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What’s the Best Time for My Baby to go to Sleep?

What’s the Best Time That A Baby Should Go to Bed?

Even though babies are such cute and adorable little creatures, having them communicate to you what they really need is sometimes an absolute nightmare. Aspects such as when they’re truly tired and want to go to bed sometimes seem harder to crack than the Da Vinci Code. After tirelessly researching every single piece of information I could find on the subject, I compiled everything for you all below.

So, the question for today is, “What’s the correct time that a baby should go to bed?” The extremely condensed and short answer to this is roughly 6:00 – 7:00 PM. However, there are many factors that take into account a baby’s sleep schedule and when a specific time fits your unique baby and their needs.

I know figuring out this magic number for one they should be down for bed for the night can be quite difficult. It’s almost like 6:00 – 7:00 PM seems way too early, and sometimes 8:00 to 9:00 PM seems like it’s way past their bedtime. However, based on your baby’s age and other factors, the time that they go to sleep for the night depends on how much sleep that they and their brains need.

What’s the Right Time for Me to Put My Baby to Bed for The Night?

A general time frame to put babies down for bed for the night is between 6:00 – 7:00 PM as mentioned earlier. This range is important because it will give babies the sufficient amount of sleep that they need to properly function and develop.

It’s a common misconception to assume that the later you put your baby to sleep for the night, that it’ll be easier for them to fall sleep because they’ll be extra tired. This is actually far from the truth, because in the end, your baby will actually be much more tired the following day, and will give your baby a harder time falling asleep.

Plus, even though you might try to get your baby to go to bed at a later time, nothing will prevent them from waking up the same time as usual which means that ultimately, they’ll get less sleep than they truly need. Babies require immense amounts of sleep because their bodies and brains are still growing and developing. Both babies and adults alike need sleep, and both of us will suffer if we don’t get the amount of sleep that we need.

Even though 6:00 – 7:00 PM is a good ballpark range when you put your baby to bed, there are more factors that play into account when your baby should be going to bed. These factors rely on how much they’re sleeping, how many naps they’re taking, what you feed them, and their nighttime and nap routines. By knowing how much your baby should be sleeping, knowing how to get them to sleep when they’re tired, and by being on a schedule, you’ll be able to give them the ideal amount of sleep that they truly need and help them stay asleep throughout the night.

How Much Sleep Does A Baby Really Need?

We know that adults generally need 8 to 10 hours of restful sleep in order to be healthy and function normally, but finding the specific number that babies need can be quite the challenge.

I composed a chart that has suggested numbers of how much sleep babies need from birth until one-year-old. By understanding how much sleep babies need, it can help give us a better idea of why they need that much sleep and why early bedtimes are so important.

Age#Of Hours of Sleep at Night#Of Hours of Sleep During Day#Of Naps
2 Weeks- 2 Months Old8.5 – 106 – 7 Hours3-4
3 Months Old1053
4-6 Months Old114-53
7-9 Months Old11-122-32
10-12 Months Old132-32
12-24 Months Old13-141-31

These numbers come from here – even though these are estimated numbers, and Parents.com’s general time frames to follow, your baby might need slightly more or slightly less. It’s a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about this if you aren’t sure or think that your baby needs an adjustment on how much they sleep.

How Do I Get My Baby to Fall Sleep?

Even though there are a wide variety of different ways that you can help get your baby to fall sleep throughout the night, there are three of them that I think of the most effective. These are:

  1. Maintaining A Strict Bedtime
  2. Being Consistent with A Nighttime Routine
  3. Ideal Environment for Feedings

Maintaining a Strict Bedtime

I can’t stress how important bedtime is for babies and kids alike. Their body and mind will thank them the most on a sleep schedule that is consistent and routine. It will allow you to keep them asleep longer, help them get to bed quicker, and will overall be healthy for them to follow. Constantly maintaining this schedule is harder than you think…as I’m sure we all know how hectic life can be as parents! There are so many things that can interrupt our lives, and it’s easy to forget one night to get your baby to bed at the same time – especially if you have a lot going on in your life!

