After having your baby, sleep (or lack thereof) quickly becomes the focal point of many conversations, google searches, and a constant loop of wondering and worrying. Is my baby getting enough sleep and how can I get them more? Sometimes the answers can be found merely by tracking your baby’s sleep habits.
If you are a super organized parent, you may have already started writing things down, searching for patterns or clues to try to help you muddle your way through. While this is great, it can be super tricky if you are not sure what you are looking for or what your newly acquired data all means, which can leave you feeling more overwhelmed than when you started.
5 Tips for Tracking Your Baby’s Sleep Habits
When it comes to tracking your baby’s sleep habits, here are five simple tips on what to track, how to track it and what it might all mean.
- Don’t bother tracking anything for the first two months. Babies spend their first few months just trying to figure it all out and adjust to life on the outside. Typically, there are few, if any, patterns that emerge. If there are, it may not mean much until they, and their sleep, is more mature.
- Between 2-4 months the main thing you can start watching is their awake time between naps. Babies typically can’t tolerate more than 1-2 hours of awake time between naps. Watch for sleep cues and practicing putting them down within that window will help to establish healthy sleep skills for later.
- Mini wakes. If your baby wakes up during the night or a nap and they can resettle on their own in less than 5 minutes, there is no need to worry. Those little wakes typically mean nothing. Over time they fade out, so it is a great sign! No need to track those or feel like those need to be “fixed.”
- Don’t compare your baby’s sleep to the best sleeping baby in your Mommy group. If your baby is struggling with sleep, you are NOT alone, and it is not a reflection of your parenting. Make sure your expectations are reasonable and if your second cousin has that magic sleeping baby, maybe just avoid the sleep topic for a little while.
- Monitor the monitoring! While we love the convenience and being able to check up on our adorable sleeping babies without having to go into the room, video monitors can be a bit addicting. If your baby is sleeping or quiet, there’s no need to be watching the monitor minute by minute. Constantly watching the monitor may just make you more anxious. Babies move a lot in their sleep. They can open their eyes, or even sit up and then lay back down while they are sleeping. This is normal and isn’t a cause for concern or a reflection of how well your baby sleeps. If they need you, they will let you know!
There are many apps you can download to track your babies sleep or logs you can print. These can be helpful tools. However, it can also be exhausting and frustrating if you are unsure of what to do with the information you collect. Remember with sleep; it is progress, not perfection. If you see improvements in some areas, keep going! Don’t worry about an off night or nap here or there.
If you have tried to make some adjustments on your own and things are not improving, don’t hesitate to reach out, we would love to help you decipher your data and get some progress moving in the right direction!