Congratulations! Now your baby will probably begin to stay awake longer during the day and sleep more at night. Probably — but the range of normal is still very wide.
Your baby’s sleep phases are much the same as your own: drowsiness, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and very deep sleep. Your baby might start sleeping through the night now — but the definition of “sleeping through the night” at this age is a stretch of only 5 hours!
How Long Will My Baby Sleep?
Since babies are more alert and aware of their immediate surroundings during the daylight hours, they’re more inclined to sleep during the night, especially if parents fight the urge to play or talk to their baby during nighttime feedings or diaper changes.
Your baby is adapting to the sleep-wake cycle that parents favor, and the baby’s stomach is growing and holding more breast milk or formula. Most babies will have settled into a daily sleep routine of two or three sleep periods during the day, followed by “sleeping through the night” for 6 to 7 hours after a late-night feeding.
If your baby is sleeping a lot when you want him or her awake — or vice versa — encourage wakefulness during the day while also allowing your baby to have distinct sleeping periods. You also can rouse your baby for the late-night feeding at a time that suits your sleep schedule. For instance, if your baby gets sleepy after the 7 p.m. feeding and sleeps until 2 a.m. before feeding again, wake the baby to feed at 11 p.m. and then put him or her down to sleep until an early-morning feeding at 5 or 6 a.m. It may take a few nights to establish this routine, but it will happen if you’re consistent.
If your baby wakes during the period that you want him or her to be sleeping, keep activity to a minimum. Change or feed your baby in the dark, and don’t play with the baby. Your little one will start to get the message that you’re a bore during the night, so he or she might as well just go back to sleep.
If you haven’t already, try establishing a bedtime routine that will be familiar and relaxing for your baby. Bathing, reading, and singing can be soothing for parents and babies and signal an end to the day. Be consistent, and your baby will soon associate these steps with sleeping.
Remember: if part of your bedtime routine is to rock your baby for half an hour, then whenever waking during the night your baby is going to expect and need that step to get back to sleep. Ideally, your baby should be put into a crib or bassinet while drowsy but still awake. This way your baby will learn to fall asleep on his or her own.
Although it may be hard at first, some experts suggest this is also the age to start letting your baby fuss for a few minutes when he or she wakes during the night. Your baby may simply be in a phase of light slumber, even though you think your baby is totally awake. Some babies squirm, whine, and even cry in their sleep before putting themselves back to sleep.
Unless you suspect that your baby is hungry or ill, try to see what happens if you leave your baby alone. It will help you all in the long run if your baby can develop the skill of going back to sleep without your help.
As you’re creating a schedule for your baby, keep in mind that at 1 month most babies need:
- 12 to 24 ounces of breast milk or formula in a 24-hour period, though this amount may be as high as 36 to 40 ounces. (Get specific tips on how to tell whether your baby is getting enough breast milk or formula.)
- About 15.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period — this includes nighttime sleep and naps. Three naps during the day (morning, afternoon, and evening) is typical.
- Time for playing, developing important muscles, working on new skills, and interacting with you. Try reading to your little one, giving your baby a massage or bath, or going for a stroller walk.
When to Call the Doctor
If your baby’s sleep habits concern you, speak with your doctor, who can reassure you or get to the root of a physical problem that may have no other symptoms besides crankiness or sleeplessness. Either way, the doctor can help get you on the right track, the one that leads to more quality sleep for your baby and for you!
Again, not all infants keep to the same timetable. If you have questions or concerns, check with your doctor.