Mummy Of Four’s Routine To Help Your Baby Sleep

Are you desperately tired with a baby that just won’t sleep? Read on to find the solution.

One of the biggest problems that most parents face is sleep, or lack of it. Newborns are notoriously good at keeping their parents awake all hours of the day and night, but many parents report that their babies of all ages still wake repeatedly when they really wish they would sleep. It is hard, really hard. If you are one of these parents, it will leave you feeling like a zombie and wondering how you will ever function as an actual human being.

The truth of the matter is, that these babies generally do get enough sleep, it’s just that this sleep is spread over a 24 hour period, rather than in a block of sleep at night when their parents would like to get some shut eye. So why is this? And what can we do to encourage our babies to let us get a bit more slumber? Although some night waking is to be expected in the beginning in order to ensure that your baby is properly fed, there are steps that you can take to ensure that your baby is having the majority of their sleep at the same time as you. Read on to find out how……

Think About It

If you were sleeping for most of the day, would you want to sleep all night too? (I’m not talking about tonight. If you’re reading this, it is probably because you are desperate for sleep, so a the moment you probably feel that you could sleep all day and all night.) Usually, a person, baby or adult, will need a certain amount of sleep within a 24 hour period. So how do you gently encourage your baby to have the majority of their sleep during the hours of darkness? And enough consecutive hours for you to be able to function as a normal human being in the morning?

It’s Not Just About When They Sleep

It’s about when they eat too. I remember when my youngest son was up loads in the night when he was tiny (before I discovered these life-saving routines), I used to eat a Kit Kat in the middle of the night to keep myself awake. Soon enough, I would wake up and start to feel hungry at that same time every night, whether my son was awake or not. Eating was not really a necessity at that time, it was just becoming a habit.

Imagine I had taken this a step further

If I had started eating full meals during the night, would I have been hungry enough to eat my normal sized meals during the day? Probably not. So I would have ended up in a situation where I was not eating enough during the day and would be starving at night. It would become a vicious cycle and, eventually, I would be consuming most of my calories at night, rather than sleeping. Babies are no different.

So how do we fix this?

It’s All About Routine

If your baby is eating at the right time and sleeping at the right time during the day, their night time sleep will naturally improve.

It is important that your baby is;

Eating at the right times – your baby needs to gradually be encouraged to consume the majority of their calories during the day.

Not sleeping too much during the day – if your baby is sleeping too much during the day, they will not want to sleep at night when you need to sleep.

Sleeping at the right times during the day – nap times need to be structured to encourage your baby to be ready for a block of night time sleep come bed time.

Not sleeping enough during the day – an over tired baby will often resist sleep, even though they desperately need it.

Can Newborn Babies Follow A Routine?

Newborn babies are not yet ready for a routine, but can follow a schedule. They need to be fed every 3 hours from the beginning of the feed between 6am and midnight, this is the only way to help them thrive even with their tiny tummies.

To start with, you should offer 5 minutes on each breast. Increase this by a few minutes each day until your milk comes in. Once your colostrum is replaced my milk, encourage baby to suckle for longer at the breast. Make sure that the first breast is emptied before moving to the second breast and increase suckling time gradually each day. You should aim to feed baby for around 25 minutes of the first breast, then offer 5 -10 minutes in the second. For more information about breastfeeding, check out my Things That Every Parent Should Know About Breastfeeding post.

When Can Your Baby Move On To More Structured Routines?

Before you start a “proper” routine with your baby, make sure that your baby;

  • has regained their birth weight and you health visitor is happy with their weight gain.
  • is feeding well and being encourage to empty the first breast before being offered the second. This will ensure that they reach the calorific hind milk. You can read more about this in my Doing This One Thing While Breastfeeding Will Help You Get More Sleep post.
  • is going 3 hours (counted from the beginning of the last feed) without becoming distressed due to hunger.

What Sort Of Routine Should Your Baby Be Following?

