What To Do if Your Baby Isn’t Sleeping Well? What Are An Infant’s Sleep Needs? Update 06/2024

The first year of a child’s existence is jam-packed with significant events. Parents may look forward to their children sleeping through the night on a regular basis the most.

A new baby’s sleep schedule may take some time to get used to, and parents may need some guidance on how to assist their infant get enough sleep. In the first year of your child’s life, it’s reasonable to be curious about what is considered normal sleep habits and what changes can occur during this time period.

What are an infant’s sleep needs?

Babies’ sleep requirements change as they become older. The majority of newborns’ time is spent sleeping. However, their slumber is interrupted by short stretches of time spent sleeping. The amount of sleep a newborn gets reduces as he or she gets older. However, the duration of sleep at night increases.

Newborns typically sleep between 8 and 9 hours a day and 8 to 9 hours a night. However, they may only be able to sleep for a maximum of two hours at a time. About 3 months old or 12 to 13 pounds, most babies don’t begin sleeping through the night without awakening until they’re at least 12 to 13 pounds. By six months of age, about two-thirds of infants are sleeping through the night on a regular basis.

In addition, the sleep patterns of newborns differ from those of adults. When compared to adults, newborns sleep for far less hours during rapid eye movement (REM) (which is dream time sleep). The cycles are also shorter now. These are the typical night and daily sleep requirements for newborns to two-year-olds:

How baby sleep changes from 2 to 12 months

Babies as they get older:

  • Daytime sleep deprivation is common.
  • lengthier periods of time between naps
  • sleep for longer periods of time at night and experience fewer nighttime awakenings.
  • overall, you’ll need less sleep.

2-3 months: what to expect from baby sleep

Babies at this stage sleep through the night and day in fits and starts. Most babies sleep 14-17 hours a day, on average.
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Cycles of sleep in infants last 50-60 minutes each. A baby’s sleep cycle consists of both active and calm slumber. During active sleep, babies wiggle and grunt, while during quiet sleep, they fall asleep quickly and peacefully.

Babies usually wake up for a few minutes at the end of each cycle. They may snort or sob. They may require assistance in getting to sleep for the next cycle.

A baby’s night and day sleep patterns begin to form at the age of 2-3 months. As a result, kids begin to sleep longer and deeper at night.

Around 3 months: what to expect from baby sleep

As they get older, babies continue to learn their night and day sleep schedules.

The following is a breakdown of their nightly routines:

  • When the baby is able to wake up easily from a light slumber.
  • deep sleep, in which the baby is completely slumbering.
  • When a baby is dreaming, he or she is in dream sleep.

There may also be less awakening and resettling during sleep when the sleep cycle lengthens. It is common for babies to sleep for lengthier periods of time during the night at this age, such as 4-5 hours per night.

In a 24-hour period, the average baby still sleeps 14-17 hours.

3-6 months: what to expect from baby sleep

When a baby is this young, he or she typically sleeps between 12 and 15 hours every 24 hours.

It is possible for babies to begin sleeping for two hours at a time during the day.

In addition, as you become older, the length of your nights’ sleep increases. For example, some six-month-old babies may already be sleeping for six hours at night.

At the very least, you may expect your baby to wake up at least once a night.

6-12 months: what to expect from baby sleep

As they grow older, babies experience less sleep. It is likely that your kid will sleep between 11 and 14 hours a night by the time he or she turns one.

Get some shut-eye at night
The longest nighttime slumbers for most babies begin at six months of age.

Most babies are ready to go to bed between the hours of 6 and 10 p.m. Most newborns fall asleep in under 40 minutes, however this varies from baby to baby.

At this age, babies’ sleep cycles are more like those of adults, which implies fewer nighttime awakenings. As a result, your kid may not wake you at night, or he or she may wake up less frequently.

The majority of infants will need an adult to help them fall back asleep if they wake up throughout the night. There are some babies who do this up to four times a night.

Health issues in your newborn baby

Take a nap during the daytime hours.
There are still 2-3 daytime naps that last between 30 minutes and 2 hours for most newborns at this age.

6-12 months: other developments that affect sleep

Some of these skills may have an impact on their sleep or make it more difficult for them to settle, starting about six months old.

  • As babies grow, they learn to stay awake by being exposed to stimulating stimuli like bright lights and loud noises.
  • Crawling difficulties can coexist with problems settling down. It’s possible that your baby’s sleep patterns will change as he or she gets older and more active.
  • Things exist even if they can’t be seen, and babies learn this early on. It’s possible that your infant will cry or call for you if you leave the room.
  • When you’re away from your baby, he or she may suffer from separation anxiety. Your infant may not want to go to sleep and wake up more frequently during the night if this is the case. As children grow older, they begin to overcome this apprehension.

What are the signs of infant sleep problems?

When a baby first starts sleeping through the night on a regular basis, parents are often disappointed when the infant starts waking up again at night. This is a common occurrence at the 6-month mark. Separation anxiety is a common cause of this behavior. An infant’s inability to comprehend short-term absences is known as “separation apprehension” (temporary). Separation anxiety can sometimes cause babies to have difficulty sleeping. Because they’ve been overexposed or overtired, for example.

