by in Sleep January 12, 2014

Dr. Green Mom- Sleep

“I don’t recommend any forced sleep changes during the first year of life. Probably the only exception to this would be an emergency involving a nursing mom’s health. There are many suggestions in books and magazines for pushing “sleeping through the night” during a baby’s early months or during the first year. I don’t think this is the best thing to do and I am quite sure that the earlier a baby gets “non-response” from parents, the more likely he is to close down at least a little.”

~Dr. Jay Gordon:

  1. a pediatrician, practicing in California for over 30 years.
  2. the first male physician to sit for and pass the International Board of Lactation Certification Exam.
  3. has served on the Professional Advisory Board of La Leche League for twenty-four years. 
  4. advocates for the family bed.
  5. advocates for attachment parenting.
  6. believes strongly in infant massage.
  7. struggles with the current vaccine schedule (off topic but important nonetheless)

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Sleep “Experts”

Many “sleep experts” talk about sleep training, baby training, baby whispering, Ferber, no cry sleep solutions…yaddaaaaa….They all talk about “training” your baby…

I don’t believe in “training” your baby, and no, I don’t believe in potty “training” either.  I don’t believe in “training” your child to say “please” and “thank you” and I find it interesting when I hear parents say to their toddler, “say hi” or “use your words”…(tangent, sorry)

What I do believe in is modeling behaviors and allowing my child to-

  1. pick up these cues from her caregivers and environment on her own.
  2. practice them in her own time.
  3. and watch her demonstrate them when she is ready.

I’m no sleep expert, but this is what I can tell you from my experience with “sleep and your baby”…

  1. All babies are different.
  2. All parents have different child rearing views ( – one of these examples made me cringe).
  3. Most sleep experts have different opinions.

Bottom line: What works for one child and family may or may not work for another, hence all these books can be confusing and expensive.

Have grace with yourself and with your baby. I get it, you’re exhausted. I have been there.. What am I talking about, I am still “there!”  However, you absolutely cannot have expectations of your baby sleeping without you for extended periods of time at 6 weeks old, or 2 months, or 6 or 10 months… Now if it happens naturally, well then awesome… If you place no expectations, chances for being let down are slim in my book…
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Sleep Resources

So, here’s what I’ve got for you…

  1. Place little expectation on the new babe, she wants mama and that’s just awesome! It’s cliche, but time flies and your babe wants only mama for a short blip in time, then it’s over. Cherish it, mama!
  2. Place little value on outside opinions.  What worked best for Sally down the street may not work for you, physically and/or morally.
  3. Do what you can do.  My breaking point is not yours, and your breaking point is not the next person’s.  Hang on with tooth and nail.  It gets better, eventually. 🙂
  4. Invest in help- either financially, support groups, or with trade.  If you have family or friends around, don’t be too proud to ask for help.  And if you are like me, we have no family around, so I joined a mother’s support group at church.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  Do you have any idea how many mother “mentors” are out there that don’t have children in the home anymore and would love to love on your bundled babe for a few hours to give you rest? Check out Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) and find a group in your area!

And since Dr. Jay Gordon’s “method” isn’t for everyone, here are links to help you during the first 12 months and beyond:

  1. Compassionate Sleep Solutions (website)
  2. Science of Mom (website – scroll down to the About Sleep section- I like this gal)
  3. The Sleep Lady (website with lots of great information)
  4. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (book)
  5. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night: Foreword by William Sears, M.D. (Pantley) (book)
  6. The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child’s Sleep: Foreword by Dr. Harvey Karp (Pantley) (book for toddlers and preschoolers)
  7. The Happiest Baby on the Block (book)

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Sleep Requirements for Your Growing Child

Below you will find examples of schedules for infancy to age 5.  But, let me point out that your baby should be in the driver’s seat.  Your baby will give you specific cues when she is tired (maybe fussy, wanting to nurse, slap happy, kicking the dog, total meltdown means you missed the nap by a long shot).  It is best to begin paying attention to these cues and let her guide you to a schedule that best fits her.

Included are recommend hours of sleep per 24 hours for your child, depending on age.  I find this particularly important because this time period between birth and 5 years is when brain development and neural integration is at it’s peak, the highest that it will ever be for the rest of your child’s life.  And with sleep also comes restoration and nourishment.  Yes, take advantage of this!  With sleep comes smarts and a healthy kid!

