Sleep Routine Ideas to Get Your Baby Sleeping Well

Sleep Routine Ideas to Get Your Baby Sleeping Well. A sleep routine helps your baby know it is time for sleep. Keep sleep routines consistent each time.

Mom putting baby to bed in bassinet

It is a good idea to have a solid routine before sleep time to signal your little one that it is time to sleep.

When you are setting up a baby sleep schedule, a baby sleep routine is vital to having a consistent schedule. A routine signals that it is time to sleep, so having a good sleep routine will help baby sleep for a full sleep cycle and get enough hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

Below are some ideas for a naptime routine and a bedtime routine so you can aid your little one in going to sleep quickly.

Nap Routine Ideas

Your daytime sleep routine can be different from your bedtime routine–or it can be the exact same.

I prefer the least amount of “show” prior to a nap–especially now knowing that the older they get, the more tactics they use to delay bedtime.

I want to have as few tactics in place to start with because believe me, your child will do everything he can think of to make naptime come a little later. A drink of water, a story, a hug, a kiss, a song, one more song, the last song…you get the picture. They are smart!

There isn’t one magical sleep routine that is best for all babies. There are a lot of things you can do and use. You need to find what is best for your baby’s needs and for what makes sense for your family.

Here are some routines I used with my babies to give you ideas.

Newborn Sleep Routines

Newborn babies can be so sleepy that you can’t do much before they drift off to sleep. You do want to start a routine even if your infant is half asleep for it. It is a great way to set up good sleep habits and establish a solid newborn sleep schedule.

Here are some things to definitely include:

  • Diaper change: Baby’s diaper will need to be changed before the nap starts. You do not want your newborn waking early because of a dirty or wet diaper.

Here are some things that might be good to include:

  • Swaddling: Most newborn babies will sleep better if they are swaddled. I would highly recommend you include this in your routine.
  • Gripe Water and/or gas drops: Many newborns get their nap disrupted because of gas pain or hiccups. Gripe water does wonders to get rid of hiccups and gas drops help get rid of gas. I actually used gas drops immediately after a feeding and gripe water while I changed the baby’s diaper right before a nap.
  • Cuddling: Your baby will never be more cuddly than in the newborn months. Enjoy it and get some cuddles in!
  • Lullaby: I always like to sing a lullaby to my babies. I pick a lullaby and sing the same one to my child through the baby months on through toddlerhood, preschool years, and beyond!
  • Infant Massage: Infant massage can be a great part of your nap routine to help calm your baby down and help the baby relax for sleep.
  • White Noise: White noise helps block out noises in the home and neighborhood that might wake baby up from nap during sleep transitions.
  • 4 S’s: The 4 S’s is my favorite way to sleep train baby. It is a no-cry sleep training method that involves setting the room up for sleep, swaddling baby, and sitting with baby until you feel baby is ready to sleep. It is a great way to establish healthy sleep patterns. Read more about this method here.
  • Rock Until Drowsy: With a newborn, many people like to rock their baby to a point of sleepiness before putting them down in the crib. If you choose to do this, you might want to stop it at a young age. You want to move to fully independent sleep when your child is old enough. You don’t want your baby to become dependent on rocking. Only do it if your child needs it.

You then put your infant in her bassinet or crib.

Baby bassinet

Baby Sleep Routines

Here is the routine I used with my nearly 9 month old. It had been the same since birth.

I kissed her and hugged her, etc. Then I put her down in her bed and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to her. Then I told her to sleep well and that I love her and that she is my princess, etc. Then I kiss my fingers and touch her nose.

She smiled at me the whole time.

You want many of the same elements to a sleep routine for a newborn when your child gets 4 months of age and older.

As your baby moves out of newborn months, sleep patterns will be more easily disrupted. She will notice noise more, so white noise will be more important. Light can mess with her sleep, so some blackout curtains or blinds can help with naps and night sleep.

There are two things that will change as your baby gets older. One is the swaddle will be dropped. Another is that your baby will no longer need gripe water or gas drops.

I also like to read to my babies often, so I would sometimes include reading a story with our na routine as they got older, but I couldn’t do it with every baby.

Adding books can take a lot longer, and that can be hard if you have older toddlers or siblings who are waiting for you to be done putting baby down for a nap. If that is the case for you, you can add reading books to playtime.


Toddler Sleep Routines

Here is my routine I used with my 2.5 year old. His routine had evolved over time.

It started the same as my baby routine described above, but as he got older (about 16 months old), he started requesting things.

We read a story for a while, but I curbed that because he was using it as a delay tactic. I also curbed it because I realized once I had the new baby (Kaitlyn) she would have a feeding at 1 and his nap starts at 1. I needed a routine that was consistently under 5 minutes.

I did the hugs, kisses, etc. He got in bed and I sang“Brahma’s Lullaby”( I am kind of sentimental about stuff so I gave each child their own song). As I sang, I rub his back if he was on his belly. Then I told him to have a nice nap, assured him we will play once he got up, and that I love him, etc.

Pay Attention to Wake Windows

As you decide what your nap routine and bedtime routine will be, make sure you keep in mind your baby’s wake windows.

A wake window, or wake time length or awake time, is the amount of time your baby can be awake before needing a nap. Getting wake windows correct helps your baby to fall asleep quickly and easily, sleep through sleep transitions, and take good naps.

