How do you find bedtime in a 7 week old?

Our 7wo is doing fine during the day, but so fussy in evenings that its hard to know when “bedtime” is/should be. When does deep sleep consolidate for the first part of the night, and does this longer stretch seem to be around the same time each night! It seems now that his longest stretch could be 9-12 one night, 11-2 next night… Etc. hard to know how to navigate evenings. Thanks so much!!

I’m assuming that he was born on or near his due date. If so, then that fussy time is happening right on time and is a sign of the developing “wake maintenance zone,” which is the strongest drive to be awake that happens right before his future biological bedtime. I would track his bedtimes over the next few weeks. Many babies wax and wane between an early and late bedtime as they accumulate and pay back a little sleep debt, so you may see a pattern of this variation (e.g. two late bedtimes and then one early bedtime). Often the later bedtime is the true beginning of the night, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until 11:00 to put him down. If you want his bedtime to be 8:30 and that seems to fit with what he’s doing, then keep it dark from that target bedtime on. As his circadian rhythm develops it is regular light exposure that will determine when his drive to sleep is happening, so you want to make sure the transition of light to dark (or very dim) is consistent even if his sleep time isn’t. He will start to develop a stretch of sleep at the beginning of the night as the WMZ forms and as his feeding needs go away. You can guide him into this by trying to strategically manipulate his naps at the end of the day in order to target a regular bedtime. The change in sleep architecture with true deep sleep in the beginning and other sleep stages and cycles happens between 12-16 weeks (AKA the four month regression). What is happening now is more a lengthening of sleep after the WMZ that happens as a result of not needing to eat for a longer stretch from the time of bedtime. This is a confusing time and there is not much that is predictable, so work on keeping him rested and control his light/dark cycle as your top priorities and he will fall into step soon. Good luck!


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