Babies don’t come with a complete set of instructions, especially when it comes to their sleep patterns. Meeting your baby’s needs for adequate sleep promotes healthy growth and development. But what do you do when your baby spends several hours each night staring at you with those big blue eyes, ready to learn about his world? Identifying your developing sleep patterns can help you establish a sleep schedule that allows everyone in the house to get the rest they need.
How Do I Identify My Baby’s Sleep Patterns?
Newborns need an average of 16 hours of sleep per day, and this usually occurs in three- to four-hour stretches. According to KidsHealth.org, bottle-fed newborns feed every two to four hours and breastfed babies every two to three hours. This sleep/feeding pattern will last for at least the first few weeks and, as most new parents know, you won’t be able to sleep during that time. But soon your baby will begin to adjust to life outside the womb and will have longer periods of wakefulness during the day and longer periods of sleep at night.
When Will I Notice Changes in Sleep Patterns?
By the time your baby reaches six to eight weeks of age, he should be sleeping less during the day. Although most babies this age still need to feed at least once during the night, your baby will begin to stretch his nighttime sleep to more than four hours at a time. Sometime between the ages of four to six months, your baby is capable of sleeping eight to twelve hours each night.
How Do I Help My Baby Develop Good Sleep Habits?
If your baby still wakes up in the middle of the night, pay attention to how often and when he or she naps. Most babies need a morning nap an hour or two after breakfast and an afternoon nap an hour or two after lunch. But make sure your baby isn’t napping too close to bedtime so he’ll be tired when it’s time for bed. Establish a bedtime routine that includes a warm bath, a bottle at bedtime or breastfeeding, rocking, singing or looking at a book. These nighttime rituals signal your baby’s internal clock that it’s time for bed.
When she’s old enough, helping your baby learn to sleep through the night lets everyone be their best during the day.
Read also: New Parents and Sleep Deprivation
At what age do babies develop a sleep pattern?
Your child’s sleep cycles are much shorter than yours. She will spend more time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is a kind of light sleep that is readily disrupted. This is required for the alterations that are taking place in his brain. Babies normally acquire consistent sleep habits between the ages of 3 and 6 months, and they may sleep till daybreak. As your baby’s brain develops throughout these early months, a sleep pattern will most likely emerge, but it may not be the pattern you desire.
Your baby’s sleep habits will begin to resemble yours about 6 months. Babies at this age sleep an average of 13 hours every day. They sleep the most throughout the night, averaging 11 hours. Your baby will gradually decrease the number of naps he or she takes throughout the day to roughly two.
How can I help my newborn connect to sleep cycles?
Babies do not have the capacity to sleep for extended periods of time. For some newborns, a normal burst or cycle of sleep may last 40 to 60 minutes, after which they may wake up and need reassurance before falling back asleep. If at all possible, switch to a sleep aid that you can manage or that is not a part of your body. This is where they come in if your infant enjoys a pacifier or has a lovely toy or blanket.
Because your infant will initially enter a condition of light slumber, you should avoid putting him or her to bed during this period of sleep. Because if you put your infant to bed during light sleep, he or she would most likely wake up immediately. Put your hands on your infant or pick him or her up as soon as he or she begins to stir to help link the sleep cycles. Continue with the nap anticipation to help your baby’s routine settle.
Reduce the amount of intervention you undertake as each day/week passes. Of course, there are other reasons why newborns wake up. External sounds, temperature, and their startle reaction are just a few examples. Consider employing white noise in your room if you believe ambient sounds are awakening your infant.
Read also: Cosleeping with Baby – Is it Good or Bad?
Why do babies only sleep for 30 minutes?
In general, if your baby sleeps for 30 minutes or less, he is likely overtired and requires less time between naps. If your kid wakes up 45 minutes into his sleep, he is most likely not tired enough and need additional time to wake up. The first step is to anticipate that your child will need a sleep sooner rather than later. One method is to monitor his sleep signals and start his nap pattern when he fusses and yawns. Another option is to just keep an eye on the time. Don’t let him be up for more than 90 minutes before putting him down for another sleep.
If your baby seldom or never sleeps in the same area, or if he naps in a swing, infant carrier/crawler, stroller, or car seat instead of a crib or bassinet, shifting him to a consistent, safe environment is an excellent alternative. While infants are more quiet, as they get older, they become more aware of their surroundings and need stability. If they hear a disturbance outside, for example, it might startle them awake or cause them to observe what is going on outside their room; white noise is an excellent technique to avoid this from occurring.
When should we start sleep training babies?
Some infants begin sleep training sooner, while others improve later, around six months. Whether you’re not sure if your infant is old enough or ready, consult with your doctor first. Sleep training is not required for all children, and many families who do not use it have a kid who learns to sleep through the night on his or her own.
Sleep training should begin between the ages of 4 and 6 months, according to experts. This age range is ideal because newborns are old enough to physically survive six to eight hours without eating, but not old enough that the comfort you offer has formed a sleep association. After about four months, newborns can sleep for nine to ten hours at a time. They are not need to eat at this time. If you choose to feed your infant at night, you will create a habit known as trained nighttime feeding.
Do your homework! There is a lot of material available on newborn sleep training, most of it is debatable or contradictory.
However, like with any major decision, your decision to train (or not to train) should be founded on your own reading, research, and judgments.