Most newborns can only be awake 30-45 minutes, and that includes feeding time. If your baby can only do 40 minutes of wake time length, takes 20 minutes to eat, and you do a 25 minute nap routine, then you are keeping baby awake too long and you need to cut back your routine.

Benefits of Short Nap Routines

If your baby wakes early from nap due to illness, separation anxiety, or a good old sleep regression, a short nap routine can serve you well.

If your baby wakes early from nap, you can go in and re-do the nap routine. This communicates to your baby that it is time for nap.

Having a short nap routine helps you avoid waking your baby up too much or overstimulating your baby.

This is also true of night wakings. If your baby or toddler wakes in the night, you can do a quick sleep routine to communicate “It is still time to sleep!”

Bedtime Routine Ideas

You will want a routine for bedtime also. Having a consistent bedtime routine can really help your baby have solid nighttime sleep.

Bedtime routines are often different from nap routines, and that is a good idea. Babies are smart and will recognize that something different is coming.

With that said, it does not have to be different. It can be the exact same as the nap routine for daytime sleep.

Here are some common elements to bedtime routines for babies.

  • Baths: Many people do their baths at night to settle their children down for the night. I do my baths in the morning so it is not included in my routine, but it could be in yours. If you do a bath at night, you can apply lotion and do some massage at the same time.
  • Bedtime Story: If you do not include stories in your nap routine, I highly recommend you add it to your bedtime routine. With that said, you might need bedtime routines very short. In that case, just make sure you have a time set aside each day for reading stories with your baby. If you do stories, it is wise to either choose a set number of books or set a timer for how long you will read. We did 3 stories from baby through toddlerhood and preschool years until we started reading chapter books. Otherwise, story time can really be drawn out. It is also nice to do it somewhere other than the bed or even the bedroom. Then you read your stories and go off to bed rather than already being there.
  • Pajamas: Most babies take naps in the same clothes they are wearing during the day, although some people do put baby in pajamas for nap time. You will want getting into pajamas as part of your bedtime routine.
  • Prayer: We had a prayer at bedtime with our babies as part of their bedtime routine.

>>>Read: Perfecting Your Babywise Bedtime Routine

Important Elements of Any Baby Sleep Routine

You can do whatever you want for your routines. Just be sure what you do has the following criteria:

  • It is consistent day to day and night to night.
  • It covers the necessities.
  • It is cozy and happy. You don’t want naptime and bedtime to become a battle.
  • You can do it anywhere. You want to be able to go out of town and visit people and places. If you use things specific to your home, you will not have as pleasant of a trip.
  • The length works for the time you have to consistently give (considering other children if you have more than one).

Get a solid sleep routine set up and help your baby have longer stretches of sleep periods both in naps and in might sleep.

Related Posts

For more nap routine ideas, see Sample Nap Routines.

Reader Sleep Routine Questions

  • Salina said…
    Does your daughter cry at nap time or bedtime when you lie her down? My son still does-also almost 9 months and I was wondering if this will always happen. He is fine throughout our routine (read/rock, then sing, hugs, kisses- then I put him down and walk out). He almost immediately starts crying at that point for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes, he has bad days too, like yesterday when he cried and wouldn’t go to sleep for his 2nd nap.
    The Babywise Mom said…
    No, she doesn’t cry at all. She rarely cried past about 6-8 weeks. I do have a friend who did BW from birth and CIO from birth whose son cried for about 5 minutes until somewhere between 1-2 years. So it isn’t unheard of. I would wonder about crying through a nap though. Some babies just need to blow off some steam before sleeping.
  • Sharon said…
    I have a 4 month old who has a pacifier. She is not hooked on it to go to sleep but she will wake in the middle of a nap and if I put the pacifier in she’ll sleep for another hour or hour and a half. If I do CIO how long do I let it go on? She usually does one short nap (45-1 hr) in the morning and by 1 pm she’ll sleep 2-3 hours then a couple of short ones in the evening. My concern about letting her CIO is she may wake my two year old in the room next to hers. How many days until I see results?
    The Babywise Mom said…
    Sharon, That is hard to say. My guess would be 3-14 days, but you never know. Do you have a play yard you can put baby in to sleep somewhere not next to your 2 YO? I understand your not wanting to wake him. Have you gone through a checklist to see if you can first fix why she is waking early? See Troubleshooting nap problems: you can’t move baby to another location and have tried all you can to fix the early waking, you might just continue on as you are and wait for her to “outgrow” the need. I would watch for a dependency on the pacifier and avoid that.
  • sarah said…
    To piggyback off of that…one more question. When do you recommend the last nursing if bedtime is 8? Do I need to do it right before bed as part of the bedtime routine, or can it be earlier, around 7 or so, and if it can, does that mean waketime needs to be earlier?
    The Babywise Mom said…
    Kaitlyn nurses, then is in bed about 30-60 minutes later. She eats solids at that time. So she eats, gets ready for bed, and goes to bed. Exactly when to feed would depend on when the feeding was before that. If you feed at 7, 8 can be bedtime. If you feed at 5:30, then I would definitely do a feeding just before bed.
  • Rachel said…
    My baby is 5.5 weeks old and I was wondering if I am supposed to start putting her down for bed after the 7pm feeding and then waking her for her 10pm feeding and then putting her back down again? We have just been putting her to bed for bedtime after the 10pm feeding, since that was the last one. Thanks for the help, Rachel
    The Babywise Mom said…
    You can do what is best for your family. With my oldest, his bedtime was later since my husband got home from work at 8. As he got older, my husband got a new job and started getting home at 4:30, so his bedtime moved up. With my daughter, her bedtime has always been after the 7ish feeding. If you can do that one, that is the one I would choose 🙂
  • Emily said…
    Should I still do a sleep routine when baby has growth spurts? Baby is napping so much more often!
    The Babywise Mom said…
    Yes! Still do sleep routines even during a growth spurt.
Baby sleep routines pinnable image

