A new parent will always be worried about the comfort and well-being of their newborn. One important aspect of the baby’s life is the sleep pattern. Newborn babies need a lot of sleep, three-month-old babies need a little less, six-month babies need a little less and so on…starting from 18 (to 20) hours per day for a newborn, to about 12 (to 13) hours per day for a one-year-old baby.
Newborn baby’s sleep needs
A newborn baby has very demanding sleep needs. Depending on the baby, they usually need to sleep anywhere from 18 up to 20 hours a day. This does not mean that a newborn baby will sleep for all of eight hours through the night and a large portion of the day. The sleep pattern is random as the newborns are not yet adjusted to the day-night rhythm. During the daytime, the newborns usually require about 8 hours of sleep spread over 3 to 4 naps. And during the night, they tend to sleep a little longer – 8 to 10 hours, interrupted by their feeding pattern. Seeing as the newborn babies have really small stomachs, they tend to get hungry pretty often. This is the reason why, most often, they can wake up screaming and crying any time during their sleep.
Two-month baby’s sleep needs
As the babies grow, their stomachs also grow and can hold more food, meaning they’ll stay full for longer periods of time, and this will reflect on their sleep. An infant usually needs about 15 to 16 hours of sleep a day. This is usually spread in 3 to 4 naps totaling to 7 hours a day, and 8 to 9 hours per night. During this stage, the infant starts to learn about itself and the world around it.
Six-month baby’s sleep needs
When the baby reaches six months of age, they have already developed their own circadian rhythm, meaning that their bodies can recognize day and night. About this age, the baby’s feeding pattern is reduced to less frequent, more sizeable meals. This also means that the baby will wake up less and have a better sleep pattern. A six-month baby usually needs about 3 to 4 hours of sleep per day spread into 2 to 3 naps, and about 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
One-year-old baby’s sleep needs
When a baby reaches one year of age, their organism is sufficiently developed, the motor skills are well established and the baby develops their social skills. All this points to a more developed baby that is now entering the stage of a toddler. A toddler needs about 2 and a half hours of sleep a day spread in one or two naps and about 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
What can the parents do?
A first-time parent will be very unprepared, as a newborn is a handful, especially the breastfeeding mom. The parents will have to learn the baby’s behavior and not try to force anything upon the baby but gradually establish a proper sleeping and feeding rhythm.
NOTE: a healthy baby should not be woken up for feeding at any time during the night. They will wake up by themselves when they are hungry.
From the time they are born to up to two to three months of age, the babies need more frequent feeding and have more erratic sleep patterns. After the infant turns three months, they can be slowly taught a routine, for example, bathing, feeding and putting the infant to bed with a story. This way the little one gets to learn a good sleeping routine that will be beneficial for the whole family. And a properly learned sleep pattern during this period of the infant’s life usually lasts for a lifetime.
Most child specialists recommend that the crib, mobile and child’s room have soft, neutral colors. A bright color or shiny details can take away the attention of the baby, making the falling asleep more difficult. Also, the infant should be put to bed in a quiet room, without any TV, music or white noise on. These factors help establish a good sleeping pattern that will also enable the parents time to rest and be alert when the little one wakes up.
Another important notice: a child is born with its own character – there are no two children the same. This reflects in the sleep pattern, feeding pattern, and general behavior. That is why it is important to follow the provided advice and adjust it to your own baby.
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