When your new baby comes home from the hospital you may be surprised at the fact that your baby is just as happy to be awake at 2 am as at 2 pm. Babies aren’t aware of time at this stage and sleep when they are sleepy and wake up when they are hungry or need to be changed. As a result, parents must create a schedule that is strictly followed so that baby can learn when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to play.
Generally, parents should expect to have their infant on a schedule by the time they are 2-3 months old. The bedtime routine should be quite and calm and show your baby it is time for sleep. This might include a warm bath followed by a gentle massage, clean diaper, and warm pajamas. Settling down to read a book or two, sing some songs, or just rocking might be part of the bedtime routine. There is not a routine that is set in stone for parents to follow, just whatever works best for the family.
Some experts recommend putting your baby in their crib drowsy so they learn to go to sleep on their own. Others recommend putting baby to sleep using the methods that work best for your family. There are methods like the Ferber method and that includes letting baby cry it out until he learns to sleep on his own. Then there are other methods that don’t involve crying. Nevertheless, some babies will need the closeness to a parent at night and will prefer to co-sleep or sleep in the same room as their mom and dad.
Regardless of the routine you find that works for your family make sure you follow it consistently each and every night. When baby knows what to expect the entire family will benefit and get more sleep. The first few months are hard; especially when mom has to go back to work after her maternity leave is up. Nevertheless, taking one day at a time is best and do your best to remain flexible. Sleep schedules can change, babies get sick, and the best thing to do is respond the best way possible to keep everyone happy and healthy.