Chantal Murphy is a qualified baby and child sleep consultant based in Australia. Her business Baby Sleep Magic offers flexible routines — not ridged schedules! Children thrive on routine and consistency so by following an age-appropriate routine it makes them feel secure knowing what comes next.
Below is a sample sleep guide. However, please understand this just A GUIDE – Your baby is not a programmable device and every baby is different. This guide is based upon your baby’s current age, however, watch your baby’s feeding and sleepy cues and adjust your routine accordingly. This doesn’t mean you need to stay home for every nap. Ensure you pay close attention to your baby’s sleep cues and wake window to avoid overtiredness. When nap time occurs to ensure you are in a position for your baby to fall asleep. If you’re out and about that can be in the car or pram and that’s OK!
As helpful as this sleep guide might be — be mindful day naps at this age can start to become more consolidated. However if your baby hasn’t yet learned to self soothe, day naps will be quite inconsistent until nighttime sleep has been mastered. For information on self-settling refer to the “Self settling methods” article.
Also, try not to feed your baby to sleep. If your little one is due for a feed prior to a nap or you opt for a “top-up” feed, try not to feed your baby to sleep. Wake him up prior to putting him in the cot. Feeding to sleep can actually lead to shorter, less productive naps.
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Officially introducing you to our big baby Oliver Chalmers — isn’t he a stud muffin? 😍 He loves: – Long walks in his stroller/ pram – Car rides – His @wubbanub monkey pacifier/ dummy – Being swaddled (when I can get it right) – Being burped for 15-30 mins – Loud white noise, the sound of the shower, the vacuum cleaner or consistent wind and rain – Lying on his side breastfeeding/ nursing first thing in the morning with me – Being rocked to sleep by anyone – Staring into my eyes – Mammas milk – His @plumandsparrow basket He hates 😂 – Being bathed – His nappy being changed – His clothes being changed – Being on his tummy #baby #newborn #momlife #csection
The cat nap:
Now your baby is between 5 and 6 months of age, that third nap of the day can be a real struggle. If you’re finding it’s becoming a daily battle, consider napping on the go, whether it’s in the pram, in the car or even in the Baby Bjorn. Get it however you can. Your little one’s bedtime may need to be pushed back or forward depending on the last nap of the day.
In some cases, bedtime can be 2.5 – 3 hours after the last catnap.
How to adjust:
Lengthen your baby’s awake time by 15 minutes
Skipping the last nap is common at this age. If this happens, opt for an earlier bedtime…In some instances 5 pm maybe your best option. It’s better to put your baby to bed when their tired rather than try and spend time with an overtired, cranky baby. “Quality time is better than quantity!” at this age.
Going to bed early doesn’t necessarily result in early rising. Sleep = sleep. If your little one does wake early, refer to the “Early Rising” information guide for tips on how to manage this.
You’re baby’s desired bedtime is anywhere between 6 pm-7 pm.
Keeping your baby awake whilst doing the last feed is always a challenge but is paramount for self-settling and a successful nights sleep. My advice is to only dress your baby in a nappy. The purpose of this is you will need to wake/stir your baby up after the feed to dress him/her for the night. Offer the feed with the lights on dim and interact with your little one. Lots of chatting, tickling, etc. After the feed, dress your baby in his/her’s sleeping attire and place him/her into their bassinet/cot awake. If necessary use your settling techniques to comfort your baby until he/she is asleep. If your baby protests when going to bed chances are you could be trying for bed too early.
Other reasons your baby may be resisting bedtime at this age OR waking prematurely (ie: before 10 pm) include:
Most babies at this age still require night feeds. One common mistake I see especially with night feeding are parents rushing in too fast. Get to know your baby’s cries. If he’s doing”interval crying,” which rises and then descends again, let him be! Chances are he’s trying to settle himself back to sleep and if you interrupt you’ll make him more upset and the opportunity for him to doze back off may be gone. When feeding during the night, keep the light and interaction to a minimum. Make it strictly business…feed, burp (in some cases this isn’t necessary) and straight back to bed, preferably all within 30mins.
While you’re here, check out the three-month breastfeeding crisis that is affecting women worldwide.