And, I cannot say enough that babies LOVE schedules, just as much as you will, if you haven’t found one yet that works for you and your child(ren).

(adapted from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and The Sleep Lady)


Your baby will sleep often right now, but baby will not sleep deeply.  Newborn sleep is not well organized, neurologically right now.  Your baby’s sleep routine should be very flexible at this stage, as well as feeding.  This time should be more “go with the flow of your baby.”

6-8 months old:

Your baby should be sleeping 11 hours through the night and 3.5 hours of daytime napping, spread over 2-3 naps.

Sample Schedule (this is only an example, but seems to work well for most babies) –

(Shift earlier if your child wakes between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.)

  • 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. Wake-up. Upon waking, nurse/bottle feed/solids.
  • 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. Morning nap, 1.5 to 2 hours. Upon waking, nurse/bottle/solids.
  • 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. Afternoon nap, 1.5 to 2 hours. Upon waking, nurse/bottle.
  • 3:30–4:00 p.m. (depends on previous nap time) Optional third nap, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. Nurse/bottle feed/solids.
  • 6:00–6:30 p.m. Start bath/bedtime preparations, which may include an additional bottle or nursing.
  • 7:00–7:30 p.m. Asleep.

9-12 months old:

Your baby should be sleeping 11 hours through the night.  At 9 months, naps should be 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 – 2 hours in the afternoon.  At 12 months, naps should be 1 hour in the morning and 1.5 in the afternoon (remember these are only approximations, no worries if your child deviates a bit from this).

Sample Schedule (this is only an example, but seems to work well for most babies) –

(Shift earlier if your child wakes between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.)

  • 7:00–7:30 a.m. Wake-up. Nurse/bottle/cup and breakfast.
  • 9:00–9:30 a.m.  Morning Nap – Rule of thumb here is to put your child down for first morning nap 3 hours after they wake in the morning.
  • 12:00–12:30 p.m.  Lunch (nurse/bottle/solids)
  • 1:00–2:00 p.m.  Afternoon Nap – Snack (nurse/bottle/solids)
  • 5:00–6:00 p.m.  Dinner (nurse/bottle/solids)
  • 7:00–7:30 p.m.  Bedtime. Nurse/bottle.

13-18 months old:

Your child should be sleeping 11-11½ hours through the night and 2-2½ hours of daytime napping.  At 13 months, there still may be 2 naps, but by 18 months, most children take just one nap in the afternoon.  If you are still nursing, children often like to nurse before and after naps and before bedtime and upon rising (and hopefully you are either by pumping or actual nursing.  Try to nurse until 2 yrs of age, according to the World Health Organization)

Sample Schedule (this is only an example, but seems to work well for most babies) –

(Shift earlier if your child wakes between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.)

  • 7:00–7:30 a.m.  Wake-up. Nurse/cup and breakfast.
  • 9:00–9:30 a.m.  Start of one-hour morning nap if she’s still taking one. She’ll probably want a snack right after the nap.
  • 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.  Lunch (depending on morning-nap timing).
  • 12:30–1:30 p.m.  Start of afternoon nap. About an hour and a half if it’s a second nap, about two to two and a half hours if it’s the only nap of the day. Snack after nap.
  • 5:00–5:30 p.m.  Dinner.
  • 6:00–6:30 p.m.  Start bath/bedtime routine.
  • 7:00–8:00 p.m.  Bedtime.

18 months- 2.5 yrs:

Your child should be sleeping 11-11½ hours through the night and 2-2½ hours of daytime napping.  By age two, 11 hours through the night and 2 hour nap in the afternoon.

Sample Schedule (this is only an example, but seems to work well for most babies) –

(Shift earlier if your child wakes between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.)

  • 7:00 a.m.–7:30 a.m. Wake-up and breakfast.
  • 12 p.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch.
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Start afternoon nap.
  • 5:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.  Dinner.
  • 6:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.  Start bath/bedtime routine.
  • 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.  Bedtime.

2½ – 5 yrs old:

Between 2 and 3 years of age, your child should get about 10½ of sleep through the night and a 1½ hour nap in the afternoon.  By age 4, your child should get 11½ hours of sleep through the night and 45 minutes of rest in the afternoon.  By are 5, your child should get 11 hours of sleep through the night and 45 minutes of rest in the afternoon.

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Reviewed/Updated: 09/14
Content Created: 06/14


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