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?
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
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.