At about the three-month-old mark for babies, this is a good time to implement a strict bedtime schedule. Although, you can try to make a bedtime schedule for them before that time, but it probably won’t work as effectively compared to starting at around three months. Once again, if you aren’t sure if your baby is old enough for sleep training, you can always ask your pediatrician for their input on this.

By ensuring that they’re on a consistent sleep schedule, it will help them stay asleep longer and fall sleep quicker with a consistent sleep pattern.

Being Consistent with The Nighttime Routine

A nighttime routine is one of the best ways you can help your baby fall sleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the long hours of the night. A nightly routine is something that you do each night before bed. It can be something as simple as a bath, followed by a book, story, or even just light whisperings to them. Maybe you want to try a lullaby, or swaddle them for a bit. The key is to create a nighttime routine that can be repeated each night and is simple enough to maintain doing.

By being consistent with these routines, it will help tell your baby to prep their body and mind for sleep at the same time each and every night. By doing so, you’ll be able to help them avoid common issues with sleep and save yourself and husband/spouse lots of headaches from a cranky baby who doesn’t sleep.

Ideal Environment for Feedings

By carefully crafting the environment around when you feed them, you’ll be able to subconsciously teach your baby to associate feeding with being excited and full of energy, and ensure that the last feeding of the night is completely different than all the ones prior to it. For their nighttime feeding, try to calm the atmosphere and make their overall environment fairly lax so their brain can send a signal to them – one that tells their body and mind that it’s almost time to go to sleep.

Through my experience, and through plenty of research, I believe that these three methods are the foundations to getting your baby to sleep in the healthiest way.

How Can I Keep My Baby on A Consistent Sleep Schedule?

Trying to be consistent with the daily struggles of life can be quite difficult to pull off. Babies truly need consistent sleep schedules to maximize their development.

Trying to balance life, work, unexpected emergencies, and so on…with your baby can be almost seemingly impossible. Maybe there are some nights you have to work and can’t get home until after 7 PM or later. What if you work night shifts? There are so many different possible scenarios. How exactly do you balance it all and ensure that you don’t miss a day and screw up your baby’s sleep schedule?

Here are five easy tips that can help you keep your baby’s sleep schedule on point, all while still enjoying life and finding a balance that works:

  1. Babysitters – Although the journey of finding a trustworthy, affordable, and well-rounded babysitter can be its own type of job, finding a babysitter who is a perfect match for your child can sometimes feel like winning the lottery. Babysitters will give you and your spouse/husband a well needed rest when either of you feel like you need it.

  2. Be the Host – If you’re able to keep the noise level down, having parents or friends come and visit is a great way to take the edge off and possibly let your little one enjoy some other company.

  3. Bring Your Bundle of Joy with You – If possible, get a portable bassinet or something of the sort, and you’ll be able to visit friends and family while still keeping an eye out on your baby. This also ensures that you’ll be able to maintain a normal bedtime – all while still being surrounded by friends and family that can help take your mind off of the stresses of being a parent just for a little bit.

  4. Keep A Diary of Your Typical Nightly Routines and Schedules – Not only is this beneficial for figuring out potential issues or strengths about your own schedules, but this information will be very valuable for people such as babysitters, friends, or family who might watch your child. By keeping everything written down, you’ll be able to clearly give some guidance to others who aren’t unfamiliar with your baby. This can be a lifesaver if you need someone else to watch over them on certain nights.

  5. Staying in and Snuggling – Sometimes, maybe you or your significant other don’t have the time or energy to get to an event or visit friends or family. In that case, you can always sacrifice a night or two for your children to ensure that they get the rest that they truly need. Although this can be easier said than done, nothing shows how much you care for your children other than sacrificing a possible night of fun by staying with them and being a loving, responsible, and great parent!

About the Author Elizabeth

Hi everyone, I'm Elizabeth. My beautiful daughter Alice keeps me awake occasionally...but when I'm busy and can't sleep, I post parenting tips and different ways you can get your baby to sleep soundly through the night, and even naps!