This post first appeared on this blog in January 2008

58 thoughts on “Sleep Routine Ideas to Get Your Baby Sleeping Well”

  1. Hi, I am currently training my 14WO daughter to sleep on her own using CIO (I started this past Monday). She sleeps in her playpen for naps and bedtime, which we keep in our room. Should I have started training her in her own crib (in her own room) instead of the playpen? I’m not sure if this will mess up her progress. Any advise would help.Thanks so much!

  2. Hi, just to update: I placed my daughter in her crib (in her own room) for her last nap and bedtime last night. I am a proud mom…she adjusts really well! She still cries a bit when I start her sleep routine, but it’s not the same heartbreaking cry when CIO bootcamp started (which was this past Monday, so we’re on day 5). Thanks again for all the helpful information on this blog! You are a blessing!

  3. Congrats on the improvement! I would say it is good to have baby sleep in her own bed, but it is also good to have her sleep in a different bed in a different room every so often to help her be comfortable when she is sleeping somewhere different. It will depend on her personality. My son didn’t need to sleep in other places, but for my daughter, I think it was good to have her sleep in various places. I still have her take one nap a day in the playpen in my room.

  4. Our bedtime routine for our 6 week old son is nurse, change his diaper and put on pjs, nurse. I then say a prayer with him, give him some kisses, and put him in his crib. I would say he is semi-asleep when I put him down. He usually falls asleep with little to no crying. Do you feel that at this age he should be wide awake before putting him to bed at night? Thanks.

  5. Have you had any issues with your older one getting out of bed numerous times at nap and bed times? Our 17 month old has been in a “big boy bed” (it’s just a mattress on the floor) for the past couple months, mostly because he’d wake himself up 3-4 times each night having gotten stuck in weird positions in his crib (he’s pretty tall for his age). Needless to say, we’re about to pull our hair out trying to get him to stay in bed once we’ve gone through the routine. We’re consistent in our routine – bath, pj’s, story, prayer, kisses – but then it’s easily 45 minutes to an hour of him getting out of bed. Typically, we get him into bed by 7:45, but then it’s pushing 9pm before he falls asleep. He fully understands what he’s supposed to do (if we ask him, he’ll point to the bed and hop back in), but simply refuses to do so, despite any discipline, comforting, rocking until drowsy, etc. The only thing we’ve found to work for the most part is standing in the farthest corner where he can’t see us but he knows we’re there so we tell him to lay down the moment he pops his head up. I don’t really want to do this every nap and bed time for the next few months, so what should we do?

  6. Mamaof1, I am sorry I missed your question. I think that sounded just fine–he wasn’t nursed to sleep or anything, just sleepy before getting in bed which sounds pretty normal to me.

  7. Young Family,I have had that problem at nap time with Brayden, but only in the last month. I think I have solved the problem (it has been two weeks of success), but it was in ways you work with a 3.5 year old, not a 17 month old.I think it sounds like this is a freedom that he just isn’t ready for yet. Since you are needing to move him out of a crib in order to get him in a bigger bed, I would do some things so the freedom of getting off a matress on the floor isn’t so available to him. When we moved Bradyen over, we moved him to a twin bed that was high off the floor. He couldn’t even really get into bed easily without help. We had a step-stool there for him, but it took him a couple of months to grow into it. If you got a twin bed that was tall enough he couldn’t get in and out easily, I think he would think about it before getting out. We then put the bed against the wall and then put a side rail up. He had a headboard. At the foot of the bed we put a pillow, and a pillow also between the side rail and the end of the bed. These things all created physical boundaries for him. We never had a problem with him getting out of bed (and actually our recent problem was not with that bed–I had him napping in my bed). He never fell out or anything. See this post for more on the transition:Transitioning from a Crib to a Bed :

  8. I’ve been following babywise for 6.5mths but need someones opinion on what is currently going on. my daughter slept thru the night from 9 weeks till 4.5mths. Since that time i can’t get her to sleep thru the night. She naps amazing during the day but each night she gets up once, eats and goes back to sleep. She never gets up at the same time. it ranges from 1am to 4am. so its hard to know whether thats true hunger or habit. I started feeding her solids at 5mths because i thought she had started waking because of hunger. but since its gone on so long – its hard to know. She is still on a 3hr schedule although sometimes 3.5.i figure CIO is my last choice but i’m worried about trying that because my baby screams and she’s teething right now too. so i dont want her to think we are not their to console her. maybe i’ll try giving her water instead of breast feeding?thanks for your advice

  9. Hi. I am leaving a lot of questions these days:) You said in your post that your first child’s bedtime was 800 since your husband got home later. This is our issue. Mu husband gets home around 7 and would like to do the bedtime routine with our daughter. Currently she has her bath before feeding and bed which is at 7. She wakes very early(usually 6) and even getting her to 7pm is a battle. How can we change her schedule so that she can sleep later and daddy can do her bedtime routine starting at 7 or 730?

