Understanding the sleeping pattern of babies

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them.

To understand how to get your baby to sleep through the night, you first need to know if your baby is able to sleep through the night. 

Understand Your Baby’s Sleep Needs

  • During the first 2 months, your newborn’s need to eat overrules her need to sleep. She may feed almost every 2 hours if you’re breastfeeding, and possibly a little less often if you bottle-feed.
  • Your baby may sleep from 10 to 18 hours a day, sometimes for 3 to 4 hours at a time. But babies don’t know the difference between day and night. So they sleep with no regard for what time it is. That means your baby’s wide-awake time may be from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • By 3 to 6 months, many babies are able to sleep for a stretch of 6 hours. But just as you think your baby is getting into a nice routine — usually between 6 and 9 months — normal developmental stages can throw things off. For instance, when your baby begins to associate bedtime with being left alone, she may start crying just to keep you around.

6-12 months: what to expect from baby sleep

Babies sleep less as they get older. By the time your baby is one year old, baby will probably need 14-15 hours sleep every 24 hours.

Sleep during the night
From about six months, most babies have their longest sleeps at night.

  • Most babies are ready for bed between 6 pm and 8 pm. They usually take less than 30 minutes to get to sleep, but about 1 in 10 babies takes longer.
  • At this age, baby sleep cycles are closer to those of grown-up sleep – which means less waking at night. So your baby might not wake you during the night, or waking might happen less often.
  • By eight months, most babies can settle themselves back to sleep without a parent’s help. Others keep waking if they need help to settle back to sleep, or if they’re still having breastfeeds or bottles during the night.

Sleep during the day

At this age, most babies are still having 1-2 daytime naps. These naps usually last 1-2 hours. Some babies sleep longer, but up to a quarter of babies nap for less than an hour.

6-12 months: other developments that affect sleep

From around six months, babies develop lots of new abilities that can affect sleep or make babies more difficult to settle:

  • Babies learn to keep themselves awake, especially if something interesting is happening, or they’re in a place with lots of light and noise.
  • Settling difficulties can happen at the same time as crawling. You might notice your baby’s sleep habits changing when baby starts moving around more.
  • Babies learn that things exist, even when they’re out of sight. Now that your baby knows you exist when you leave the bedroom, baby might call or cry out for you.
  • Separation anxiety is when babies get upset because you’re not around. It might mean your baby doesn’t want to go to sleep and wakes up more often in the night.

Having my baby fall asleep in my arms takes away all of my worries and stresses. A sense of complete and total peace comes over me.

Ayushi Mahendra
Ayushi Mahendra , a full time mom and part time blogger just to share my motherhood experiences through my Instagram handle @the_momtivity.

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