Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
So, baby’s sleep — and, by extension, yours — might be all over the place, and you’re probably wondering if you’re ever going to sleep through the night again (good news: you will, bad news: not yet). But you’ll be glad to know that baby is starting to produce the hormone melatonin, which will enable her eventually to separate day from night and get on a circadian rhythm. That’s something.
If you’re looking for ways to prime your baby for independent sleep habits, there are a few things you can do now. No, you’re not going to sleep train her with actual night weaning (baby will be ready for that around 5 months and/or 15 lbs – just in case you have a wall calendar where you count down the days.). Right now you’re just prepping.
During the day, let in a lot of bright sunlight. If baby has mostly been sleeping on you, start placing her in the bassinet or crib for some independent sleep. (It may help to place your hand on her body as she falls asleep – until she gets acclimated to the new space.)
Start paying attention to how much baby sleeps during the day. You don’t want to let her sleep too much, so do wake her at the 3-hour mark, and if she’s hard to rouse, don’t be afraid to get her a little uncomfortable; some fresh air on bare skin does wonders. By the same token, depriving baby of sleep during the daytime to make her sleep better at night is not a thing, unfortunately; it’ll only increase her cortisol levels and give her a second wind come evening. #nope
In the evenings, establish a consistent bedtime routine. Create a wind-down routine that may include a bath, massage, feeding, song, and book. Keep lighting dim. The goal is consistency, so come up with something that’s sustainable and stick with it. Start the routine earlier than you think necessary so she’s not too overtired to get through it; many parents aim for a bedtime in the 7-8 pm window. Pretty soon baby will be recognizing and responding to these calming “slow down” cues at the end of the day. And so will you.