  10. Kaya’s Mama,I would try to move her whole day back, so I would start her mornings later. See the blog label “time change” for ideas on how to do that.

  11. Hello! I just found your site and have been reading nonstop for the past week. I have already learned so much! Thanks!My son just turned 2 months old yesterday. The past few weeks he was going through a growth spurt, so I took your advice (and the advice of BW) and fed him every time he woke up early from a nap for a few days until my milk caught up and he got back on his 3 hour schedule.The problem that I am having right now is that he cries every night when I lay him down after his 7:30 and 10:30 feedings. He has always been the type to put himself to sleep and does so during the day. However, the last 2 feedings of the day are a problem. Usually, it is b/c his tummy hurts (I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong there, either) but even if it doesn’t hurt, he still cries for an hour or more…we’ve even given in a few times and rocked him to sleep.So…do you have any idea why his tummy may be hurting him at the same time every night and why he is having such a hard time getting to sleep at the same time every night? Thanks!

  12. That time of day is commonly a fussy one for babies. If he will sleep well at other times of day, I would just put him in a swing or something at 7:30. Also, be sure he isn’t getting too much stimulation at that time of day. For his tummy, if you are breastfeeding, I would keep a food log of what you are eating to see if there is something you eat that can be upsetting him. If it is gas or something, give him gas drops. Good luck!

  13. I have a 8.5 wo that for the past week is waking up about 45 minutes into her nap. She will not go back to sleep. I am wondering how many days should I continue to feed her when she wakes up early? I feel like maybe she is eating too much and then she gets a belly ache? She is on formula and taking in 6oz at each feeding.

  14. I realize you may not see this since the original post was so long ago, but I was curious what you did with Brayden at 3.5 years regarding getting out of bed at naptime/bedtime. I haven't been able to find this elsewhere on the blog–sorry if I've missed it. I have a 3-year-old who's had trouble with this for a while now. He pops in and out of his bed and room constantly throughout naptime and bedtime. It interferes with his sleep, and I know that he still needs that nap most days. We have tried many things with him that didn't work. Locking his bedroom door so he can't get out might work, but I don't want to do that except as last resort and also it doesn't address him staying in his actual bed. Thanks!

  15. Kristy, it is somewhere…I think it is a post called "in action, find your child's currency." If you click on the "in action" blog label, you should see it.Basically what we did was pick something he loves to do that I don't mind him not doing. This is playing video or computer games (age appropriate). If he stays in bed, he earns the priviledge to do it that day. If not, no game time. We also taught him how to tell time so he knew when he could get up. Then one day we had to take away his clock, which caused major drama, but it fixed the problem.

  16. I have a 13 week old boy, and we have been pretty consistent with a good routine during the day (eat, awake time, and naps). Though he sometimes cries when going to nap, he can pretty much fall asleep without crying must of the time. But about sleeping during nights, it is not going very well. Until he was 9 weeks old I used to put him to bed after a bath and feeding at 10pm. Since it was really late, we have changed it to put him to bed at 7pm (last feeding at 6pm). He sleeps pretty well until 11, then cries for feeding, and after that he wakes up randomly either once or twice during the night. Are we doing something wrong? Since I have been feeding every time he wakes up, I have also noticed that he is not very willing to eat at his 6am feeding. Is there something we can do to help? Thanks

  17. Lonnie and Aymee, I have a few thoughts. I would try doing prep for bed before 6pm, feeding at 6, and then putting him down for the night right afterward. This is what works for us. You may want to try different dreamfeed times (between 10 and 11pm) to see if any time is better than another for helping him sleep through the rest of the night. It sounds like he doesn't need all of the feedings you give him during the night since he doesn't eat well at 6am. You could even try dropping the dreamfeed altogether if nothing else works. Some babies are disrupted by the feeding after bedtime. My son was one of the ones who didn't sleep well through the night until I gave up on that late evening feeding. In your case, I might try different dreamfeed times first, though. Hope something in there was helpful. 🙂

  18. Lonnie and Aymee, Kristy has some good ideas for you.I would wake him at 10ish instead of waiting until 11. Like Kristy said, though, work with times to see which is best for him.Also, it sounds like he is ready to drop a nighttime feeding. See the post "nighttime sleep issues–revised and updated" for ideas on why he might be waking and what to do about it. It was written this month.

  19. I have a 13 week old actual age (7 week adjusted age). He is currently on a 3 hour schedule beginning at 6am. I have 2 questions (many really, but 2 for today): His last feed-wake-nap cycle is at 6pm (so he sleeps from 7:30ish-8:45pm), then I start his bedtime routine of bathe, nurse, rock, sing, sleep. He starts nursing at 9pm then will go down about 9:45pm. Is this hour gap too close to his wakeup time from his nap at 8:45pm? I can't figure out how to do the last feeding. I don't get home from work until 6pm so I don't want his bedtime any earlier.Also confused about the first feeding. He still gets up at least once in the night to eat. I want his day to begin at 6am so I can spend time with him before I leave for work at 8:30am. If he last eats at 4:30am, do I still turn around and feed him at 6am?Thanks so much. What a wonderful resource this site is!

