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How to Sleep Train by Tuning Into Your Baby's Developmental Needs (0-15 Months)

In the parenting journey, creating a sleep routine for our little ones is more of an art than a strict science. As a parent, I know firsthand how personal and sometimes perplexing setting up a sleep routine for our little ones can be.


At Le Village, we've worked with hundreds of families, each wrestling with their own "sleep wars," trying to find a balance that respects their needs while nurturing their child’s growth. Creating a sleep routine comes with no right or wrong answers, as each family's approach is as unique as they are. Dispensing advice in this area can feel particularly loaded; parents are often doing their best under impossible conditions, leaving them frustrated and susceptible to feeling even more pressured. But after helping a ton of tired families find their groove with sleep, we’ve learned a thing or two. 😉



Exhausted Mama contact naps with her baby


The bad news is that your baby's sleep is rotational. It constantly evolves because they are constantly evolving. The second you think that you've found your rhythm, they go and grow out of your hard earned schedule! But here’s the good news: it does get easier, and understanding how a child's sleep can change over time might just make you sleep champion!


So let's break it down! At Le Village, we cherish the unique pace at which each baby develops, recognizing that their personal growth intricately influences their sleep needs. What month your child is aged might not matter--what they are working on and learning, does! Instead of merely marking time by months, let’s focus on the cues our children give us, allowing us to tailor sleep patterns that not only respect but also enhance their natural rhythms. We've paired the typical sleep patterns with some developmental milestones to make it easier to track. Take a look!


Newborns (0-2 Months)

Naps: Newborns slip into sleep frequently and irregularly, typically snoozing for 2 to 4 hours at a time as they adjust to life outside the womb. These early naps are closely tied to feedings and are less influenced by a set schedule.

Developmental Milestones: This period is rich with reflexive actions such as rooting and sucking. Your newborn will start recognizing voices, especially those of their parents, and respond with their first coos, signaling the beginning of their communication journey.

Wake Windows: Initially, your baby will have brief wake periods lasting between 45 minutes to an hour—perfect for some gentle interaction and a good cuddle.


Ages 3–4 Months

Naps: Your baby’s naps will start to become a bit more predictable, with 3 to 4 naps a day each lasting from half an hour to two hours. A quiet, dimly-lit environment becomes essential as they become increasingly alert. If they have their nights and days confused, try letting in more light during the daytime so their body releases Melatonin at the right time.

Developmental Milestones: Expect developments such as reaching for toys, rolling from tummy to back, and the emergence of social smiles that seem to say, "I recognize you!"

Wake Windows: With wake windows extending to about 1.5 to 2 hours, there's more time for playful interaction and learning.


Ages 4–6 Months

Naps: As they grow, most babies consolidate their sleep into 2 to 3 longer naps per day, with the morning nap often extending up to 90 minutes+ and a cat nap in the late afternoon.

Developmental Milestones: This is a time for sitting with support, varied babbling, and increased exploration of their environment through touch and taste.

Wake Windows: The wake windows now last about 2 to 2.5 hours, providing substantial opportunity for developmental activities.


Ages 6–9 Months

Naps: Typically, babies transition to two consistent naps during this stage, with each session comfortably exceeding an hour+. Don't be afraid to drop that 3rd nap as sleep will become more consistent at night as your child sleeps less during the day!

Developmental Milestones: This phase sees babies crawling, pulling to stand with support, and perfecting the pincer grasp—each a testament to their growing independence and dexterity.

Wake Windows: They can now stay awake for up to 3 hours, allowing richer and more engaging activities.


Ages 9–12 Months

Naps: Continuing with two naps ensures a stable sleep pattern, crucial for supporting the rapid developments of this stage.

Developmental Milestones: First words and steps make this a thrilling time for babies and parents alike. Emotional and social skills also expand, enhancing every interaction. They have ALOT to learn and they want to be awake more to practice their new skills!

Wake Windows: Up to 4 hours of wakefulness provides ample time for challenging play and learning.


Ages 12–15 Months

Naps: The shift to one midday nap typically starts here, in line with their increased activity and independence.

Developmental Milestones: Walking, climbing, and a rapid expansion in vocabulary are all part of this dynamic period. We find that first steps and 1 nap go hand in hand!

Wake Windows: Keeping them engaged during longer wake windows is crucial to managing energy levels and preventing overtiredness. Be aware that by 5pm they are going to be pretty exhausted. Limiting screen time and keeping low stimulation activities during this period can help prevent the "witching hour".


Wrapping Up

At Le Village, adopting a flexible approach that is responsive to your child's developmental cues enhances their overall growth and the effectiveness of their sleep routine. By integrating these tailored strategies into your daily life, you ensure your baby gets the rest they need in a way that naturally supports their development, paving the way for smoother, more joyful days for the whole family. Good luck out there parents! You've got this!

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