed in order to keep them healthy and happy. We, as grownups, spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping. It’s that important. We should have enough sleeping hours for us to be refreshed, energized and well-rested.
Like adults, babies (especially newborns) need a lot of sleep as well, and I mean A LOT. A newborn’s sleep schedule is about 14-17 hours, as opposed to adults who just need a total of 7.5-9 hours of sleep to function normally. As you can see, giving your little ones the right amount of sleep takes a certain “tactic” and we need to do it in a way that benefits not only the baby but us as well, hopefully.
But the regular sleep pattern differs for parents though. Parents are a whole different species when it comes to sleep. Rule of thumb: If you cannot sacrifice 8 hours of sleep during the night, then you’re not cut off to become a parent just yet. Every mom and dad knows that being a new parent is the true meaning of sleep deprivation. Trust me, I know. I had a baby who literally wakes up every hour and just won’t agree to any trick I try based on what I learned off books and websites.
There are some things, though, that I can share with you which are generally basic even though baby sleep training is a very complex topic. Like adults, there is such a thing as a newborn sleeping schedule. The sleep cycle applies to every age. But keep in mind that each schedule will be a little different through each stages. In addition, I can share other useful items that can help you with this new journey that you and your baby will go through. So let us take it one step at a time and start with the basics.
Baby Sleep Training
Sleep training is basically you training your little ones to fall asleep and stay asleep all throughout the night. Now keep in mind at all times that each sleep training progress differs from one baby to another. Some can easily cope up with the change and some have a hard time adjusting. So a lot of patience will surely be needed.
As proper sleep training should begin by 4-6 months, newborns can be taught to distinguish day and night starting as early as 2 weeks. Since newborns at this age are beginning to have “awake” times, they can sense through their environment by seeing and hearing.
Baby Sleep Training Methods – Getting Your Newborn To Sleep
You can help your baby’s internal clock by showing them the difference between day and night. That is, by letting more light into the house during the daytime. Open the windows and curtains; let the natural sunshine come into the house. It also helps when you take your newborn out during sunrise for her daily dose of vitamin D. Don’t be afraid to be loud. You can do your household chores and talk around the baby. Let her know that this is the time to be awake, but don’t be too loud that they won’t get any sleep at all.
During nighttime, however, be as quiet as possible and dim the lights. If possible, turn off all the lights. This will signal your baby’s brain to produce melatonin (the sleeping hormone) that will make them sleepy. If you are a breastfeeding mom, lay down with your baby. Breastfeeding and comfort sucking helps your baby sleep for longer. By getting accustomed to this, they will get used to sleeping at longer stretches during the night. White noise machines and lullabies also work too, to get your baby into a calmer state.
As much as possible, don’t resort to rocking your baby to sleep. If you start, you won’t be able to stop. Find other ways to help her fall asleep such as playing soft music/white noise, using swaddles, cuddling or breastfeeding. Lay her down before she’s too sleepy and tired. Overtired babies take much more time to fall asleep, just like adults. Also, lay her down as soon as you see her becoming sleepy. Let her have her naps during the daytime because contrary to our beliefs that the longer they’re awake during the day, they’ll make up for it during nighttime. Nope. It’s the opposite. They need naps to have a peaceful transition, thus avoiding mood swings, over-tiredness and irritability.
Baby Sleeping Training Partners by the Month
Now that you know how this training goes, it is time to know how long it can take. Each month that your baby grows will show improvements and adjustments that you can obviously observe. Now take note that not all babies will undergo the same changes. But in general, these are the changes that you can expect them to undergo.
Sleep Training Your 3 Month Old Baby
Though newborns have unpredictable patterns, it gets easier as time goes by. They develop their own sleeping patterns based off on their environment. This is what we can usually expect for the first 3 months of a babies’ life. Newborns typically sleep in 2-4 hour naps, as they will only wake up to feed. As they get older, naps will become shorter and their nighttime sleep would become longer until such time that they can sleep through the night.
Sleep Training Your 9 Month Old Baby
Now, once we get to the sleep training the 4-6 months old babies, parents start sleep training. They do certain methods to help their babies fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Remember that every baby is different. Some may be more at ease on specific methods, while some cannot be trained at all. But as babies grow, their body clocks will eventually fall into a good rhythm. You just have to be very patient and strong physically and emotionally.
Once we have reached and have passed these touch-and-go first months, we now come to sleep training 9 months old babies. This is the time when they start to get used to the idea of them sleeping the whole night. Of course, there are still some who have trouble adjusting to it, but the longer the training goes, the better they will come with it.
Sleep Training Your Year Old Baby
Once you get to sleep train a 1 year old baby, you have lesser fusses, tantrums and sleepless hours of the night and more peaceful and calm sleep. By now your little one has more or less have the “sleeping patter” you have instilled to them in their sub consciousness. They will automatically know what time to sleep and when to wake up without waking-up in the middle of the night.
