The truth is that a 1 month old does not have a set schedule. Set-in-stone one month old sleep schedules can set you up to fail because they assume you can control or predict how long your little one naps for, and that is almost impossible to do in this newborn stage. Naps can vary in length day to day. In addition, what do you do if your little one doesn’t nap as long as the schedule says, or naps more? Do you keep them up until the next nap time even though they are tired?
I teach my clients a “flexible schedule” or a “daily flow.” This helps you gather some predictability to your day as you can project ahead to what your baby will need in a few hours. The idea is that every time your baby wakes up, you are projecting out to when the next nap should fall. Every time your baby eats during the day you are projecting out to the next 3 hours to when the next feed needs to be.
3 Things You Need to Know About Your One Month Old Sleep Schedule
1. Feeding and gaining weight is the most important thing
The most important thing at this age is making sure that if you are breast feeding that you are getting your milk supply up and well established.
If you are formula feeding that your baby is adapting well to the formula.
For both scenarios you want your baby to be back up to birth weight and maintaining a weight curve. If that’s not happening for you, don’t worry about sleep now and focus your energies on that.
2. It’s your job to decide when sleep needs to happen.
The first couple weeks of life most babies wake up, eat and fall back asleep. But this is only for a few weeks and in general babies don’t just always fall asleep when they are tired.
A baby 0-2 months of age needs to be back asleep from being awake in 45 minutes to 1 hour during the daytime.
If you surpass that time, it can be harder to get your baby to fall asleep, and then stay asleep.
Sleep begets sleep. The more well rested your baby is, the easier it is to fall asleep and then stay asleep.
3. You need to become a sleep detective
Newborns can be fussy and it’s your job to figure out why that is. Possible causes of babies being fussy are:
- Being overstimulated
- Being overtired
The Dunstan Baby Language is a great resource for learning what different cries mean and distinguishing the root cause of your baby’s discomfort.
Sample One Month Old Sleep Schedule Example
7:30 am - Wake up and feed #1
8:30 am - Nap 1 - back asleep
10:00 am - Wake up and Feed #2 - 2.5 hours since last feed
- This first nap of the day tends to be the longer nap for many kids until roughly 4 months
11:00 am - Nap 2 - 1 hour
- During nap, woke at 30 minutes, Mom picked up burped and soothed her back to sleep and extended nap to 1 hour
12:00 pm - Awake
1:00 pm - Nap 3 - 45 minutes
1:45 pm - Awake
1:45 pm - Feed #3 - 3hrs 45 min since last feed
2:45 pm - Asleep
4:15 pm - Nap 4 -1.5 hours
4:45 pm - Awake and Feed #4 - 2 hours since last feed
5:45 pm - Nap 5
6:56 pm - Awake
Witching period - lots of cluster feeding and possibly some mini naps at the breast/bottle in this time
7:00 pm - Feed #5 - 1:45 since last feed
8:00 pm - Trying to get down for the night, this might take up to 1 hour of cluster feeding, burping, settling, wanting to feed again.
Goal of 9 pm asleep if possible.
9:00 pm - Asleep
10:00 pm - Dreamfeed before Mom goes to sleep
2:20 am - Awake and Feed (4.5 hours)
5:20 am - Awake and Feed (3 hours)
7:30 am - Awake for the day
What’s important in this schedule
- Trying to get your baby back to sleep within 1 hour of being awake during the day
- Intentionally feeding both sides every 3 hours during the day
- Trying to feed on wake up rather than putting down to sleep
- Trying to get naps to be 45 minutes or more
- Witching period of fussy baby from 6-10 pm is real
- Baby is tired and your milk supply is lower so you have competing needs of tired and hungry = fussy
- Trying to get 15 - 18 hours of total sleep in 24 hours
What’s NOT important about this schedule
- The times listed - your baby may wake up at 7 am for the day and change the times of naps - it’s the time intervals between feeds and sleeps that is important
- The exact nap lengths. Newborn nap lengths may vary day to day. Maybe she only takes a 45 minute nap at the beginning of the day and wakes happy and content. That’s okay, start your 1 hour awake time from that time.
Did you know that your baby's most important sleep habits are learned in their first 8 weeks? The habits they form early on affect their sleep as they age, and teaching your newborn healthy sleep habits now can prevent the headache of having to unlearn bad habits down the road. That’s why I’ve created the Helping Newborns Sleep class –– to ensure that moms and newborns can get started building healthy habits, sleep 6-8 hours straight a night and ENJOY the newborn stage. Check out the class for step-by-step guidance for having a happy, health, and well-rested newborn.