The following are some of the common reactions of babies that wake up in the night or have difficulty falling asleep:

  • After a good night’s sleep, waking up and sobbing one or more times.
  • Leave the room and you’ll hear a baby’s cry.
  • Refusing to sleep unless a parent is present.
  • Crying for your parent when they are apart.

Illness can cause sleep issues, as well. If you notice that your infant is having difficulty falling or staying asleep, you should contact your child’s doctor.

Signs of sleep readiness

Helping your baby sleep can be as simple as knowing when he’s ready to sleep, teaching him how to do it on his own, and soothing him back to sleep. The following are some indicators that your infant is ready to go to sleep:

  • Rubbing eyes
  • Yawning
  • Looking away
  • Fussing

Helping your baby fall asleep

It’s possible that babies aren’t able to establish their own sleep and wake schedules. Unexpectedly, not all babies have mastered the art of self-soothing. Also, not every baby is capable of returning to sleep once they have been woken up in the night. Many parents choose to rock or breastfeed their babies to sleep at night. There is nothing wrong with having a bedtime ritual in place. However, you must not allow your child to fall asleep in your arms. It’s possible that this will turn into a recurring theme. In addition, your baby may come to believe that the only way he or she will go to sleep is if you hold him or her. Your baby may not be able to go back to sleep on their own if they wake up during a sleep cycle.

The more secure a baby is, the better prepared they are to cope with being apart, especially at night. Your kid will feel more safe if you cuddle and console him or her during the day. Other methods for teaching your infant to sleep include:

  • Allowing your infant to take naps as often as necessary for their age.
  • Close to bedtime, there should be no stimulus or activities.
  • Creating a nighttime routine, such as taking a bath, reading a book, and rocking your child to sleep.
  • While your baby is winding down for the night, put on some soothing music.
  • Providing a transitional object for your infant to carry to bed. A soft toy or a little blanket will do. Make sure you wait till your child is old enough for this. Rolling and sitting should be possible for your infant. Suffocation will be avoided as a result of this action.
  • After he or she is tired but before falling asleep, tucking your infant into bed.
  • Being a rock for your baby while they’re scared.
  • When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, pat and soothe him or her. Keep your baby in bed at all times.
  • Wait a few minutes before returning to comfort a crying baby with patting and soothing. Say your goodbyes and depart. Replicate as necessary.
  • Maintaining a routine and responding in the same manner each time.

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Reducing the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on how to decrease SIDS and sleep-related mortality from birth to one year old are listed here:

  • Make sure your child is vaccinated. SIDS risk may be reduced if an infant is fully vaccinated.
  • Breastfeed your child. Only breastmilk for the first six months of a baby’s life is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Your baby should sleep and nap on their back for the first year of their life. This reduces the risk of SIDS, aspiration, and choking, among other things. Never put your infant to sleep or nap on their side or stomach.
  • You should let your infant some time on their tummy as long as you are around to supervise. This can help to prevent your child from developing a flat head in the first place.
  • Your baby’s healthcare practitioner should be consulted prior to lifting the crib’s head in the case of gastroesophageal reflux.
  • When it’s time for a nap or sleep, give your baby a pacifier. Don’t give your infant a pacifier until you’ve established breastfeeding as the primary method of feeding.
  • Make use of a firm mattress and a sheet that is well-fitted. In a crib, play yard, or bassinet, this can keep the mattress from separating from the side rails. Reduces the chance of the baby becoming tethered to a mattress and its sides (entrapment). Suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk can also be reduced.
  • Instead of sleeping in your own bed, let your baby to sleep in yours. Strangulation, suffocation, entrapment, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are all increased when a baby is placed in your bed with you.
  • Twins and other multiples should not share a bed. Parents should keep their babies near to their beds in the same room as their children, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Infants, on the other hand, should be housed in a crib or child-sized bed. It’s optimal for the first year of a baby’s life to use this particular sleeping arrangement. However, it should be kept up for the first six months.
  • Routine slumber and daily naps should not be carried out in infant seats, car seats, strollers, child carriers and swings. These can lead to an infant’s airway being blocked or suffocated.
  • Infants should not be put to sleep on a couch or armchair. There is a considerably greater risk of mortality, including SIDS, when a baby sleeps on a couch or armchair.
  • During and after childbirth, avoid using illegal substances and alcohol, as well as smoking. Don’t expose your child to secondhand smoke or settings where other people are puffing on cigarettes.
  • Do not overburden, overdress, or cover your child’s face or head. Reduces the incidence of SIDS by preventing children from overheating.
  • Don’t put your baby’s crib or bassinet full of soft objects like bumper pads, cushions, or comforters.
  • Suffocation, strangling, trapping, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) can all be avoided this way.
  • To help lower the incidence of SIDS and sleep-related newborn mortality, do not utilize home cardiorespiratory monitors or commercial products (wedges, positioners, and special mattresses). SIDS has never been reduced by using these gadgets. Occasionally, they have resulted in the death of a newborn baby.
  • Make sure there are no dangling cables, wires, or window coverings around where your child will be sleeping or playing. Strangulation is less likely this way.

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