As a new parent, you would be eager to understand your baby's sleep routine. As we know, infants sleep a lot. Newborns sleep for about 16 to 17 hours a day, but they sleep only for about one to two hours at a stretch. As they grow older, they gradually begin to sleep for longer hours (1). Remember that they may wake up during these periods for comfort, feeding, and diaper changes. You'll notice changes in your baby's sleep schedules when they enter the next stage, such as longer overnight sleep and short daytime naps. Creating a consistent baby sleep schedule can provide significant support. Consider integrating a soothing bedtime routine, such as a relaxing bath, or reading a short story, to signal to your baby that it's time to sleep. Many parents wonder when their babies will learn to self-soothe and fall asleep themselves. The good news is that babies usually pick up this skill as they grow. You can aid the process by establishing a regular bedtime routine and learning to identify sleep cues. Many parents find baby sleep monitors reassuring, especially in the early months when your baby's sleep habits are still forming. These monitors aid in keeping track of your baby's movements, breathing rate, and heart rate while they are asleep. However, it is important to note that these monitors are only alarms and are not a replacement for safe sleep practices. It is recommended to check with the baby’s healthcare provider before buying a monitor for the baby and seek guidance on how to respond when the alarm goes off (2).
Expect a few bumps on the road, such as sleep regressions during developmental milestones (around 4 months and afterward), that may briefly alter the usual sleep pattern. The baby's brain and body quickly develop at around four months of age. This process involves the growth and connection of various brain and nervous system regions, which can disrupt sleep. This is usually referred to as a sleep regression (3). Baby sleep regressions due to discomfort arising from teething or when achieving milestones such as crawling, walking, etc., are also not uncommon. REM sleep, referred to as light sleep, is just one of the six stages your baby cycles through daily. The other stages are: deep sleep, drowsy, calm alert, fussy alert, and crying constitute the others. If your baby is crying in sleep, it's likely a sign of their transition from one stage to another. Most times, they'll quickly settle back down, though occasionally, this shift might cause them to wake up (4). Maintain your patience and stick to your routine; this consistency can help your child adapt to changes and handle sleep issues.
According to the experts from the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), putting the baby to sleep on their back can lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Moreover, check that the cot mattress is firm and avoid keeping hazardous objects in their crib, such as cushions, blankets, or toys. Maintain an ambient room temperature, and when considering how to dress baby for sleep, opt for appropriate sleep clothes such as baby sleep bags made from breathable fabric to keep the baby comfortable and thereby avoid overheating. Maintaining the right baby sleep temperature is crucial for ensuring a peaceful sleep. Look out for overheating indicators like sweating or a hot head.
Another issue that some parents encounter is sleep apnea in babies, a condition that can affect your child's breathing while they sleep. Baby sleep apnea occurs when their breathing becomes irregular, resulting in interruptions or shallow breaths. It is usually of two types. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your baby's airway might get partly or fully blocked during sleep, usually because of factors like enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or their tongue's position. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common and happens when your baby's brain doesn't properly send signals to the muscles that control breathing. Unlike OSA, there might not be noticeable blockages in the airway (5).
If you're facing difficulties with your baby's sleep, reaching out to baby sleep consultants can be helpful. These experts offer personalized solutions, insights into baby sleep pattern, and guidance on implementing safe sleep training techniques. They also assist in handling developmental transitions, thereby supporting the well-being of parents and babies. Finding the balance between your baby's sleep needs and your own well-being can be a challenge, but it's important for your mental and physical well-being. Remember to reach out to friends, family, or professionals for support so that you can navigate this journey with much-needed support. Here, you can discover answers to all of your questions regarding your baby’s sleep, helping your little one sleep peacefully through the night.
Ensuring optimal rest for your little one is important. Newborns should ideally have about 16 hours of sleep daily. As they grow, at one-month-old, around 15.5 hours of sleep is typical, while three-month-old babies normally need about 15 hours. Between six months and one year of age, aiming for around 14 hours of sleep per day helps support their development and well-being (6).
SIDS often occurs during a stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Children spend most of their sleep time in this stage (7).
SIDS is most common in babies between the first and fourth months of life. The vast majority of cases, around 90%, occur within the first six months (8).
Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs until they are one year old. Sleeping on their side or stomach is not safe for babies (9).
Normally, baby sleep cycles begin to develop by the time they are around the age of three months. This often results in them sleeping more during the night (10).
You can consider starting sleep training for your baby around the age of six months. You may also begin as early as four months or wait until about nine months as per your comfort. Starting at nine months can be particularly beneficial for some babies, as they generally no longer need nighttime feedings by that time (11).
The duration of sleep training varies depending on the approach used. Some ways may result in independent sleep within a few days, although gentler approaches may take a little longer. Sleep training success depends on consistency and patience rather than a set schedule (11).
This playpen can serve as your baby’s sleep dock till they are around two feet tall.
The baby's attire for sleep will depend on the ambient temperature and the season.
These foods may lead to infections, allergies, or choking hazards.
The process involves settling the baby and helping them sleep, which may start at four months.
Try putting them in a crib when they are half-asleep, to begin with, and then explore sleep training.
The cause could vary from hunger to illness, and relevant interventions can help babies sleep better.
Most causes are related to developmental milestones, which are the normal events in the baby's growth.
Understand these cues to connect better to your babies and develop stronger bonding.
It can be a part of a baby's development and growth or sometimes indicate an underlying issue.
Sleeping on firm surfaces for babies below one is safe.
Several normal developmental milestones often form the underlying reasons for sleep regression.
Manage the signs such as fussiness and difficulty falling asleep with some simple tips.