Shifting Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

By Misty on in Baby Sleep Help Baby Sleep Training and Schedules with 6 Comments

Shifting Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule
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New babies often have difficulty learning to fall asleep according to a regular schedule as they predominately simply sleep when they are tired. This may mean that they’ll start with irregular sleep schedules and you as the struggling mom and dad will have many restless nights. On occasion the natural baby sleep pattern may be quite different than what you wish for, for example they may prefer to sleep for hours during the day instead of at night.

Overtime though you do persevere and your sweet little baby begins to conform to a set sleep schedule and everyone becomes more rested. What happens though when you need to shift that sleep schedule due to a change in the household routine, like daylight savings time or a change in the parent’s work schedule?

Changing sleep schedules may seem rather daunting especially if it was a struggle to create the pattern in the first place, but it can be done and we here at Sweet Sleep Baby have a few tips to help make this process as easy as child’s play.

Tips for Shifting Baby Sleep Schedules

  • Remember that changing the sleep timetable is difficult both as adults and as babies so understand that small strides work best. It is best to make minor adjustments to their wake and sleep times over a few days. Simply altering the schedule along 30 to 45 minute increments may prove quite beneficial.
  • Understand your baby sleep habits and use them to your advantage in shifting their sleep schedule. If your baby has learned to fall asleep in their crib then continue to place them there at the newly schedule time. Do not for example, start them out cuddling in your lap and then hope to move them to the crib. By doing this you are actually altering their sleep habits.
  • Establish a positive bedtime routine. This may mean a brand-new routine or simply a reworking of a recognized routine. For instance, put their pajamas on and read a bedtime story or play a soothing lullaby just before placing your baby in their crib to go to sleep. This will help create the association of sleep with the changing to pajamas and the bedtime story or lullaby.
  • Depending on the amount you need to change, it may be helpful to adjust their daytime napping. When a significant change is needed, it may be necessary to make the last nap of the day the start of their new bedtime. If this is the case, start a bedtime routine at the time of that last nap.
  • If merely changing a few hours, you may find it helpful to shorten the last nap of the day so that your baby is more tired and ready for sleep at the new bedtime.
  • When shifting any baby sleep schedule, do not wait until your baby is getting fidgety and anxious to try to put them to bed. There may be a fine line between being ready for sleep and their becoming overly tired which results in their waking up frequently during the night.

It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to shift your baby’s sleep schedule so your best asset is patience. Try the handy tips provided here to discover what works the best with the habits of your precious little one. Remember too to be consistent once he/she begins to adjust to the new sleep schedule, even a slight modification can be a sizable change for your sweet bundle of joy.

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  1. Tamsin

    February 5, 2014 at 7:56 am · Reply

    Great tips - it's a continual learning process with babies and you have to be open to trying new things.

    1. Misty

      February 12, 2014 at 1:09 am · Reply

      Absolutely Tamsin. Always more than one way to do things and you've got to find what works for you and your baby.

  2. Lynda Lippin

    February 5, 2014 at 11:31 am · Reply

    My friend just had twins a few months ago and now is trying to get them on a sleep schedule. Not easy, but ultimately so beneficial for all involved.

    1. Misty

      February 12, 2014 at 1:09 am · Reply

      I call it sanity saving! That sleep is so very important to babies...but just as important for mom and dad to be healthy (and sane) too.

  3. Prof. B.T. Mienoré

    February 5, 2014 at 11:32 am · Reply

    When I met my stepson he has already 2 1/2, so I didn't have this to worry about. I do watch my friends with multiples working on this.

    1. Misty

      February 12, 2014 at 1:10 am · Reply

      Well, you've got your hands full with a whole different set of challenges with toddlers! We will be touching on that here on Sweet Sleep Baby soon!

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