As a new mom, you may have noticed that your baby sleeps all day and feeds all night. You may have even heard someone mention that your baby has day and night confusion. This basically means that when they are born, your little one doesn’t understand that daytime is for being awake and nighttime is for sleeping. 

There are several ways that you can help turn this around, but remember to be patient. Your little one is so new to the world, it always takes a little time. Sometimes your babe will figure it out in a couple of days, and sometimes it can take a couple of weeks. At first, you’ll find your little is sleeping almost 24 hours a day except for during feedings (enjoy this wonderful time!). You can help ease the transition from day to night by ensuring your child is not over sleeping in the day – cap naps at 2 hours and ensure you are feeding every three hours during the day, unless your pediatrician has given you different advice!

small feet of a baby

I have found the most important thing that you can do is mark the end of the day and the beginning of the night. From very early on, start using a bathtime ritual as a cue that the day is over and night has begun. For a 4 month old, a bedtime ritual will look like this:

6:00pm bathtime
6:15pm change into pajamas, baby massage, read stories
6:30pm swaddle tightly, final day feeding (either nurse or bottle)
7pm lights out

For a newborn, you might find that these times are quite a bit later, with bath time starting as late as 8:30 pm depending on their bedtime. This is totally normal! By 3 to 4 months you can start bringing that bedtime earlier.

Notice the bath time is short. Since babies are pattern seeking, this nighttime bath ritual doesn’t need to be a long show and dance. It just needs to mark the end of day and play time and provide a concrete signal that now we go to sleep. Bath time also helps to relax your bub, allowing for an easier transition to longer and deeper sleep. You’ll quickly find that your little sleeps for longer stretches after this signaled bedtime.

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