Is it OK to put my 4-month-old to bed at 10:30 p.m.? It's hard to keep an earlier bedtime with my family's busy schedule.
It’s a major challenge to arrange an entire household’s schedule around your baby’s bedtime. But the good news is, at this stage, baby sleep patterns are anything but set.
In fact, many babies don’t have regular sleep cycles until they reach 6 months. At this young age, they may snooze for only one to two hours at a time. So as long as your infant is getting 16 to 17 hours of sleep a day, it doesn’t matter when he hits the sheets.
However, even with a late bedtime, you’ll want to start establishing a routine that puts your baby into relaxation mode. Try a warm bath followed by a feeding, a diaper change, and reading a book or singing a lullaby. That way, when your baby starts falling into more regular sleep patterns, he’ll already know the cues that it’s time to wind down.
When sleep patterns begin forming, you can set and maintain a more predictable baby sleep schedule. Having consistent sleep and wake times sets your baby’s internal clock, helping him feel drowsy, fall asleep faster, and even snooze for longer at night. Reinforce the rhythms by lowering the lights and limiting activity around bedtime.
The bottom line: Feel free to mold your baby’s schedule to yours and do what works for your family. Ultimately, that’s what’s best for your baby, too.