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0 to 2 months 2 to 3 months 3 to 4 months
4 to 8 months 8 to 15 months 15 to 3.5 yrs

Soothing Routine

In the first couple of months especially before eight weeks of age, sleep is irregular and the duration varies. As I mention in 0 to 2 months section we cannot control the amount of sleep our babies get. However, once the baby has reached the maturity level where night sleep is organized (the longest sleep period occurs at night, 6-8 weeks) this might be the time to start thinking about what sort of pre-sleep routine you would like to implement. A solid sleep ritual before sleep times is VERY important for the growing baby. Babies follow patterns and cues so if we create a consistent soothing routine or pre-sleep ritual before sleep times then she will expect sleep to come.

As I have mentioned in the above link day sleep is irregular, so at this point using a pre-sleep ritual consistently is difficult to implement. However once night sleep is organized, this is the time to apply the routine which you think might help your baby fall into sleep. For example, if the "last feeding" of the night is at 11pm then start your ritual at that time or around that time. By introducing this new cue, over time your baby will start understanding that when this occurs sleep will be coming soon. Down the road this will help when we push the bedtime earlier and start implementing a nap schedule.

Some babies are regular about when their block of night sleep occurs and parents of these babies can start the process of a pre-sleep ritual at this point. Other babies might take some time to show some consistent sleep pattern at night. For parents of these babies, just wait a week or two.

At about 2 months or 2 months after the expected date of delivery night sleep becomes regular and occurs about the same time each night. This is when you want to establish this pre-sleep ritual.

What will your ritual be? It's up to you and your baby. You might warm up that last bottle, give your baby a massage, change her into night clothes, turn down the lights, sit down in a quiet place, rock your baby, sing to your baby, nurse or bottle feed and then lay her down to sleep. Looking ahead as your child matures over these next couple of weeks try pushing the bedtime earlier week by week to accommodate her future organized sleep schedule. If you wait too long you are planting a seed for a problem you will have to fix down the road. Even if your child wakes up 2 hours later for a feeding, treat it the same as you would in the middle of the night, it's a night feeding regardless of whether it's 8pm or 2am because your bedtime defines it as such.