Schedule. It is an intimidating word isn’t it? It sounds rigid and definitely not personalized. When it comes to babies the schedule couldn’t be any more different from what I have just described. A baby’s schedule (at least the way I schedule) is made off of baby’s wake time. What I mean by that is the length of time that baby is awake before she becomes over tired. Often times they are so sensitive to this time, that even being 5 minutes over their optimal wake time will lead to an over tired baby which leads to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. (Please see guidelines at the end of this post for optimal wake time for you baby.) Not to mention the fact that in the first 6-8 months of life the wake times will vary around 15 minutes or so. You will know that baby was awake for too long, if you have a hard time getting her to sleep. Stay tuned for my post on reading babies tired cues to help you find your optimal wake times.
Many experts tell parents to put the baby down for a nap when she is drowsy but awake. First time moms, or even second or third times moms find this near impossible. “She just screams!” they say. Well if this is practiced from the very beginning and baby is put in crib, bassinet, rock ‘n’ play or whatever you have a few minutes before the wake time is up you may find that baby babbles or plays until she falls asleep on her own.
Once baby drops to two naps, nap times will become more predictable. At this time it is safe to introduce a time schedule, for many moms babe will have done this for you. This will help give structure to you baby’s day and make putting down for a nap a pleasant time instead of a fight.
Here are some baby sleep guidelines to help you come up with your little one’s schedule!