As you slowly emerge from the haze of the newborn stage, you may be wondering what a sleep schedule for a 2-month-old should look like.
In the newborn stage, your little one’s sleep was very erratic with sleep times varying from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. All of which was completely normal.
By 2 months old, you may start to notice that your baby's sleep is slightly less erratic, although still not consistent. Over the next few weeks, your baby may begin to sleep for longer stretches during the night – which is something all parents look forward to.
Your baby's day and night confusion should have passed. If your baby is still confusing day and night. Now is the time to be consistent with implementing a bedtime routine.
Your baby can cope with longer awake windows typically 1 to 1.5 hours and is starting to interact more when they are awake. Showing you some of their little personality and starting to smile.
Whilst you will start to see more consistency in the sleep patterns of your little one. This age is still more about routine than following a strict schedule. Even the best-laid plans can go awry at this age. It is essential to be flexible and know that for all your best intentions there will be days when things do not go according to plan, and that is perfectly fine.
How Much Sleep Does a 2-Month-Old Need?
At this age, your baby needs between 14 – 16 hours of total sleep, consisting of 3 – 5 naps. These naps can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours in duration. Night-time sleep will start to consolidate into longer stretches of between 4 – 6 hours. These stretches will vary depending on whether your baby is bottle-fed or breastfed. Bottle-fed babies tend to sleep for more extended periods.
Tips for How to Get Your 2-Month-Old on a Sleep Schedule
As we said, this age is not about a strict schedule but more about routine. You can, however, encourage healthy sleep habits by following these tips:
Interact and play with your baby during the day
The interaction will not only help to reinforce the difference between day and night but will also ensure that your baby is getting enough stimulation during their awake periods.
Have a consistent bedtime routine
If you do not have a bedtime routine, now is the time to implement this. A bedtime routine should not take more than 30 – 40 minutes and should follow the same pattern every night.
Have an earlier bedtime
If your baby is still going to sleep around 10 pm, over the next few weeks start to move their bedtime earlier. Do this slowly by bringing forward bedtime by 15 minutes every few nights until bedtime is somewhere between 7 – 8 pm.
Have a nap routine
A nap routine should be an abbreviation of your bedtime routine. If your bedtime routine is feed, bath, massage, song and bed. A nap routine could be diaper change, song and bed.
Put your baby down for sleep when they are drowsy but awake
This can be a tricky one as it can be tough to keep a baby awake whilst feeding. During the day, make sure to feed when your little one wakes up, this way they will be at their most awake.
If you do find them dozing off whilst feeding. Sit them up a little bit, tickle the bottom of their feet or under their chin to keep them awake. Your baby needs to learn to self soothe so the more you can put them down awake, the better.
Putting them down to sleep drowsy will not work all the time. There will be days you have to do whatever it takes to get your little one to sleep. Start trying to put them down drowsy for the 1st nap of the day and bedtime, as this is when your baby has the most substantial need for sleep.
Keep stimulation and interaction to a minimum at night
When you feed and change your baby in the night, keep the lights as dim as possible and do not over stimulate your baby with lots of interaction. Feed and change as quickly as possible and get them back to sleep.
Wait a few minutes before you respond
Babies are very noisy sleepers. They also wake often in the night as they still have a short sleep cycle. When your baby wakes in the night, wait a few minutes before going to them as they may end up falling back asleep on their own.
Have a pattern for the day
Let’s say your baby has just woken up – offer a feed, then play a bit (tummy time, take a walk outside etc.), then it's down for a nap. So feed, play, sleep.
Ensure your baby gets enough feeds during the day
A breastfed baby needs to feed every 2 – 3 hours and a bottle-fed baby every 3 – 4 hours. If you can get as close to this as possible during the day – your little one will learn that day is for eating and night is for sleeping. Ensuring your baby fills up during the day will also help them sleep longer at night.
Sleep Schedule for 2-Month-Old
At this age, you cannot expect your baby's sleep schedule to be consistent, and days will vary. However, a typical day would look like the schedule below. This schedule is based on 90 minutes of awake time with the most extended period of awake time being just before bedtime. Four naps of between 60 – 90 minutes each. Remember some naps may be only 30 minutes long so you will have to adjust the schedule accordingly, being mindful of awake times so that your baby is not overtired.
If your baby isn't on a set sleep schedule just yet, do not worry. Keep helping your little one establish healthy sleep habits by being consistent. As each week goes by, you will see your baby’s sleep start to settle into a more predictable schedule.