3 naps, 2 naps, 1 nap, NO naps!
Sleep patterns change as your child grows.
We bring home babies from the hospital with not much information on sleeping. Some parents are advised to wake their child every 3 hours for feeding, depending on birth weight and health factors. That aside, there is also the age-old addage,
Never wake a sleeping baby.
How do you decide? I was SPOILED with daughter #1. She was a good sleeper. Our first night home from the hospital she slept 5 hours straight. I thought this was amazing. We would hang out and watch the late shows as a couple, do one last feeding around midnight and off to sleep we all went until 530 or 6. We weren’t up for the day after that either, she would go back to sleep. I told you, I was spoiled. As new parents, this seemed to be a great routine. It was working. She gained weight, slept really well and we were good.
One night, we went out to the movies, leaving our bundle at home with grandparents. Mamma (Grandma on my husband’s side), put darling daughter to bed after her 7pm feeding. WHAT? I was floored, so early? And do you know what happened? She slept through the night! I was shocked. I was under the impression like all new parents are, the later the bedtime, the later the sleep in. This is how sleep works, isn’t? As an adult and a teenager, I am sure this is how it works.
The exact opposite is true for babies and small children.
Sleep begets sleep.
A consistent bedtime and routine will help your child sleep better and/or longer. I could hardly believe that she went to bed and stayed asleep until morning. Knowing that an earlier bedtime worked, how do we pick a time? 7 or 7:30? 6:30?
I have found there is a sleep sweet spot for our girls and it takes some trial and error to figure out. We all know if you miss it, the kids go wacky.
We have never been parents who left events early to be home for bed. We stick to our bedtime routines when were are home or sleeping over somewhere, but also embrace the one or two off nights and let bedtimes slide. As a child, I went to bed at 7:30. I remember vividly going to my room and climbing into bed while the sun was still up. I am not sure what age this ended, but as demands of activities and school increased, I am sure I stayed up later.
So… down to the nitty gritty. How do you determine bedtime and how many naps a child needs? How many hours of sleep does my 5 year old need? What about my 7 year old? Sleep Sisters have a well laid-out chart explaining bedtimes starting from a newborn. They are certified sleep infant and child sleep consultants. The sleep answers for my two daughters?
5 year old, between 11 and 13 hours of sleep, bedtime between 6:30 and 8pm
7 year old, between 10 and 11 hours of sleep, bedtime between 7:30 and 9pm
Our girls share a room and are currently going to bed at the same time. We try for bed as close to 8pm as we can. Some nights, if we had an earlier morning they are in bed at 7:45 and asleep by 8. Other nights, like last night, after #2’s birthday party, they were up until 8:30pm. We generally have very good sleepers (knock on wood). They sleep around 11 hours and are up by 7 ish.
Here is another link I found regarding Sleep Myths (like later bedtimes increasing sleep, never wake a sleeping baby etc). Baby Sleep Fairy
Happy weekend, hope its restful!