Q: What is the ideal bedtime for a baby?
A: For babies older than 3-4 months, anywhere between 6-8pm, but more closely 7-8pm. This is the optimal time when our babies will welcome sleep, their body clock is ready for sleep and melatonin production begins. Our babies need about 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep so if they wake in the morning between 6-7am (as most young babies do), this ideal bedtime will support their sleep needs.
Q: If my baby has really long naps, do I make bedtime later?
A: Yes, you can! But within reason. Ideally, we want to keep bedtime the same time consistently. This helps to regulate our child’s body clock and ensures they get enough sleep when they need it most. I recommend capping a nap so there is enough of a wake window before bed. So for a 9 month old with a 7:30pm bedtime, cap the nap at 4:30pm (which is a 3 hour wake window). However, a long nap can happen, and you’ll want to know what you can do – that is, you can adjust bedtime later, but by no more than a half hour so it’s not too far off from what your child’s body is used to.
Q: How do I make naps longer?
A: There are a number of things to look for when short naps are occurring. Check out my post on short naps for reasons why they may be occurring and how you can fix them. If you’ve gone through the list and you’re still having trouble, there is likely either an issue around independent sleep that’s preventing your child from getting back into another sleep cycle on their own, or there is something else and I need to take a closer look at your overall schedule and child’s behaviour. Book a call here if you would like to chat about how I can help.
Q: Do I have to switch my child to one nap when they go to daycare?
A: No. Not if your child is not ready. There are a number of signs that they are ready. Firstly, if they are between the ages of 13-18 months (most commonly around 14 months). Secondly, if they taking nap 1 but refusing nap 2, or they are awake and playing during nap 2. If you notice this happening for 4-5 days a week for 2 weeks, it could be time. But if these things aren’t happening and your baby is napping twice beautifully, you may want to have the conversation with your daycare provider about keeping your schedule for another couple months.
Q: During sleep training, what if there's an outing scheduled during naptime?
A: During training, it’s best to stick to your consistent routine and sleep space for all, or the majority of the time. However, if you need to go out a couple times, we work around it and I guide you in how best to plan out the day. So, for those days we may need to time the nap to before or during the outing, with an early bedtime depending on how naps go.
Q: When do you start your sleep coaching?
A: I start sleep consulting as early as newborn. But for babies this little, it’s a plan set out to build healthy sleep habits, with step by step lessons on how to set up sleep success as baby grows. I start coaching to sleep through the night with a consistent schedule/routine at 4+ months.
Q: How consistent should we be after sleep training?
A: During sleep training it's important to stay consistent so the new routine sticks. After that a 80/20 rule will work fine. Maintain the consistency 80% of the time!
Q: How do your recommend shifting bedtime earlier?
A: The best way to approach it is to make bedtime earlier by 15-30 minutes for 3-4 days, and repeat every 3-4 days until you get to your ideal bedtime hour.
Got some baby sleep questions? Send me an email and if it's a reoccurring one, I may add to this list! firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find yourself struggling with your little ones sleep and you not only want it solved (I can definitely do that for you), but you want to adopt a clear schedule that works and you want to understand how to make better decisions around sleep once your child is sleeping well, we must chat! Book a free 15-minute sleep assessment call to share where you are at with sleep and see how I can help you achieve the above.
Want Toddler answers? Check out: Toddler Sleep Questions? Common FAQ's