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Sleep schedule for an infant?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I need to know how often and when an infant should sleep. I am not interested in forcing a schedule, just wondering when would be good times to encourage napping during the day to promote sleep at night.


I don't care if she sleeps through the night, but I would like her to sleep at night some! Ruby is 5 weeks old.


Yesterday she wanted to sleep from 3pm to 7pm, and then was up all night long! She got about one hour sleep around 3 am. Other than that she might have dozed for 20 min or so here and there.


It is noon now, and she is falling asleep. I feel like she should have a nap now, but I also wonder if these midday naps are keeping her up at night and maybe I should pick her up? But don't infants need to sleep? Everyone told me babies sleep a lot, but this one doesn't. So now I wonder if I should be waking her up when she naps so she will be tired at night? The lack of sleep is really pushing me over the edge. I know there are books about encouraging sleep but I just cannot envision when I would be able to get to the library and I need help. I try to sleep during the day if she takes a nap but I cannot fall asleep, it's like I am so tired I cannot settle my brain anymore.


I do  keep the house bright in the day and walk around with her to try and get her on a day night schedule naturally, but it isn't working.

post #2 of 6

I think you should keep doing what you're doing - just my two cents! Mine didn't start figuring out "nighttime" until about 6-8 weeks, and I think this is normal, even for babies whose parents try to put them on a schedule. I think if you keep trying to distinguish between night and day (lights on/off, activity/quiet), your little will soon figure it out. Another thing we found helpful was to get out of the house at least once during the day, the activity helps to establish "daytime". If it conflicts with a nap, you can wear the baby and she'll still be able to snooze if she needs to.


And I'm sure other moms will chime in with this, but a well rested baby actually sleeps more than a tired one. It seems a bit backward, but it's very true. You definitely want to encourage napping as much as possible. At that age, we were offering a nap at least every 1.5 hours, sometimes sooner if she needed it.


Swaddling can help very much as well . . . . Hang in there!

post #3 of 6

I think you might find some good insight in "The No-Cry Sleep Solution."  Just the chapters about the facts.  Like, on average, a 1 month old takes 3 naps for a total of 6-7 hours plus sleeps 8.5-10 hours at night, for total sleep of 15-16 hours.  AVERAGE, though.  We also had a baby who just wasn't napping more than 20 min at a time and would sleep 6-7 hours at night.  We found by doing more to make a sleepy environment we helped him overcome this.  Swaddling, turning lights down, having a sleep-time routine, noticing the signs of sleepiness... it all helped.  Either way, HANG IN THERE MAMA!  It will get better!





post #4 of 6

My first son was always all over the place with naps. But DS2 has always had more of a schedule. In your shoes I would try a nap after 1-2 hours of being awake. Dim room, nursing, rocking or bouncing. Give it 1/2 an hour and if baby still doesn't want to sleep, wait another 1/2 an hour and try again. As an example: baby wakes up at 6am. At 7:30, try a nap. Baby wakes up again at 9:30, try a nap at 11am. At 5 weeks, your baby will still be all over the place, though, so no need to stress over it.


I also realized around 3 months that DS2 wanted to go to bed early. Like, really early. 6:30pm early. Of course, he woke up to nurse often (still does, at 13 months) but he pretty quickly settled into this schedule-- which he really determined himself.


Good luck!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

whew, thanks for the feedback. I had no idea how exhausting having an infant would be, it is just something else!


We tried two formal naps today, one went well, the other has been delayed a bit due to I think gas, but we are having some unspecified fussyness that isn't responding to the usual methods.

post #6 of 6

At 5 weeks old, Cecilia couldn't be awake more than an hour without needing sleep. In fact, it was generally under an hour. I agree with Marylizah's advice except that I would try way sooner than 1.5-2 hours at such a young age.


I also don't think that waking a baby up so that they sleep better at night is feasible this early on. In my experience, it just results in a very cranky baby! I don't think that started working for us until recently, and my girl is almost a year old. I still do it as rarely as is possible!

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