Congratulations, your baby is 2 months old! Each day that goes by brings new joys and challenges. In these early weeks of parenting newborn babies, the hours seem long, but somehow the weeks fly by. Even though your baby is gaining some new awareness of the world around them, and is able to stay awake for a little bit longer periods of time, you may still be experiencing some rough nights, and that’s still very normal as baby’s sleep is still evolving.
As the last 8 weeks of sleep deprivation take hold, you may be wondering when you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take heart, as often 3 months of age can be a turning point as your baby’s circadian rhythm starts to circulate enough melatonin to lead to more regular and earlier bedtimes. In this blog, we’ll cover what’s going on developmentally for your little one now that they’re 2 months old, and what’s on the horizon in the coming weeks.
At 8 weeks old, your newborn is becoming more interactive, smiling more, and more interested in engaging in babbling “conversations” with you. These are all important milestones.
Believe it or not, your little one may already be working on rolling over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends stopping swaddling once a little one exhibits signs of attempting to roll, which usually occurs at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier. We recommend starting to work on making the transition out of a swaddle around 8 weeks of age even if your little one is not yet showing signs of rolling.
There are several schools of thought around how best to transition out of a swaddle. Some sleep consultants recommend releasing one arm at a time, while others swear by products like arms-up sleep sacks or padded sleepsuits to ease the transition. Our recommendation is to transition out of the swaddle using a gradual process spanning over a week or more. However, if your baby is already rolling from back to front, you need to immediately remove the swaddle rather than following a gradual plan. Once they’re rolling, it’s no longer safe for them to sleep swaddled or use a padded sleep suit. Once you’re ready to transition out of the swaddle, we suggest working on it both for naps and nights. That way, it’s consistent for your baby, and it will result in a quicker transition because they’ll have multiple times for practice, which can make the transition go more smoothly.
Please note: As of June 2022, The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using any weighted swaddles, weighted clothing, or weighted objects on or near the baby.
By now, day/night confusion should be behind you, and you may be starting to see some longer stretches of sleep at night. However, your 8-week-old baby’s sleep patterns are still evolving, and every day can look a little different.
While it’s still too early to follow a strict sleep schedule, your little one may sleep anywhere from 11-19 hours in a 24-hour period. They may be getting 5-6 hours of that sleep during the day split between 4-5 naps, and the rest at night (though not consecutively, as night feeds are still necessary at this age). Your little one may be able to stay awake for 45-90 minutes between sleep periods. Naps will still be a bit unpredictable, and range in duration anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours.
It’s important to take into consideration your little one’s mood and use the suggested sleep duration hours above as a general indicator of whether your baby is getting enough sleep rather than a strict quota. A little one who is generally happy and able to make it to their next nap without getting overtired is likely getting enough sleep.
At 2 months of age, newborn sleep is still erratic, and late bedtimes of 9-10pm are normal. In the coming weeks your little one’s circadian rhythm will be circulating enough melatonin for an earlier and more regular bedtime to emerge. Additionally, their sleep cycles will start to resemble those of adults and they will spend less time in REM sleep. This maturation of sleep around 3-4 months of age is what’s commonly referred to as the 4-month sleep regression. It’s not as black and white as the flipping of a switch, but rather a gradual process. By about 6 months, your little one’s sleep patterns should be predictable enough to consider formal sleep training if that’s something you’re considering.
The maturation of sleep at 3-4 months is the first widely recognized sleep regression and the only sleep regression that directly affects sleep. A sleep regression is a period when a baby who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking up more frequently, has trouble falling asleep, or changes their sleep patterns. While there are commonly recognized sleep regressions at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, and 12 months, there is no widely recognized sleep regression at 8 weeks old. However, it’s still common for babies to experience sleep challenges around this time due to various factors such as developing gross motor skills like rolling, reaching, and grabbing. Establishing good sleep habits now can help to manage sleep regressions in the future.
As your baby starts to become more aware of the world around them, they will also become more aware of their sleeping environment. As they get closer to 3 months, they will start to form some strong sleep associations with how they get to sleep and where they sleep.
Be patient with yourself and your baby as you navigate this stage. It’s a time of learning and adjustment for both of you.
There will be a time when you’ll sleep through the night again, and these early weeks will be a distant blurry memory. We know how challenging this time can be. It’s important to find your village. Reach out to friends with babies, find support groups, and know that there are other people on the same parenting path who are in the same place you are. The nights can feel long and isolating, but it can help to know you’re not alone.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep habits, development, or any other aspect of their health, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. For more information on sleep regressions at other ages, check out this blog on sleep regressions here.