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When do you start a sleep/wake/nap schedule?

My baby girl is 5 weeks old and I have heard some conflicting information. Some say she should already be on a sleep schedule and others say not. I've just been letting her sleep and wake whenever she wants. Is that OK right now?

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Asked by hollysmom77 at 9:09 AM on Jan. 13, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (9)
  • Yes let her sleep when she wants to, you shouldn't really start anything until she starts sleeping 6 or more hours at night, then you can have a schedule. She is growing a lot now and sleep is important and you should never make a tired baby stay up.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 9:14 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • yes, it is fine. My baby sets her schedule. It will change often during growth spurts, teething, and milestones. She's four months old now. She does night wake to nurse and for a diaper change, but I can sleep through most of it and she resumes sleep when she's done..

    Answer by amileegirl at 9:16 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • i feel that until the baby starts sleeping through the night, and napping less during the day there is no need to start a sleep schedule. Although there is nothing wrong with beginning a routine. For example, a bath at the same time every night, or every other night depending on how often you bathe her. Once you notice less sleep during the day and sleeping for longer than 8 hours a night, a good routine will keep that schedule going. It helps not only baby but you as well.

    Answer by xtwilightx at 9:26 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • I started mine on a sleep/wake schedule around 2 weeks. I think it was beneficial in getting them to sleep through the night (all 4 of them were sleeping at least 8 hours/night by 2 months). During the day I basically continued the same feeding schedule they had started at the hospital (breastfeeding every 3 hours), followed by some awake time and then a short nap before time to eat again. At night I would let them sleep as long as they were able and when they woke I would feed them and put them right back to bed.
    There is a really good article in this months Parents magazine about babies sleeping which stresses how important a schedule is and how much better babies who are on a schedule generally sleep.

    Answer by missanc at 10:12 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • For quite awhile I just let my daughter go to sleep when she was tired. Basically she would fall asleep where she was. She's almost 5 months and about 2 or 3 weeks ago she stopped napping as good. She would nap for maybe 20 minutes a couple times a day. Then come 6 at night she was a grouch with a capital G. So I started her on a napping schedule. Pretty much 2.5 to 3 hours after she's been awake, I put her down for a nap. Her morning nap she usually does pretty well about sleeping a decent amount (1-2 hours) but then the afternoon nap, she isn't as good and sometimes I have to just keep trying to get her to go back to sleep. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. She goes to bed between 8-9 PM and going to bed for the night she is really good about and will sleep for 7-9 hours before she wakes up again to eat and then goes back to sleep until about 7-8 AM.

    Answer by Christina807 at 10:26 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • I kind of let my baby set her own sleep schedule the first 5-6 months, and after that things got a little more routine. As an infant I would watch for patterns, like I noticed almost daily my DD would fall asleep at 11:00, and again late afternoon, the other times of day were hit or miss on how long or often she would sleep. I watched her to learn her signs so I would know when she was getting tired. I did eventually have to help her learn to fall asleep on her own, but didn't do that until about six months. I watched the DVD of The Happiest Baby on the Block which puts forth the premise that babies are basically in the fourth trimester for their first three months of life and you just kind of have to go with their needs for comfort, food, sleep, etc.. That approach worked well for me. When I was exhausted I would remind myself that soon she would be sleeping on a schedule- and sure enough she was eventually, by about six mos.

    Answer by MaryMW at 12:20 PM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • I always let my baby sleep when he was tired, wake when he wasn't, etc. Don't listen to the baby trainers. Your baby knows when she needs to sleep and will let you know. :) She will eventually just set her own schedule,which will change as she grows and her needs change.


    Answer by PhilsBabyMama at 12:29 PM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • If you follow her cues, both of you will be less crazy. More sleep is lost by trying to make babies sleep than would be if parents would leave the kids to sleep when they know they need to.f

    Answer by gdiamante at 5:13 PM on Jan. 13, 2010

  • I have let my son sleep whenever he wanted till a few days ago. I don't really have him on any schedule other than for bed, other wise he naps as much and as often through out the day. He's 11 weeks and is doing great with sleeping through the night, wakes up a few times so far for feedings and diaper change but other than that he's sleeping about 12 hours straight. All I do is put him back in his crib.
    If anything just get her started on a bed time routine so that way she knows after a while that this is leading up to bed time so she'll start winding down from the day.

    Answer by Jessie1689 at 6:44 PM on Jan. 13, 2010

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