  20. mindibz, No, that isn't too short of a gap. He will be very tired at that time of day, so short is good.Yes, you still wake him and feed him at 6 even if he last ate at 4:30. For more on that, see "early morning feedings before waketime"

  21. I have an 18 month old and I thought I had the sleeping thing down until the last week or so… he is going to bed later and later. We are consistent with our routine but as soon as we start to walk out he stands up and starts screaming and jumping in bed until we go back in and sing more songs. Last night it took us over an hour to get him to sleep and we had to stand by his crib and sing until he was asleep. Normally I would have just let him cry but he has a gag reflex and cries so hard he thows up! I don't know what to do and can't figure out why bedtime is getting so hard. Also naps are not even there anymore and I know that is probably a lot of my issue but I can't get him to nap in his crip anymore. Please any suggestions!?!?!?!?!

  22. Alicia, I think you need to evaluate what has changed. If he has always been a great sleeper and now suddenly isn't, what has changed? What are you doing differently?If there is absolutely nothing, then what hasn't changed but needs to? You said naps aren't going well. Are you still trying to do two? If so, he likely needs one. If he isn't napping at all in the day, then he is probably upset at night because he is overly tired and having a hard time falling asleep.

  23. I have a 4 week old on a 3 hour routine starting at 7 am. I would like to start a bed time routine but I'm a bit confused about how to incorporate it with BW. Would I feed him at 7 pm, have 30 – 45 awake time and then spend the last 15 minutes or so doing the bed time routine so he is down by 8:30 or so?

  24. Katie, no, you would start the routine pretty much immediately following the last feeding. The routine time would count as the waketime. Exactly when you start will depend on exactly how long he can be up plus how long your routine takes you.

  25. I have a question too about bedtime….and nursing. My 4 month old twins currently nurse around 7am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, and then I give them a bottle of pumped breastmilk around 7pm….then to bed. I don't know why we started the bottle…..grandparents wanted to feed, etc. I now wish I nursed them at that time. I'm scared they will not get enough milk (my supply seems so low in the evenings, especially since I nurse at 5pm). They have been sleeping through the night for a few weeks now, and I'm scared to mess it up! What are your thoughts?

  26. Thank you for your blog! Do you believe the order in which you feed and bath makes a difference in the long run? I see that you bath in the morning. I have a 5 month old. We currently bath, feed, sing, say prayers, go to bed. But I have this image in my head that at some point I will have a toddler who eats with the family earlier in the evening, then bathes and goes to bed. Should I be starting this routine now or will it naturally progress to where he no longer has to eat right before going to bed to make it though the night?

  27. Misty, do you pump at that time (7 PM)? If so, at this point you could try nursing and see how it goes. If not, I would pump for a couple of weeks first at that time.

  28. Hi! I have read the book but this is my first time on the site. It is great! I have an 8 week old son and I have been following Baby Wise since he was about 5 weeks. He is on a 3 hr schedule and we are working on CIO for naps. He only likes to nap in his swing! At night I feed him at 830 pm. If I let him sleep, he will sleep for 5-6 hrs. When I wake him to feed between 11-1130 pm; he only sleeps for 3-4 hrs. How do I get him to sleep longer? Should I skip the 11 pm feeding if he's sleeping and see how long he sleeps? I am consistent with his daytime feedings and naps (when he naps!) but can't seem to get him to sleep thru the night. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Rachel

  29. Rachel,If the dreamfeed is not helping him sleep longer, I would not do it. Have you ever looked into reflux? Him not wanting to sleep unless he is sitting up in the swing makes me wonder.

  30. My daughter, who is 11 MO has started over the last month waking up in the middle of the night. We have been very strict with our routine. She goes to bed at 7pm and wakes up at 7am. She only has two, two hour naps a day. When she was ten MO she had her first two teeth come in, had an ear infection, and a cold. It took weeks for her to get over the infection. We have tried everything to adjust her schedule and still cannot figure out why she is waking up (sometimes multiple times) in the middle of the night. On some nights she wakes up and just needs me to come in and rock her, and other nights she is up ready to play. Her schedule looks like this:7am-Wakeup Nurse, Solids9am-Nap11am-Wakeup, Nurse, Solids1pm-Nap3pm-Wakeup, Nurse, Snack6pm- Solids7pm-Nurse, To Bed10:30-Dreamfeed (to keep up milk supply)My daughter will typically wake up around two-thirty every night. Sometimes I can just change her diaper and she will go back to bed. Other times, she is hungry and will take a full feeding before she goes back to sleep. I have tried increasing her solids, she takes typically two veggies and fruits at each meal. Our schedule hasn't changed. The only thing I can think of is that she didn't eat a lot of solids while she was sick. Is it possible for the two teeth to bother her for a month? Can she being going through a growth spurt? Or could it be that she is learning so much right now(crawling, trying to walk etc.) that she can't sleep? Her naps during the day have also been hit or miss. Sometimes she takes amazing naps and other days she just sits and talks to herself. I feel like I have tried everything to troubleshoot this issue and nothing is working. I have read all the related blog posts and I am still at a loss. And I really need my sleep!