Infant Sleep Regression
Keep in mind all the time that there is always a great possibility that your little ones will undergo sleep regression. Sleep regression can be caused by several different factors and triggers that can interrupt your baby’s quite nights.
The first factor, and the most common of all, is when they are sick. Anyone has a hard time sleeping when they feel ill, and babies are no exception. In fact, they feel more and are more sensitive to illness. Add to the fact that they still do not know how to release their anger, frustration and pain in a healthy way, they resort to crying nonstop.
This is also the same reason why they regress when they are teething. That uneasiness, pain and irritability they feel when their tooth erupts are enough to drive them to a crying spree. So you have to be prepared for these common health scenarios.
When it comes to external factors that can cause sleep regression, we also have the most common denominator which is your little one’s change in sleeping time or method and most especially during vacations. Babies are not that adapt to sudden changes that is why when a small alteration has been made (like late sleep or change in environment) they react with sleep regression.
Not to worry though, these sleep regression is just temporary. Just continue your usual night time routine and keep your baby on the right schedule and they will eventually return to their sleep pattern. You can expect this problem to be resolved within a day or two. If you are lucky that you baby is well trained, they won’t have any sleep regression issues at all.
Infant Sleep Positioner: The Best Position for Your Baby
Newborn babies are not that fond of moving around too much. They grew up in a very tight space for nine months. During that time period, they have to carefully move around just find their comfortable position. That is why they mimic this pattern even when they are already out of the womb. But do you have any other options when it comes to their sleeping positions? Let’s find out.
1.) Can Newborn Sleep On Side?
The answer is, yes and no. During my research a few years ago, I learned that getting your baby in side position while sleeping is a no-no. Pediatricians are concerned that a baby in a side position may roll over onto her stomach, thus being the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Personally, though, it can be done. Being on your back for long periods is also not healthy. You may or may not have noticed that being in this position can cause your back to heat up. What I do with my newborn baby is that I put a small pillow to serve as a wedge to tilt her a little. This will cause air to circulate to avoid overheating.
2.) Newborn Sleep On Stomach
This is, without question, a no-no, unless you’re doing it for just a few minutes with intense supervision. Do not put your baby at risk by not following simple guidelines. Sleeping on your stomach can cause shortness of breath and may totally cut off your air supply.
It’s worse for newborns because they can’t maneuver their own bodies if they’re beginning to feel uncomfortable. One exception to this rule is if the newborn sleeps on his mom/dad. Newborns need warmth to regulate their own body temperatures, and being closer to a parent is both soothing and comfortable.
What Should Newborn Sleep In
Babies wouldn’t have a good night’s sleep if they’re wearing uncomfortable clothes. As a parent, you have to be sensitive to your baby’s needs especially when it comes to clothing. If your baby is one of the more overly sensitive ones, then you need to focus more on smaller details. This includes the texture and type of cloth, the coverage, the tags, and the right fit. Be more attentive and see to it that the clothes are very comfortable like they’re wearing nothing.
The Right Fabric
First, choose the softer and smoother fabrics. This includes cotton, polyester or cotton/polyester blends. More unique fabrics include fleece, cashmere and bamboo. Choose fabrics that are perfect for the season. Remove all tags and unnecessary inserts before putting it on your baby. Last but not the least, choose the right size. If possible, choose a larger size than your baby’s for comfort and air circulation.
Newborn Sleep Gowns-The Best Baby Sleepwear for the Night
Newborn sleep gowns are one of the most comfortable choices for your little one. It is form fitting on top and looser on the bottom part. The bottom part is loose so that newborns can still move their legs comfortably. It also has an easy access for diaper changing especially during the night.
Keep Your Baby Guarded at All Times-Baby Sleep Monitors That Saves Lives
The most feared moment in each time you sleep train your baby is knowing if they are safe. It is hard to do so if you are not allowed to enter their room to keep the training effective. This is where the life saving baby monitors step in. I included this item in this guide because your baby monitor will be your eyes and ears when you are not with your baby.
Thankfully, with today’s technology and safety factors, there are a lot of baby monitors that can be bought to help your baby sleep soundly and safely while you also sleep at peace. Each baby monitor offers different functionalities but is all made to perform their primary job, and that is to give you a clear view and sound of what is happening to your baby while you are not around. If you are planning to check out some good quality monitors, there are a lot of great baby monitor list that you can choose from. Not only will these monitors provide safety and security but the can also help put your baby to sleep with lullabies, hypnotic light shows and more.
