You are past the first three or four months of your new little bundle of joy coming into the world. You have had people telling you that your little one will start sleeping better at 12 weeks... Four months... Definitely by six months right!?
Yes, becoming a parent automatically means we will no doubt have a reduction in sleep. But how much of a reduction, and for how long? That is the million-dollar question for sleep routine.
But guess what mamas and dadas? It is okay to want more sleep for you and your baby. From birth, we help and support all aspects of our baby’s development. We do tummy time, singing, flashcards, chatting, crawling, walking, weaning – the list is endless. And sleep is no different.
Where do I start!?
Anywhere from four to six months (or older) is a perfect time to start getting into more of a daily sleep routine.
I know the word “schedule” or “routine” has a bit of a bad rep, but, it could easily work around what works for you and your family. Believe me, when you are in a good “napping, eating and bedtime” routine with your little one, it is so freeing!
Here are a few beginning steps for you:
- Be prepared– there is literally nothing worse than ongoing exhaustion, so sometimes it is very hard to commit to making even small changes, because we are just too tired. Being prepared and committed helps us to be consistent, and therefore, massively increases our chances to reach our sleep goals.
- Keep a log – how much sleep is your baba actually getting? Do you know? Truth be told, a lot of parents don’t know (including myself back in the day!). If you keep track of everything (especially when we can’t even remember what we did 30 minutes ago for the most part!), you will be able to gauge this more easily.
- Learn your baby’s sleep needs – our babies need a lot of sleep to aid their development. For example a six-month-old needs anywhere from 14-16 hours in 24 hours; while a one-year-old needs 13-14 hours sleep in 24 hours. It doesn’t change that dramatically; I have info on my Instagram and Facebook page about Sleep Needs for all ages.
- Watch for your baba’s sleep cues – this can be hard and it takes time. Our babas are only able to stay awake for a certain amount of time, dependent on their age, before becoming overtired. This changes as our babas grow and develop. However, if you keep an eye on your baba’s sleep cues – what time do they start? Rubbing eyes, becoming irritable, and losing interest. The general rule of thumb, is that you want to try and put baba down BEFORE they start showing these signs. Once these signs start to show, your little one is more than likely already overtired and this can cause further challenges.
- Sleep Environment - At six months and beyond, our babas are becoming much more aware of their external environments. So creating a sleep environment that is conducive for a healthy sleep is very important as our babas growth. Examples of this are: a dark room, stationary in their sleep space (i.e., most naps in their cot/co-sleeper where possible), temperature to be correct (16-20 degrees Celsius), and dressed appropriately.
For more info and to receive my free EBook on first steps to better sleep, you can sign up on my Slumber Baby website.