  31. Hi Val, your blog has been so helpful! We did BW with my first son who is now a little over 2 and it's been great. He is a great sleeper and I know it's b/c we worked at it when he was a baby. We had another boy 11wks ago and have been doing bw with him since about 3wks old. We are current on a 3-3.5hr schedule but have been having a really hard time with 45min naps these last few days and I can't figure it out. I can't really adjust the wake times bc if he's waking 45 min in and CIO off and on until next feeding, his wake times are all wacky to begin with. I saw somewhere on your blog that normal naps on 3hr ached are 1-1.5hr long – I thought they were 2hrs? My ds wake time is only about an hour so if he only naps for an hour or hour and half, how do you keep a 3hr sched? What do u do b/w the time he wakes and the next feeding? He is also still waking up to eat 1x at night but I'm hoping we're almost to the point of sttn as he's been going a little linger these last few nights (my oldest sttn at 8wks with df and slept 12hrs at 12wks do I'm hoping my lil guys figures it out soon! His current sched is eat 7a, 10a, 1p, 4p, 7p with df around 11p and then he wakes around 5a for mon feed. I generally put him for naps around 8a, 11a, 2:15p and then a catnap in swing b/ 5:30-6 with bedtime around 8. Do you have any suggestions?

  32. bleuminicooper,You really have a lot of things going on that could all be causing it. Teething, new skills, growth spurt, sickness, need to catch up on food because of decreased appetite with sickness and teething. The teeth could possibly be bugging her. The only thing you can do is take it one thing at a time and try to isolate it and solve it.But do know that it is very possible that the dreamfeed is causing her night wakings. Hogg says if you keep the dreamfeed too long, it can interfere with night sleep and make it so she doesn't sleep as well. I would drop that and then just pump to add extra stimulation.

  33. g8rMaya, You might try moving your dreamfeed time earlier to see if that helps with the night.As for naps, BW says 1.5 hour nap is normal, but the times don't "Add up"–I have a post called "eat/wake/sleep cycle" that can answer some of your questions. Make sure you also see the posts on nap issues.

  34. Love, love, love your blog! My 10 week old was STTN (7-8 hours) around 8 weeks. All of a sudden for the past week and a half, he is only doing 5-6 hours. We read your trouble shooting with night time sleep, and we've let him cry, gone in and attempted to soothe him, given him a paci…but he is starving. He has a feeding between 8-8:30, then a dream feed at 10:30. I BF every 3 hours or will do 2 1/2 if he wakes early from a nap hungry. Do you think this is a growth spurt or am I doing something wrong? Also, at night, would you bathe then feed at 8-8:30, then put him to bed or feed (8-8:30), bathe, bed…then dream feed?

  35. Hello, my son is 5 weeks old. The day we brought him home from the hospital we tried putting him in his pack n play bassinet and he cried and cried. We were both so exhausted we ended up letting him sleep on us in the recliner because it was the only way we could get any rest. We have tried ever since then to keep putting him in his bassinet the but he still cries when you lay him down. He has gotten better and will sometimes stay asleep for 30-45 minutes. We just started trying babywise this week. He did good on the naps the first day, but at night when we put him down he only stayed asleep for 40 minutes. We let him cry for about 15 minutes and then went and tried to comfort him by patting and talking to him. However, he kept crying after that. I am confused on what our next step should be? I am exclusively breastfeeding. Any advice would be appreciated.

  36. I was wondering if you could give me some advise, my baby is 7 weeks old and has been sleeping in her carseat as she just wouldn't sleep in her Moses basket. I now need to get her into crib, any tips??? Do I let her just cry it out? For how long? Thank you. This site is amazing! Especially for new mommas!

  37. Thanks, I love sleep routine and both my foster children do very well on it. The 8 months old baby girl even starts jawning and rubbing her eyes as soon as I put her in her crib! Very funny.Rinette, Pretoria

  38. Hi!  I was having a REALLY rough night last night with my 3 wk old (up crying from 1:16-3:05 AM) and found a link via Pinterest to your article: Newborn: Sleeping Through the Night! We started following the plan today and had success until about 7.  It was time for nap and I knew he'd need one and wouldn't be able to stay awake till 10, however he fought it big time.  He was clearly sleepy (yawning and trying to fall asleep), but unable to sleep.  After about 30 mins of no luck and him vigorously trying to nurse on my shoulder, I went a head and nursed him again.  This time he fell asleep (right around 8).  So we let him sleep till about 8:45 woke him, with the intentions of keeping him up till the 10 pm feeding.  He whaled the whole time.  Not just cried, but whaled.  Then he finally went to sleep around 10:36, but woke up within 10-15 mins and was historical again.  My husband went up and was able to get him down for the night around 11:40.  He then was down for the night waking just past the 3 hr mark for a feeding the rest of the night.  Did we do something wrong in the evening to make it so hard for him to get to sleep.  He's been going to bed around 8:30 and sleeping 3-4 hrs and then up every 2-3 hrs.  It was nice ti see him successfully sleep 3 hrs all night! Is this what I should be doing at 3 wks?  If so, I'll keep at it.  I just want to make sure I'm doing this the way it's intended.  Thank you for any info you have!

