Weeks 5 – 10
One of the biggest and most stressed about developments throughout baby’s first year is how your baby is sleeping. You’ll hear a parent brag that little Tommy was sleeping through the night at two weeks (cue the eye rolls) or scare you by exaggerating that they haven’t slept in three years. Every baby is different, but there are some general sleep habits you should know regarding your two-month old:
- By about six weeks, most babies start to sleep for shorter periods during the day and longer stretches at night. (If your baby is still waking up every two hours, don’t panic. It’s unfortunate for you, but it still happens.) In general, most babies will take at least two to four naps during the day and be awake for a whopping six to 10 hours a day.
- Expect your baby to wake for at least two nighttime feedings.
- Instead of the short bursts of REM sleep, now your baby will start having longer periods of deep sleep.
- Pay close attention to your baby’s sleep signals. The days of them passing out whenever and wherever they feel may be behind you. Now it’s up to you to notice the cues (eye rubs, pulling at the ears, red eyes, etc.) and put your baby to bed. Some parents confuse a baby’s overtired behavior as nighttime colic because they don’t realize that their baby has been giving them sleepy signals for hours.
- Some parents find it more useful to watch the clock, not sleepiness cues (because eye rubbing and yawning can mean your baby is overtired). The best timing practice is to put your baby down for a nap after 90 minutes of awake time. It seems like a short window, but noticing the 90 minute mark for naps is one of the number one aids for daytime sleep in the early months.
- Although your baby is starting to develop a schedule, starting a regimented sleep training routine isn’t yet necessary. However, if you’d like to start developing healthy sleep habits, try putting your baby down while he or she is drowsy but still awake so that your baby can learn how to self-soothe. Some experts believe that rocking or nursing babies to sleep, even at this young age, is fostering their dependency on sleep aids. (Others believe that newborns should be nurtured and comforted no matter what, and if rocking them to sleep helps, then so be it. Follow whichever philosophy instinctively feels right.)
- Pacifiers are associated with a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some parents welcome the soothing nature of a pacifier (read: less crying), while others prefer not to introduce something that might become an addictive habit. If you’re not sure which path to take, try giving a pacifier for SIDS reasons. If your baby doesn’t like it, don’t push it. If she does, allow it, then nix the habit between 3 and 6 months, when it’s easier for a baby to move on and forget.
- If you haven’t done so already, it’s never too late to start a bedtime routine, such as: bath, story, feeding, bed. Dim the lights and play soothing music to further instill the concept of bedtime.
- Continue to put your baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the SIDS risk.