When it comes to sleep, you, as parents will have to make major adjustments to your sleep routine. Why? Because babies sleep a lot! Plus, if your baby needs to be fed, burped or needs changing in the middle of the night, you’ll have to adjust your sleep patterns accordingly. In this article, we’ll help you understand all you should know about baby’s sleep.
What makes sleep so important for babies?
While sleeping is considered a passive activity, it is in fact an active process when it comes to babies. Infant sleep differs from that of adults. You baby may sleep a lot, and with the reasons given below, you’ll be glad that they do. Here’s what makes sleep essential for your baby:
- Despite the limited waking hours, whilst sleeping, your baby learns and process responses to the world.
- It promotes brain development and maturing.
- Sleep plays a crucial role in formation of memories.
- Sleep is also important to boost your baby’s immunity. A well-rested body is able to fight off infections more successfully.
- Adequate sleep also has a positive impact on your baby’s attention span and memory. It helps them learn and remember things that they are constantly absorbing throughout the day.
How much sleep do babies require?
You may think that your baby sleeps too much or not enough (depending on whether or not they are night owls). But, babies sleep patterns develop over time, say around 12 months.
- Your newborn will sleep for around 18 hours a day, with night sleep duration increasing gradually.
- After a few weeks, your baby may sleep for longer periods and is also awake for long, with night wakings also reducing.
- There are two sleep states, and your baby may spend 50% of their time in each of these states. The states are active sleep, where breathing becomes regular and your baby may startle at some noise and deep sleep, where baby lies quietly without moving.
Establishing a sleep routine
It’s important to establish a sleep routine for your baby to ensure that they get adequate rest. Here are a few tips on how you can get there:
- Your baby may give you cues when he/she is overtired or sleepy. Watch out for tell-tale signs such as they being more cranky or rubbing his eyes. Try and settle your baby down for a nap if so.
- Encourage your baby to self-soothe; settling to sleep at night and getting back to sleep if they wake up at night, as it can help develop healthy sleep-wake patterns.
- You can support self-soothing by establishing day time sleep habits. This will help improve their sleep at night, and set routines for sleeping, bathing, and feeding.
- Provide a sense of permanence as to where your baby sleeps, be it a cot, crib or you co-sleeping with them. This will help encourage a better sleep routine.
Get to know your baby’s sleep cycle to help them form healthy sleeping habits as they grow.