Congratulations – you did it! Your baby is now 6 weeks old, and you’ve survived the newborn stage. It was tough. There were probably times you didn’t think you’d make it; you most likely passed out from exhaustion on more than one occasion, you might have gone weeks without leaving the house because you were just way too tired…you now know that a good night’s sleep should never be taken for granted. But the most important focus here is that you made it, and you got your baby through it too! Good news is that by 12-15 weeks most babies tend to sleep longer stretches. Bad news is that for some, it may get a little tougher before it gets easier. Here’s what you can expect in the next couple months:
Your newborn probably slept up to 18 hours a day without any set schedule! Now that they’re approaching that three-month mark, you will see a pattern emerge. During the day, your baby can stay awake longer between naps, which means more playtime. Your baby will be interactive, cooing and smiling. Keep your camera ready. Their naps will get longer too. Total number of naps will change to 4 or 5 instead of the 6 or 8 they were taking as a newborn. They still need 14 to 16 hours of sleep per day, but the longest stretch of sleep will be at night (woo!), around 5-6 hours by the time they reach 10-15 weeks.
Zen Tip: If you haven’t already, start a nap schedule. Napping once in the morning, twice during the afternoon, and then another in the evening before bedtime is often a good balance. You can read more about baby’s naptime during their first year AND get a naptime schedule here.
From 0-6 weeks, a fixed bedtime is virtually non-existent. But now that your baby’s sleeping a little less during the day, you can start to implement a more consistent bedtime, usually between 8 and 11 p.m. The younger the baby, the later the bedtime; so as your baby continues to grow you can gradually start shifting to the earlier side. By 15 weeks, you should be able to put your baby down for bed around 8 p.m. But keep in mind, this time will be different for every baby, depending on their nap schedules during the day. And even though 8 p.m. is “bedtime”, remember they still won’t be sleeping through the entire night. Remember that trying to implement a later bedtime for your baby in the hopes that they will sleep later will not work. Your baby needs to be put down before they are overtired and will wake on their own schedule – whether that’s 4 a.m. or 7 a.m.
Zen Tip: Your baby is still experiencing Moro reflex, so it’s a good idea to continue swaddling them to help sleep through it. The great thing about the Zen Swaddle is that it not only keeps your baby from startling themselves awake at night, but it also provides that self-soothing simulated touch. So when you put your baby down at bedtime, they’ll still feel a snug embrace which will help them calm faster and stay asleep longer- which means a win for you and for baby. There are other benefits of swaddling, read them here.
Now is a great time to start implementing those good sleep habits. With a more predictable sleep and nap schedule, you can really hone in on that bedtime routine, which you probably tried to start during the newborn phase. Now, it will be a little easier to maintain. Also keep in mind that your baby has and is continuing to undergo a lot of changes during this time – so something that might have helped soothe them to sleep a few weeks ago, might not do the trick anymore. Your bedtime routine can include a warm bath, getting cleaned up (diaper change, soothing lotion, etc.), getting into jammies, cuddling, story time, swaddling, and a myriad of other things. As long as it’s an activity that’s calm and quiet, do whatever seems to work for your baby. Most importantly, keep it consistent. Make this routine your nighttime ritual- even when you aren’t at home. Eventually, your baby will respond to the consistency and they’ll know when it’s time to sleep.
Zen Tip: You may find yourself searching for other tools to get baby to bed – but know you can always reach for your trusty Zen Swaddle to help your baby clam before bed and sleep for that long stretch during the night! Just like the bedtime routine, the Zen Swaddle works its magic better with more consistent use. By using the Zen Swaddle as part of the bedtime routine, it will become one of your baby’s cues that it’s time to sleep. And it’s gently weighted parts will help calm your baby easier before falling asleep.
Two months is a long time- so things are going to be constantly changing from week 6 to week 15. During the newborn stage, you had to deal with waking up every few hours for feedings, diaper changes, etc. but for the most part, all your baby did was sleep. Now, your baby will be awake for longer periods of time and sleeping longer stretches- but this doesn’t happen overnight. For some babies the 4-6 week mark is the onset of colic or disruptive sleep due to other reasons. But it won’t last forever- I promise. Stay consistent with the feeding and sleep schedule, adapt to your baby’s changes and most importantly institute that consistent sleep bedtime routine of bathing, reading, feeding rocking. Before you know it, your baby will be sleeping through the night.
In fact, don’t be surprised if around 12 to 15 weeks, you find yourself crawling out of bed at all hours of the night to go check on your little one while sleeping soundly. This is an adjustment for you just as much as your baby. Once you get used to waking up to calm or feed your baby every few hours, it can feel really odd not to once it stops, sometimes even alarming. Once I finally got our first son sleeping for those longer stretches, I still found myself waking up to go check on him and make sure he was okay. I even called our pediatrician to make sure nothing was wrong! She congratulated and assured me that it meant “He is getting good nutrition during daytime. Good job mom! Go get some sleep!”
Zen Tip: There is no comparison to your baby. Every baby is different. I can’t stress that enough. So don’t compare your baby’s sleeping habits to another baby’s because they WILL be different. Like I said, some babies start sleeping for longer stretches right at six weeks (even earlier in some cases!) while other babies will take much longer to reach this milestone. Our first son slept through the night by 12 weeks while our second son was such a poor sleeper that he inspired me to create the Zen Swaddle.
Ultimately, YOU know what’s best for your baby, and YOU know when there’s something wrong. So don’t be stressing out when at 7 weeks your baby is still sleeping for 3 or 4 hours at a time while your friend’s baby is already sleeping through the night. If your instincts are telling you somethings up, call your pediatrician. But otherwise, just keep implementing those healthy sleep habits, sticking to your routine, and using your Zen Swaddle!