If you’re the type of parent that loves to track everything baby-related, then you’ll be especially excited to know that there are numerous benefits to baby sleep tracking. Tracking baby sleep helps you recognize patterns and trends, thus allowing you to create a better sleep routine for your baby. But when exactly should you start sleep tracking? Read on to find out.
Eager parents will be happy to learn that you can start tracking sleep from day one. Just be aware that a newborn baby’s sleep is all over the place. They can nap anywhere from 4-6 times a day, with each of those naps lasting from 30 minutes up to 3 hours. Plus, they’ll wake throughout the night. In general, their sleep patterns can look a lot like around-the-clock cat napping. At this stage, sleep tracking is less about uncovering a routine and more so about providing parents with a way to feel in control of their baby’s sleep.
Around 2-3 months, you may start to notice your baby’s sleep developing and maturing. By this point their sleep cycles have developed into four separate stages and their naps will begin to regulate. Now is a great time for parents to start tracking naps to know when they might find gaps of time (and freedom!). As you begin to track your baby’s sleep, you will start to see nap trends to help you plan your day. If you find your baby goes down for a nap around 11 a.m. everyday, then you can schedule things around that time. Creating these patterns and routines can give you a newfound sense of freedom and predictability!
Baby sleep tracking can also help you understand where your little one is on the sleep scale developmentally. Wake windows will become more predictable and more consistent, which can help prevent an overtired baby. At this stage, it’s also important that tracking includes nighttime feedings, as your baby will most likely still be needing feedings at night. However, they should be naturally stretching their feedings, meaning you (the parent) should be getting one long stretch of sleep. By tracking those feedings, you can determine when you should be taking full advantage of that long stretch of sleep.
Around 4-6 months, sleep takes a huge leap in progress. Likewise, you can start supporting your baby by helping them develop the skill of self soothing. By this point, your baby will be taking 3-4 naps per day and they should be around the same time each day. Tracking these sleep times will help you provide your baby with consistency, which will then give you a better sleeper! Your baby may still wake for 1-2 feedings at night, so tracking those feedings can help you understand which ones you can wean. Just make sure they shift those calories to be taken during the day rather than during those precious sleep moments at night.
There is no wrong way to parent. It takes a spectrum of personalities in parenting to raise a diverse generation of little humans. If baby sleep tracking just isn’t your thing, or if it adds more stress to your life, then don’t do it! Some babies are natural sleepers and some parents do not mind following cued care rather than a schedule. Ultimately, if you and your baby are happy and healthy, then you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. Keep up the good work.