Ever found yourself pacing the floor at midnight, desperately trying to get your baby back to sleep? You're not alone. It's a familiar scene in many households with new babies. But take heart — it doesn't have to be this way.
The baby sleep experts at Angel Kids Pediatrics work with parents of infants and toddlers to establish baby sleep schedules. With nine office locations across Jacksonville, Amelia Island, and Saint Johns, Florida, our pediatricians understand how exhausting caring for a newborn can be, but we also know that a baby sleep schedule can make things a whole lot easier.
Here, we unpack the secrets to establishing a proper sleep schedule for your baby, ensuring those midnight waltzes become a thing of the past.
Your new bundle of joy should be sleeping for about 16-20 hours a day, while the average toddler should get 11-14 hours of sleep. When it comes to creating an optimal sleep schedule for your baby, consistency is key.
It’s important to consider your little one’s natural rhythms when creating a schedule to help them feel rested and energized during waking periods. That means establishing consistent nap times, bedtimes, and wake-up times.
Why is a good sleep routine so important? Babies have tiny bodies and growing brains. They need sleep for development, growth, and overall well-being. Plus, a well-rested baby means well-rested parents.
So, how can you create a cozy sleep environment that encourages your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep? Here are some insider tips.
Make sure your baby is getting enough food throughout the day. Babies need regular feedings to maintain energy. Hunger can lead to restlessness at night and difficulty falling asleep. Be sure to provide ample opportunity to feed throughout the day so your newborn gets enough energy.
For your toddler, a full tummy and a calming pre-sleep ritual like a warm bath, a lullaby, or a bedtime story can help set the stage for sleep. Make bedtime a special routine. Set the tone for sleep by establishing a calming, consistent nighttime routine that includes baths, stories, and snuggles. This will help your baby’s body prepare for rest and make it easier to fall asleep each night at the same time.
While we advise against all screen use for babies and toddlers, if you do offer screen time to your toddler, avoid using phones, computers, televisions, or tablets for at least two hours before putting your baby to bed. The blue light emitted from these devices can stimulate the brain and make it difficult for babies to settle down and sleep.
Create a bedtime routine and stick with it. Having a bedtime routine can help your baby know it's time for sleep, so create one that works for you and your family. Reading stories, dimming the lights, or playing calming music are great activities to include in your bedtime ritual. The more routine it becomes, the easier it is for your baby to wind down and drift off.
Find a routine that works for the whole family. Start by creating a schedule that allows everyone to get adequate rest and work around any commitments or responsibilities you may have. This means if mom needs to leave for work earlier in the morning, then plan bedtime accordingly.
A quiet, dark room can do wonders. Ensure that your baby’s sleep area is temperature-controlled, clutter-free, and outfitted with soft, breathable fabrics for sleepwear and bedding. If your baby still wakes up at night or has difficulty going back to sleep, Consider using a white noise machine or a fan to drown out disruptive noises.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Remember that all babies are different. Your little one will need a period of adjustment as you create a new sleep routine, and that’s okay. Be patient and understanding with yourself and your baby as you both get used to the new schedule.
The benefits of a solid sleep schedule aren't just about avoiding late-night crying sessions. Regular, quality sleep aids in your baby's mental and physical development. It also helps improve their mood and attention span, and even boosts learning.
If you want more help with your baby’s sleeping routine, schedule your appointment today by calling 904-224-KIDS (5437) or using our online form.