Parents understand that sleep is not a luxury — it is a biological necessity. And while adults routinely sacrificing sleep for more interesting endeavors, it doesn’t work that way for babies. For a 2-month-old, sleep is critical, in part because of the important development is underway while the baby snoozes. How much do 2-month-old babies sleep? Well, newborns are asleep more than they are awake but it’s still sometimes hard to get them to fall, or to stay, asleep. The whole endeavor can devolve into a vicious circle.
“They end up overtired, and then they’re harder to get to sleep at bedtime, they’re more prone to overnight wake-ups, and they’re more prone to those early-morning starts as well,” says Hannah Peterson a pediatric nurse and the owner-operator of Dream Baby Sleep Consulting. Sound familiar? Yeah, it happens to adults too. Here, Peterson describes what to expect, and how to craft a 2-month-old sleep schedule.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Sleep
Two Nighttime Feedings
How long baby can sleep through the night depends on how long they can go between feedings, which doctors approximate by weight. The first big milestone is nine pounds, which equates to five hours between feedings. And while every baby is different, they’ll most likely be there by two-months-old. Peterson says its reasonable at this age to expect to get up twice during the night to feed her.
You’ll Need a Resettling Method for the Baby
Of course, there are other reasons baby wakes up crying at night. And even if you’ve just fed him, you still need to go investigate. Because babies from 0-3 months do not yet have the ability to self-soothe, you are fully responsible for not only ensuring his comfort, but for helping him relax and fall back asleep. Peterson’s go-to method for resettling at this age is Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s: Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing and Suck, because they don’t inadvertently create bad sleep habits for baby that will be hard to correct down the road.
Baby’s 45-Minute Sleep Cycle Will Emerge
Baby’s daytime naps will begin to roughly adhere to 45-minute sleep cycles. It’s typical that she will wake after 35-45 minutes. That doesn’t necessarily mean she should get up, so refrain from immediately swooping in and starting to socialize with her. Instead, wait a moment to give her the chance to fall back asleep for another cycle if she needs it.
Daytime Naps Become a Bit More Structured
At two months, babies stop sleeping “here and there and everywhere,’” as Peterson calls it, and begin to demonstrate more predictable patterns. Take the opportunity to move toward a more manageable schedule for your life based on four naps per day. Ideally, at least one of those naps is what’s considered a long one, about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Baby’s Maternal Melatonin Has Run its Course
Babies are born with maternal melatonin which makes them quite sleepy. After a few weeks, they start to literally wake up, and parents notice baby seems more alert during the day, starts looking around more, and begins flashing that infamous baby grin. At two months, baby’s sleep is largely governed by how often he needs to eat, but his own melatonin (and cortisol, the hormone that wakes us up) is just starting to come online, which can be disruptive to daytime naps. Stick to the routine of giving him a moment to fall back asleep before assuming he’s up.