  39. I just found your site and I really like it. I have been reading it a lot. My 7 month old is acting so odd this last week and a half. He has been STTN for a long time and just last week started waking up crying. I am losing my milk supply so we have been integrating formula. The first night he woke up and was hungry. The next 4 nights in a row he wasn't hungry. I changed his diaper, nothing. I rocked him and sang until he was almost asleep, but as soon as I put him down he started really crying. He has four teeth already and his top teeth are coming in and I can tell they are hurting him. It seems like he is waking up at night and can't relax enough to go back to sleep on his own. He would fall asleep while I rocked him and would cry really hard when I put him down. He would be up for at least two hours, then would finally be sound asleep when i put him down and would sleep fine until the morning. After 5 days of this every night he went back to normal for two days. Then he started waking up and doing the same thing again. Last night I went in and sat by his bed and patted his tummy for 45 minutes while he cried. I left and let him cry for another 30 minutes until he fell asleep. He seems to do worse when we go in. I have no idea what else to do. Is it bad if he cries for over an hour? It seems a bit excessive, but so is being up for 2 hours every night. If he wakes up tonight I will see how he does just trying to put himself back to sleep.His current schedule looks relatively like this:6:30-7 (6:30 when he sleeps through the night) wake up7:15 Breakfast-solids9:30 Nap- usually sleeps for 1.5 hours11:15 Lunch- solids13:00- Snack-solids(I have found if he doesn't have this snack he only sleeps for about 50 minutes)14:00- Nap- usually 1.5 hours16:30 Dinner- solids18:00 Start bedtime routine- Bath, Pajamas, Story18:30 Bottle of Breast milk or Formula19:00 Asleep for the night. Sometimes he falls asleep while he eats his bottle. It's not a sound sleep but by the time I burp him he is pretty out. When I put him in his crib he usually finds his blanket, puts it in his mouth and is sound asleep. Does his schedule look ok? Should I move his afternoon nap earlier and feed him twice in the evening? Is it normal for kids to go through a stage when they wake up like this? Should I let him cry it out until he stops waking up? Sorry for so many questions, I am just at such a loss right now.

  40. I have a 6 week old and need help starting a night time routine. She does fine with naps during the day but at bed time when I lay her down she wakes right up. Is there any tricks you could share? Is it to late to start her on schedule because we do t have a steady schedule?

    • It definitely isn't too late! My oldest was about that age when we started a routine. Decide what you would like to do. What we do is pjs, then stories, prayers, then we did 4 S's as baby. You can do what you like. Just start early enough to get bedtime on time.

  41. Please help. I have identical twin 5 month old girls (gestationally 4 months) that have been wonderful sleepers. At 3 months old they consistently slept through the night 8pm till 7:30am. I never had to let them CIO. They also require a lot of sleep during the day, they are on a 3 hour schedule and would sleep like 4 times a day. they did this on their own-almost couldnt go like 45 minutes without a nap. I am not use to this cause I have a son who never slept this much. Their first nap of the day for the last month or so was only 45 minutes, then the next 2 naps were anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours and the last is a catnap for like 30 minutes. I thought this was a problem as the 2 naps were so close to one another. they were in a great mood however.Now all of a sudden they are waking up 45 minutes for each of the naps. The first nap they are as happy as can be. By the second nap they are in a terrible mood-I have resorted to letting them CIO and they will fall back asleep after maybe 5 minutes but then the other child wakes, falls asleep and then it goes back and forth like this for 30 minutes. By that time i am taking them out-as I dont want them to associate their cribs as an unhappy place. This was starting to happen and they would cry when I would lay them down. This has been going on for a week now. I have tried everything with the sleep intruder methods- I was even able to intercept 2 days and keep one asleep by patting and she fell asleep. Nothing has worked on other twin. Now again they are both doing it. I want my happy babies back please! I have tried adjusting their schedule getting them up earlier-doesnt help- I have tried playing with them harder-by the time they go to sleep they are so tired they are crying when I lay them down but they fall asleep relatively quickly. At night time they dont really fuss at all so I am clueless on what to do. could it possibly be teething? My son had teeth at 4 months old (i dont see theirs coming through-however they are constantly having their fingers in mouth). Any advice would be greatly appreciated I feel like I am regressing:(Typical day is-7:30 wake up they are in a good mood and usually talk in their crib until almost 8 am I dress and feed them solids and bottle at 8-we play-9:15 to 9:30 typically lay them down. Only sleep 45 minutes. I tried to let them CIO on this nap and it was horrible almost 30 minutes. Letting them the other 2 wasnt as bad.-11am feed bottle. we play until about 12:15 they are so tired and cranky I lay them down. This use to be a long nap to almost 2 now they are waking up 45 minutes later and sometimes earlier-2pm feed bottle. Again we play. 3:30 we lay them down. Again this was another long nap now it is only 45 minutes5pm-solids and bottle. The poor napping has them crazy at this time. I do not play hard at all I usually go walking with them (my exercise and they will nap like 30-45 minutes) or have them in swing. They typically sleep another 30 minutes.7:30 give bath and then around 7:45 bottle and then bed. They go on own very easy at this time. Thanks again I am going mad as i feel like not leaving the house until i get them back on track-they are not happy babies. Again the nap problems have been going on last 2 weeks and really bad this week.

