Sleepless nights – one thing every pregnant woman knows about their post-pregnancy days. Experienced moms might have warned them that babies will never sleep through the night in the first few weeks. Well, it is true. Babies do not have regular sleep cycles until about 6 months of age. As they take time to develop a regular sleep pattern, you may have a tough time. Worry not, knowing a newborn’s sleep patterns will help you to be more patient with your baby and you will know that getting a shut-eye is not a distant dream. Here you go.
How Long Will My Baby Sleep?
Before we begin, remember that every kid is unique. According to the National Sleep Foundation, infants up to 3 months old should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. Even though this is a general rule, it may be different for your kid. Sometimes your infant develops a sleep pattern within two months or sometimes it may take a little longer. Every kid has his own approach to sleep. However, here is the usual pattern.
1 month: Be prepared for a 24-hour feeding and sleep-wake cycle. Your newborn may sleep between 10 and 18 hours a day. But, he/she may not sleep at a stretch. Your little one wakes for feedings every few hours. They have an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake. And the baby is confused about day and night. They even have their days and nights reversed.
2 month: The baby will settle into a daily sleep routine of two to three naps during the day. Your baby will start to sleep a little less in the day. The sleep at night will be better than the first month.
3 month: The good news is that by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle. Don’t be disappointed if your three-month-old still struggles with regular sleep. As we said, every child is different. Be patient and your baby will be soon on track.
Teaching Them Daytime And Nighttime Patterns
As they are new to the world, they need time to settle with the day-night schedule. However, you can help them differentiate between day and night. Keep your baby active during the day. Expose them to light and noise, thus, he/she will know when to be active. Play more with the baby in the daytime.
At night, keep the lights dim. Ensure that the room is quieter. When he/she gets up during the night, do not play with him/her or talk to your baby. This will encourage your little one to go back to sleep.
Helping Your Baby Sleep
- Establishing a routine at bedtime is the best thing to do. As you get to know your newborn better, you will be able to develop a sleep pattern.
- Always pick consistent bedtime.
- Arrange a regular sleep-friendly environment.
- Encourage the baby to fall asleep independently.
- Try to put him/her in a crib while he/she is drowsy, but still awake. Eventually, this will help him learn to fall asleep on his or her own.
- Reading and singing can soothe babies and they will soon learn to associate it with bedtime.
- Try wrapping the baby firmly in a thin cotton sheet with the arms wrapped in too. However, don’t overbundle.
- Identify signs of sleepiness. Your baby might be fussy. Or he/she may cry a little or rub their eyes.These signs also indicate that your little love is hungry. Confirm that he/she is not hungry before you put your baby to sleep.
Best Sleep Position For Your Baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy infants should be placed on their backs for sleep. Without any doubt, this is the safest position for an infant to sleep. This position decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. In fact, babies should continue sleeping in this position throughout the first year of their life.
It is equally important to provide your child a safe sleeping environment. Here are a few things to take care:
- Adopt ‘room-sharing without bed-sharing’ policy. You can keep your baby’s crib or bassinet in your bedroom. This helps you monitor your little one at night.
- Avoid comforters, stuffed toys, and other soft products from the crib.
- Use a firm sleep surface.
- Ensure that overheating is avoided. If you see signs such as sweating make sure that he/she is not too hot and that clothing is not too tight.