Sleep makes up a large percentage of a baby’s life. She can sleep for more than half of the day depending on her age. The body uses this time for growth and to develop essential aspects such as mental and emotional functions. While babies easily fall asleep during the day, bedtime at night can prove to be quite a challenge. Some babies may sleep right through the day and stay awake for the larger part of the night. As a mother, you need to make sure that your baby gets enough sleep at the right times so that you can also rest.
DURATION OF SLEEP
Every baby has different needs when it comes to sleep. Generally, however, newborns and babies up to three months old will need to sleep for up to seventeen hours. Babies up to twelve months should have a total sleeping period of twelve to sixteen hours including the daytime naps. It is, however, important to know the duration of sleep can be affected by its quality. Babies that sleep with minimal distractions or fuss will be more rested than those who have such problems.
FOOD AND SLEEP
Babies eat little but very often because they have little tummies that can hold as much. They get full quickly but will be hungry almost as fast. This is why they can barely sleep through the night without waking up to demand some food.
At the maximum, new-borns will sleep for five hours before waking up to eat. While some may not necessarily wake up and announce their hunger, they may make sounds in their sleep to suggest it. This is when you should wake them up for some feeding then sooth them back to sleep.
Any mother would probably debate against the perceived meaning of the popular saying ‘sleep like a baby’. Babies are actually very restless sleepers and can barely snooze for more than five hours without waking up for some attention. Sometimes it helps to have the aid of bouncers and rockers.
New-borns spend more than half of their naptime in the REM mode (rapid eye movement) where they move, dream and wake up. As they grow older, however, their sleep patterns quickly normalise, and they begin sleeping for longer without waking up.
PREPARING THE BABY FOR SLEEP
Lulling works on most babies. Any smooth motion should help them fall asleep faster. This owes to the fact that your movements lulled the baby to sleep when you were still pregnant, so they got used to it. You can rock them gently on their crib or place them against your shoulders then walk around for a while.
Comfort also contributes significantly to your baby’s ability to sleep. Make sure that they do so in a snug place. Remember to remove anything likely to cause noise while the baby sleeps and be careful to moderate the temperatures in their room.
Conclusively, babies are not naturally heavy sleepers, and it is up to you to try and minimise the times they wake up. Their sleeping pattern, however, settles down to a more even pace as they grow up.