Breastfeeding Schedule For Newborn
When it comes to breastfeeding, there is no specific schedule. The beauty of breastfeeding is that you can give it on demand, without worrying about over-feeding. Overfeeding doesn’t really happen during breastfeeding because the baby eats what he can, whenever he wants it. If your baby is a deep sleeper, though, or not very hungry, the general rule is breastfeeding every 2-3 hours. Newborn babies get quite hungry faster because they have small stomachs, so see to it that you feed them within the right hours. Newborn feeding schedule week by week doesn’t differ very much because the schedule only changes after a few months, though growth spurt can be a great factor.
For exclusively pumping moms, their babies should consume breastmilk within the “1-1.5 oz. rule”. This rule means feeding your baby 1-1.5 ounce of milk times the number of hours of interval. For example, if it has been 3 hours since his last feeding, then you should give him 3-4.5 ounce of milk. This rule applies to pumping moms who are either working or who just wants to exclusively pump.
The newborn feeding schedule for formula fed babies is different, though. They have a specific feeding schedule to follow to ensure that they’re receiving the right amount of milk. Formula-fed newborns need to feed every 3-4 hours. So keeping track with your feeding can greatly help in figuring out your own newborn sleeping schedule.
Newborn Sleeping FAQ’s
- How long should a newborn sleep during the day?
- Newborns sleep in short bursts of 2-3 hours a day and they wake up only to feed. Some newborns can stay awake for a few minutes before dozing off again. Also, have some expectations that a newborn sleep all day and cry all night. This might happen if your baby is overwhelmed by her new environment where it’s too quiet (inside the womb is a very loud place), or if she’s a little gassy.
- Where should a newborn sleep during the day?
- In most cultures, babies have their own cribs from birth until toddler years. But in other homes, co-sleeping is becoming more common so babies sleep on the bed. They can also have their own bassinet or rocker for ease of travel.
- Is my newborn sleeping too much?
- Some newborn babies tend to be a deep sleeper. Moms who have babies like these are mostly confused as to why or what they should do. This is fairly normal. But watch out for other signs because excessive sleep can be a symptom of jaundice. Jaundice is a condition wherein there are excessive bilirubin levels in a baby’s blood. This is a normal condition but should also be treated before getting worse. If you think you’re baby is a little too drowsy, ask a pediatrician.
- A newborn’s internal clock is not yet in rhythm. It is normal for a newborn to sleep all day and be up all night. But don’t fret, everything will come into the right timing soon.
- When do babies sleep through the night without feeding?
- Believe it or not, this depends entirely on your baby. Some may start as early as 4 months, while some can last until 3 years of age. 4 months, though, is too early, because you have to continue feeding your baby through the night to make sure she’s not hungry. Babies who can sleep through the night at this age without feeding might be a heavy sleeper and can cause malnourishment if not fed continuously.
- What is considered sleeping through the night?
- It is considered sleeping through the night when your baby starts sleeping continuously during nighttime (the internal clock is already correct & crying or making sounds only for feeding.
- When do babies start sleeping longer than 3 hours?
- This also depends entirely on your baby. Some babies are light sleepers, and others are deep sleepers. Deep sleepers can sleep at 4-5 hours per nap, but this commonly starts at 2 months when they can feel fullness for longer.
- How much do two-week-old babies sleep?
- Newborn babies until 3-4 months of age have the same total sleeping hours of 14-17. 8-9 hours during nighttime and 7-9 total number of hours (divided into 3-5 naps) during the daytime.
- When do babies sleep through the night naturally?
- Again, this depends on the baby’s newborn sleeping schedule. Some babies can start as early as 6 weeks (waking up only to feed), but these are rarer cases. Expect your baby to naturally sleep during the night at the 3-4/5-6 month mark.
Baby Sleep Training is a “Learning Moment”
That ends our short yet fully packed guide to your first sleep training experience. Always remember that patience is a must when you plan to start the training. Also, avoid comparing your baby’s progress with another. Remember, each baby has their own special course of growth and we should honor and encourage it. Another thing that you need to expect and accept is that this training is definitely not a walk in the park. It will be hard not only for your baby but also for you. Try to fight the urge to calm them when they cry and allow them to learn that they have to sleep through the night and without you.
Sleep training is a very vital “learning moment” for your little ones, so make sure they are as comfortable and as calm as possible when you do it. Picking the right clothes, the right night routine, the right sleep time, the right room temperature, the right lighting and even the right sound will help your baby adjust more comfortably and faster.
Lastly, my final words of advice when doing this training is to make them feel as much love as possible. It is hard for your babies to be alone without you especially at night, so make sure before your leave them; you shower them with affection and love. Once they wake up form a good nights sleep, praise them and shower them with love even more for a job well done.
By doing these simple yet very meaningful things, you will be able to assure your baby that what you are doing is for their own good. It will also show them that you are proud of the accomplishment that they were able to do on their own while the both of you are undergoing their baby sleep training. Having all these reminders kept not only by memory but by heart will ensure you of a smooth, fast and progressive end result.