Help! My baby is up all night and sleeps all day. How can I get him to switch his schedule?
Let’s not forget that babies had their own routine in the womb, long before they knew that daytime and nighttime are characterized by periods of light and dark. In fact, newborns might be more active at night because, while in your womb, your daytime activity would rock them to sleep. Luckily, most babies will sort out the difference within a few weeks, but there are certain things you can do in the meantime:
- Start a bedtime routine as early as you can, which usually consists of a bath, baby massage, story, feeding and bed. Don’t forget to dim the lights and create a calm, soothing environment at bedtime.
- Limit your baby’s naps to no more than two or three hours during the day, although it’s not always easy to wake a sleeping baby (at times impossible).
- Don’t try and keep a baby from sleeping all day, however, because an overtired baby will actually sleep less at night.
- Allow your baby to nap in a noisy, light-filled room rather than a darkened bedroom.
- When your baby wakes from a nap, try heading outdoors – or at least have plenty of stimulating playtime.
- At night, keep your baby’s room as dark and quiet as possible.
- A soothing noise machine is also helpful for some babies.
- When your baby wakes at night, keep the room dark and avoid any stimulating cooing and playing.
My baby isn’t feeling well. What do I do about my baby’s schedule?
The most important thing to focus on when your baby is sick is comforting your poor little one. This means getting up throughout the night to wipe a runny nose or soothe a sore tummy, as well as being flexible with feeding. Worry about your baby’s health before anything else. After all, a schedule can always be reestablished.
What do I do during Daylight Savings Time? I’m worried my baby’s schedule will be completely changed.
It’s true that moving the clocks forward or backward an hour can cause a disruption in your baby’s schedule, but luckily, babies adapt after a few days to a week. In some cases your baby might make the new “spring backwards” or “spring forward” time his or her new bedtime, which there’s not much you can do about. The only thing you can do is prepare your baby with a 15-minute earlier or later bedtime for a week before Daylight Savings Time.
How much sleep does my baby need?
Your baby’s sleep needs will change as he or she gets older, so check with our chart on how much your baby needs right now.
My baby is a good sleeper, except that she keeps waking up when she loses her pacifier.
This is a common problem for pacifier-using babies, which can be helped by scattering a few spare ones around the crib. You might also want to have one stashed by your bedside in case of a binkie emergency.
We’re happy that our baby is sleeping through the night, but he’s waking up at the crack of dawn! What can we do to push his wakeup time later?
While babies do tend to rise a little earlier than we’d like, an extremely early wakeup call can feel impossible:
- Put heavy blankets or room darkening shades over your baby’s windows to block out dawn’s early light.
- If the morning garbage truck or honking horns are waking up your little one, try a white noise machine to block out the street commotion.
- If your baby wakes up at 5 a.m. only to take a nap at 6:30 a.m., try pushing that first nap later in 10-minute intervals. When your baby is eventually napping at 8 a.m., then it will push the nighttime sleep longer.
- Don’t rush to your baby’s crib at the first sign of his or her waking. It would surprise you how often your baby will either go back to sleep or quietly roll around for a while.
I’m breastfeeding my baby on a schedule, but I’m concerned she’s not getting enough to eat. How do I know?
Your baby will most likely let you know if he or she isn’t getting enough food, but we understand how you’re feeling. It’s not like you have any type of measurement to gauge exactly how much your infant is eating, so it can definitely feel unnerving – especially for first-time parents. Here are some signs that your baby is getting enough to eat:
- Your baby is gaining weight. This is the biggest indicator, but you’ll have to wait until your baby’s monthly check-ups to really be sure.
- Your baby is producing enough wet diapers and stool for his or her age. Newborns should have 6 to 8 wet diapers and at least 2 to 4 stools a day. See the general guidelines on our Printable Feeding and Diaper Log.
- Your breasts feel softer after your baby is done nursing.
- Your baby seems relaxed and happy after a feeding is over.
I’m concerned that my formula-fed baby isn’t getting enough to eat.
Unlike your breastfeeding peers, you have the advantage of measuring your baby’s food:
- Read our Feeding and Sleeping Chart to see what the general feeding guidelines are by age.
- Then have a look at our Printable Feeding and Diaper Log to see if your baby is producing enough wet diapers and stool for his or her age.
- The biggest indicator is if your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, which you should discuss at your next doctor’s appointment.
Is it possible to overfeed my baby?
Yes, it is possible to give your baby too much formula or breast milk, which you’ll notice when your baby:
- Vomits after a feeding. (Not spitting up, which is completely normal.)
- Curls in his or her legs and/or cries out in pain.
- Gains too much weight, which your doctor can check for you.