When Baby’s Days and Nights Get Mixed Up

Are your little one’s days and nights mixed up? Why does this happen? Keep reading for some tips to implement to get things switched around and create great sleep habits!

As we navigate those first few weeks home with baby, it can feel like you’re working an all-night shift as your little one establishes their new routine. If your little one has days and nights mixed up, it may even feel like your house is a “party all night” and “sleep all day” kind of house.

We’ve been there and know how frustrating it can be when baby sleeps so great during the day and then you can barely get 30 minutes of rest out of them at night!

Why do babies’ days and nights get mixed up?

One possibility is that, in utero, your movements and activity during the day allowed that little one to sleep. You may have even noticed tons of movement in the evenings and nighttime when you were still and trying to rest.

Circadian rhythm (their little internal body clock) will not really start to come into play until about 3 months of age.

All of that to say, they simply do not know the difference between daytime and nighttime!

Here are a few things we can do to help switch things around and create great habits as we navigate those first few weeks.

  1. A routine that includes feeding every 3 hours during the day.
  2. Naps during the day can have natural light.
    • Try to limit each nap to about 2 hours.
  3. Daytime activity for a few minutes after each feeding.
    • This does NOT mean making them stay awake. Just love on them, talk to them, do some tummy time or back time every few minutes.
  4. An evening routine that consists of bath time (or pretend bath time if you are not doing it every night), tender-time (even if only lasts a minute or two) and a nice bedtime feeding. Then put them down in the crib.
  5. Use a sound machine
    • White noise is reminiscent of the noise babies heard inside the womb.
    • The white noise machine should be kept on all night long, turned up loud enough for you to hear on the other side of the door, and should be kept 12-24 inches from the head of the crib.
  6. During night time feedings limit noise, light and interaction.

Most importantly, remember that this is normal. Longer stretches of sleep will come and you are doing a great job! Children are strong, adaptable, and resilient…and so are you!