One of the most com­mon ques­tions for new par­ents is when a baby sleeps at a cer­tain age. Often there are doubts that the baby sleeps as much as he needs, wak­ing up often, or, con­verse­ly, he rests for too long. For all par­ents, a sleep sched­ule is impor­tant, which will be suit­able both for the crumbs and for them­selves. How and how long should a night’s sleep or day­time rest last, what con­di­tions does a child need to fall asleep?

Newborn sleep: how long is it?

All babies are dif­fer­ent, includ­ing in terms of sleep and wake­ful­ness. But dur­ing the neona­tal peri­od, the baby quick­ly gets tired and spends the vast major­i­ty of the day sleep­ing. In the womb, the baby’s sleep was not sub­ject to any dai­ly fluc­tu­a­tions, so at first the baby will sleep sim­ply from feed­ing to feed­ing with­out pro­nounced changes in the dura­tion of sleep day and night. The ner­vous sys­tem is still very imma­ture, and the amount of infor­ma­tion that falls on it is colos­sal, so the baby needs sleep to “digest” all the infor­ma­tion and learn new knowl­edge. At the same time, while the baby is sleep­ing, his metab­o­lism prac­ti­cal­ly does not slow down, which allows him to grow and form new skills. There are aver­age sleep rates for babies imme­di­ate­ly after birth in the first weeks of life.

A child in the neonatal period: how much should he sleep?

A child in the neonatal period: how much should he sleep?

It is believed that the younger the child, the longer the peri­ods of his rest in the day­time and at night. In the first weeks of life, a child’s sleep dur­ing the day can last up to 20 hours, he usu­al­ly wakes up for feed­ing and from hygiene pro­ce­dures, spends very lit­tle time in activ­i­ty, falling asleep again on his chest. The sleep itself in a young child will be inter­mit­tent, with­out any clar­i­ty of the change of day and night, the depth and dura­tion of sleep depend on the fatigue of the ner­vous sys­tem and health char­ac­ter­is­tics.

In the first weeks, the ner­vous sys­tem is most vul­ner­a­ble and recep­tive to all new events, and it needs fre­quent rest in order to ful­ly recov­er. On aver­age, it takes 20 to 40 min­utes between naps to stay awake, and a baby spends most of that time suck­ling at the breast. Dur­ing peri­ods of wake­ful­ness, the crumbs also com­mu­ni­cate with their par­ents, care pro­ce­dures, mas­sages, and body con­tacts are per­formed. Then again comes a dream last­ing up to 2–3 hours.

Sleep and rest time up to three months

As the baby grows, the dura­tion of its activ­i­ty peri­ods between sleeps will increase, the sched­ule begins to adjust, but a rel­a­tive­ly clear day-night mode is set clos­er to 4–6 months. After a month of age, as the baby adapts to new con­di­tions, a grad­ual knowl­edge of the world begins, acquain­tance with sur­round­ing objects and peo­ple.

But the ner­vous sys­tem is still weak, it needs fre­quent rest so that it does not over­work. The peri­ods of night sleep become longer, and dur­ing the day the rest will be short­er due to the increase in peri­ods of activ­i­ty. Some­times par­ents may get the feel­ing that the baby is con­fus­ing day and night, wak­ing up and hav­ing fun in the mid­dle of the night for quite a long time. But this is a com­plete­ly nat­ur­al peri­od for the estab­lish­ment of a reg­i­men, the for­ma­tion of phas­es of rest and activ­i­ty, as well as nutri­tion. Young chil­dren can­not go with­out food for a long time, they often wake up, and their inter­vals of vig­or are length­ened.

Changes in the regimen of the baby at 4–6 months

After three months, the baby begins to active­ly explore the world, improv­ing skills, which is why peri­ods of wake­ful­ness can last up to two hours in a row, and night­time rest is length­ened by reduc­ing day­time sleep. Most of the time of activ­i­ty is spent eat­ing, the rest of it is the time of mas­ter­ing and hon­ing the skills that the baby grad­u­al­ly learns. These are move­ments of the arms and legs, thumb suck­ing, attempts at coups and then the grad­ual devel­op­ment of sit­ting. This is a large expen­di­ture of ener­gy and the active work of the ner­vous sys­tem. There­fore, a suf­fi­cient amount of sleep at this age is nec­es­sary to pre­vent over­work and tantrums. At night, the baby can sleep up to 3–5 hours in a row with­out wak­ing up, and dur­ing the day the rest lasts up to two hours in a row.

Sleep time in the second half

Sleep time in the second half

As the baby gets old­er, the time of sleep also changes. After six months, it is about 17 hours a day, decreas­ing to 15 hours by the year. Dur­ing the day there are usu­al­ly two or three peri­ods of rest, at night — one rel­a­tive­ly long sleep up to 4–6 hours in a row, or with awak­en­ings to kiss the chest. After six months, sleep time may vary depend­ing on the con­di­tion of the child and the events of the day, teething or oth­er health prob­lems. There may be peri­ods of rest­less­ness with cry­ing at night and whim­per­ing, crawl­ing on the crib with sobs. Dur­ing this peri­od, it is worth pro­tect­ing the crumbs from an exces­sive num­ber of guests, using drugs that alle­vi­ate dis­com­fort in the gums, and strict­ly mon­i­tor their health.

In the day­time, you need to fol­low the regime. When the time for sleep comes, you need to slow­ly put the baby down, not allow­ing him to over­work and become capri­cious. It is impor­tant to observe the reg­i­men as strict­ly as pos­si­ble, although adapt­ing to the indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics of the lit­tle one. In the day­time, it is worth orga­niz­ing at least one of the dreams in the open air, if pos­si­ble, so that the child can receive more oxy­gen. In such con­di­tions, he sleeps stronger and longer.

It is pos­si­ble to sleep while walk­ing both in a stroller and in the arms of par­ents (in a sling, car­ry­ing). If the weath­er con­di­tions are unsat­is­fac­to­ry, you can replace walks with sleep­ing on an open bal­cony in a stroller.

Dur­ing the day, it is impor­tant not to accus­tom the baby to sleep strict­ly in per­fect silence, as well as at night. This will neg­a­tive­ly affect the qual­i­ty of sleep in the future and great­ly lim­it the usu­al activ­i­ties of the fam­i­ly. If the baby is used to sleep­ing in per­fect silence, any sounds from the street, the usu­al activ­i­ties of the moth­er around the house can wake him up, and then put him to bed again will be a prob­lem. It is impor­tant to cre­ate peace and twi­light so that the bright light does not hit your eyes, but you do not need to cre­ate com­plete dark­ness and silence.

Grad­u­al­ly, the baby will enter the mode, and by the peri­od of dreams it will already calm down, rebuild for rest. Clos­er to the year, there are usu­al­ly two day­time sleeps or one, rel­a­tive­ly long sleep.

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