Feeding Times

If your baby is feeding most of the night and has little or no routine, structuring your baby’s day time feeds would be a good place to start. Timings for babies of different ages will vary, but as a general overview, babies will need milk feeds;

  • 7am – when they wake for the day
  • Mid morning
  • After their lunch time nap
  • Tea time (younger babies)
  • Before bed
  • Dream feed (younger babies)

For full details of the specific feeding times that suit babies of various ages, you can download my handy printable routine sheet.

Sleeping Times

Again, babies of various ages will need different amounts of sleep, but as a general guide, babies will need the following naps;

  • Morning nap – a shorter nap
  • Lunch time nap – the longest nap
  • Afternoon nap – a shorter nap (for younger babies)

Babies will need to shorten the length of each nap as they get older, dropping the afternoon nap first, then the morning nap. The lunch time nap is the core nap and will be the very last nap to be dropped as your baby becomes a toddler.

So give it a go! Download the PDF guide and start following the timings with your baby. If you are new to routines, or your baby’s sleep has taken a backwards step, start with the youngest age bracket routine that your baby will fit into. Start with eating at the right times and waking them up at the right times. Gradually, if you follow the routine, your baby will start to sleep less in the day and for longer stretches at night (so that you can too).

Other posts that might help

Why not pin this for later?

Comments 17

    1. Post

      I have found that the more children I have had, the more essential routine has become in order to make sure I fit in things like feeding them all ?

      Thanks for reading x

    1. Post

      Very good point. Babies are like us and all very individual. To help cover these differences my routine (that can be downloaded form free at the bottom of the post) gives options and age brackets, so you can choose what works for your baby xx

    1. Post
  1. Some mums I know have got on well with routines but it wasn’t for us. We’d have it down for a few days then everything would change. We just fed on demand and I safely co slept to make sure we got enough sleep. I only have the one though so I suppose it’s easier to go with the flow.
    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂

    1. Post

      Wow, thank you very much! I will certainly collect my badge ⭐️

      I know what you mean, routine isn’t for everyone. I had no routine at all with my first, safely co slept just like you and caught up napped when he did if necessary. I found it much harder with my second as I had so much routine naturally imposed upon us with school runs etc. Suddenly sleeping in the day when he happened to be tired wasn’t an option, and without embracing routine and elaborating upon the daily school routine with added baby routine, I don’t think I would have held it together. Now that I have 4, out lives are scheduled down to the last detail, more through necessity than anything else ?

      Thank you so much for reading xx

  2. My son was a terrible sleeper. My husband and I were exhausted until Susan Urban’s guide ‘how to teach a baby to fall asleep alone’ ( got it here: http://www.parental-love and I’m sure it’s also available on Amazon). The technique in this guide gave my family desperately needed sleep in just a few days without any drama. I’m not a person who response a lot on the internet but I know how difficult this subject is and I’m sure that this guide will help you guys as well. Good luck!

    1. Post
    2. A really useful guide to baby and toddler sleep. Simply written and easy to follow. And most importantly: it’s working!! I’m just after trying the method from Urban’s guide and I love it 🙂 Thanks for sharing the link!!

    3. i’m also in susan’s fanclub 🙂 got this guide from my friend and it worked so quick! i tried friday evening and the sunday night was already calm. amazing. everyone should know this method!

  3. I’m so glad I stopped by to read the article and the comments and that I purchased How to reach a baby to fall asleep alone guide! Life is beautiful when your baby sleeps!

    1. Post
  4. I had to learn routine for my own to make it work for my baby boy! I got the book about sleep training from my friend. It was the best baby-gift ever! Even though the method is since the month 4 there are tips to follow for the first months too. So we managed to establish the routine since the begging and when the time came – just in 3 nights teach my boy to self-sooth and fall asleep in hif crib without rocking. It is called HWL method by Susan Urban ( and it worked amazingly! But yes – routine is a key to success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *