When you become a parent, sleep becomes a bit of an obsession (research proves it). Late nights with the baby turn into long days spent thinking about those late nights.
It's no wonder many parents turn to baby sleep consultants when nothing else seems to work, but not everyone has room in their budget for personalized expert advice. Luckily, a new, online, free and personalized Baby Sleep Schedule Generator is launching today, just in time for Baby Sleep Day.
Created by baby monitor maker Nanit, the Baby Sleep Schedule Generator is a simple website where parents can personalize ideal wakeup or bedtimes and be served up a sleep schedule that will help them achieve their sleep goals.
Dr. Natalie Barnett, founder of Seven Oaks Sleep Science in New York City, is Nanit's pediatric sleep expert and a big fan of structured schedules after four months of age. Before that, she says, babies just sleep whenever, wherever throughout the day, so a schedule isn't possible. The baby also can't self-soothe yet, so parents shouldn't worry about rocking or nursing to sleep.
Around the four-month mark, though, everything changes. According to Dr. Barnett, four months is a great time to get your little one in a routine, as that's when they are getting the hang of self-soothing (but remember, every baby is different). Around six months most babies don't need to wake for a nighttime feeding anymore, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
If your baby is older, Dr. Barnett says it's never too late for parents to start using a sleep schedule if you want one (indeed, the Baby Sleep Schedule Generator schedule generator has an option for babies over a year old).
Following a sleep schedule can be hard at first, but when your baby starts to learn the routine and sleep better and longer, it can be such a relief. “We know that sleep deprivation can exacerbate the symptoms of postpartum depression," Barnett says. “In terms of a mother's mental health and well-being for everyone, it's very, very beneficial for parents, as well as babies, to be getting sleep."
According to Dr. Barnett, consistency is key when teaching a baby how and when to sleep. Figuring out what a schedule looks like can be hard though, and a tired mama can fall down an internet rabbit hole looking for the perfect template for her family's needs.
Since not every parent can get one-on-one advice from experts like Dr. Barnett, the Baby Sleep Schedule Generator is kind of the next best thing. (And it's free!)