  42. hi! Thank u for ur posts. IV been reading a lot and it helps. My problem and question is during the day eat/waketime/nap. I have 4 wo and I don't have problem putting her to sleep at night 9pm and on. I change her diaper, nurse, then burp her then to bed. Is that ok? My main problem is during the day when I make sure she has waketime after feeding, I feel she gets too stimulated and awake that even i she shows signs of being sleepy, she will stay fussy and cry wen down for her nap. I have tried CIO for 10-15 mins, then shhh/tap, then rocking her but she stays fussy. I have found if I nurse her, then add waketime and then nurse again and then burp, she gets very sleepy and is easier to put in bed and sleep thru her naps longer. But is this wrong for me to do? She does not really fall asleep nursing but gets sleepy and when I burp her, she does wake up but stay sleepy and ut her to bed like that. Is that still ok or am I setting her up to be too dependent on me?

    • Some babies can do that and supposedly not have dependency on it later on. Most will create a dependency, however You will have to go with your gut. There is no way to say for sure how she will react in the future. You can guess pretty accurately, but can't know for sure.

  43. My baby is 4 months old. She still wakes up at 4am to feed even though we dream feed her at 12am. And it's so hard to "put her down" sleepy because she has no sleepy cues. They show up when she is overtired. I always have to hold her in my arms for 10 mins before she yawns. This is for both naps and bedtime. I read in one of your posts that waketime should be increasing as the day progresses but hers decreases. When I tried putting her down earlier she would always put up a fight and I would be holding her in my arms for 20-40 minutes. Help please!

    • The first thing I would focus on is changing the dreamfeed time. Try it sometime in the 10 pm hour. If your baby needs shorter waketimes as the day goes, that is okay. Go by your baby's cues.

  44. Before the 12am is her 8:00pm feeding. It's ok to dream feed just 2 hours later? Won't she wake up earlier if we dream feed her too early? We've tried 10pm, 11pm and now 12am. Thank you.

    • You are so welcome 🙂 Feeding two hours later is totally fine. That is cluster feeding (you can read more about that). I would try in the 10 pm hour. It is counterintuitive, but her waking is more than hair about how many hours since a feed. It is about circadian rhythms and how sleep cycles are disrupted. So try 10:30. If that doesn't work, try other times in that hour. Brinley was specific to a weird time (like 10:35). 5 minutes made a difference.

  45. Ps. Thank you so much for your blog. I learned so much from it and even though my baby still wakes up at 4am she has learned to sleep on her own at night without crying at all and lately even naps have been easier. All because I found your post about optimal wake times. Thank you! Thank you!

  46. HELP PLEASE!! My baby is 7.5 months old. I know I have waited way to long but I am at the end of my rope. For so long I've been saying I can't stand to hear her cry and I don't support cio. But lately the more I research it, I find it may be more beneficial for her to cry and to become more independent. I nurse her to nap, I nurse her to sleep at bed time, and she has never slept through a night. Lately she has waking up every 2 hours or less and I can't take it any more. My husband and I both agree we have to change and let her figure out how to go down on her own. How do I reverse everything that I have done over the past 7 months? Am I too late? Where do I even begin?Thank you!

  47. Hi, I'm new here and tried to search through the comments to see if my question has been answered. My boy is 5 weeks and I'm worried I've been too inconsistent. He usually wakes up between 6:30-7 but the other night he didn't go to bed late so I let him sleep till 7:15/20. I thought it was 30 minute so on either side. This doesn't happen often but should I still wake him up at 7 even with an off night? He also fed every 2 hours last night!! I must be so tired and not giving him a full feeding… is this normal or should I focus on something else? I've been working so hard but feel like my little mistakes are throwing him off

  48. Hello!I've left a comment couple of days before on other post, but since then I sort of find out I need to get my day structured first. I'm working on it. Still have a problem. My 9 would son doesn't sleep through the night and he has this typical thing waking up at 5 am wide awake. I read here it is the result of accidental parenting. Thigh. I try my best not to! Try to manage him back on his 3 hour schedule during the day. But he is so sleepy first half of the day due to waking up every other hour at night. At least once of that night wakings he's really hungry. Other ones I can use a pacie and rocking.I've tried df 10-11 pm with no luck, still wakes in 3 or 2 hours depending on df time.I'm trying to be baby wise for three weeks now, first one was more of pattern. Now I write things down and try to stick to time.My first son is 4.5 yo, in the kindergarten and was fed on demand with no schedule at all. I'm disappointed with the result and want to do better this time!Help. Thank you for your great blog!

  49. My 6 week old will consistently me content and wide awake once a day (normally mid afternoon) almost to the next feeding before drifting off. Do I just feed her at the normal time, or let her take an hour and half nap after she drifts off? She has also been consistently waking up at 5 am, and we have been doing CIO for the past two nights but that makes her very sleepy for her 7 am and 9:30 am feeding, and there is no wake time/alert time until the afternoon. I'm at lost on what to do to get her to be alert and awake for her 7 am feeding.

  50. Pricilla, I would work to get her to go to sleep for a nap. So after 45-60 minutes of being awake, I would work to put her down for a nap.


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