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Helping your baby distinguish between day and night

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Liza Montanino
Paediatric sleep consultant

A baby can’t tell the difference between day and night until around 12 weeks, when their circadian rhythm develops. But as your baby approaches six weeks, you can start to help them differentiate between day and night by:

  1. Exposing your baby to lots of natural light
  2. Giving them lots of age-appropriate playtime during the day
  3. Creating an optimal sleep environment for naptime and bedtime

Wondering how on earth you can create an optimal sleep environment for naptime and bedtime? This can mean different things to different babies, but generally you might like to include blackout curtains, white noise and swaddling. These all help encourage the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

Creating a calming sleep environment is particularly important at bedtime because offering some predictability in the evening will help your baby familiarise themselves with nighttime sleep cues.