For new parents, there is no more important topic than that of their baby's sleep. Some parents are lucky enough to come home with infants who are great sleepers, others struggle with babies who seem to survive on no sleep at all and some babies fall somewhere in the middle. There's no doubt about it: Sleep is something all new parents are desperate to get, but rarely know how to achieve.
To help change that, smart baby monitor company Nanit is giving away a resource that they hope will help struggling parents get more of the sleep they so deeply crave. On March 1, in honor of Baby Sleep Day, Nanit is releasing a free Baby Sleep Schedule Generator.
The way the Schedule Generator works is simple: Just plug in the time you want your baby to wake up in the morning and you will receive a personalized, age-appropriate sleep schedule with suggested nap, meal and bedtimes that can evolve as your baby grows.
That's right, instead of hiring a sleep consultant or googling a million sleep sites, you simply go online and plug in some info ... and voila—a customized sleep schedule. Seriously, is this not every new parent's dream come true?!
Dr. Natalie Barnett, a pediatric sleep expert at Nanit and founder of Seven Oaks Sleep Science in NYC, explains that the Baby Sleep Schedule Generator was created because sleep is often a confusing topic for parents. It can be hard to set a sleep schedule that works for your family and accounts for your baby's individual needs. Dr. Barnett notes that the customized schedule can help take the guesswork out of sleep for parents and result in more rest for everyone.
"Setting up your baby's day so that they get the right amount of food and right amount of sleep during the day will really help them sleep better at night," she explains.
According to Dr. Barnett, it's actually a big myth that having a baby means never sleeping again.
"One of the biggest misconceptions around baby sleep that I see is the idea that this lack of sleep is an inevitable part of life for the first 12 months," she notes. "That’s absolutely not true! Most babies are capable of sleeping through the night by 4 to 6 months, if their days are structured correctly."
With a careful combination of recognizing a baby's changing sleep and activity needs, learning sleep and wake cues, and timing meals, naps and bedtimes, Nanit is hoping to help parents set up real-life daily schedules that make getting rest a top priority for both parents and babies. Although parents might not always realize it, a simple thing like a baby being overtired or poorly timed feedings might actually be sabotaging their baby's sleep.
To help promote healthy sleep, in addition to the sleep schedule, Dr. Barnett recommends the following tips for getting your baby to sleep:
* Set up your baby's environment. Make sure the room is dark, cool (69 to72 degrees), and contains a full-sized crib and a white noise machine.
* Make sure your baby is getting enough food and sleep during the day, so they don't need to eat at night.
* Once those things are achieved, focus on teaching your baby to fall asleep by themselves at the beginning of the night.
Not only will the Nanit Sleep Schedule Generator provide parents with a detailed sleep and activity schedule to optimize their baby's sleep, but it will also include monthly emails with additional sleep tips and updates.
But overall, Dr. Barnett encourages parents to not overthink sleep—especially in the beginning with newborns. "You can't make any sleep mistakes in the first few months," she says. "I see too many people worrying about rocking their 6-week-olds to sleep. In those early months, your baby may not be able to self-soothe and you may need to be the one soothing them. So, if that means you are rocking, patting, breastfeeding to sleep, then go for it."
It's around the 12- to 14-week mark when tools like a sleep schedule and education about how to structure infant sleep might help.
"Encouraging your baby to fall asleep by themselves will help them go longer through the night without a feed so that we can gradually and naturally cut down those night feeds (with little or no crying involved)," she adds.
Let's be clear—that goes for both parents and babies, right?