Week 2: Sleep
naps & bedtimes for the first year
Sleep is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting during the first year or two of a baby's life.
Doubt, frustration, sleeplessness can get to the best of us and affect our ability to function and cope throughout the day.
Remember that babies are as different from each other as we adults who raise them.
And there is hope with some intention that you can optimize your and baby's sleep.
basic sleep facts
Babies sleep cycle is shorter and more numerous than adults. It is regulated by internal body & biological clock which matures around 6-9 weeks & works more smoothly at 4-5 months of age.
Cycle: Asleep, light sleep, deep sleep 1hour, brief awakening, deep 1-2 hours, light, brief awakening, REM dreaming, brief, light, brief awakening, REM, brief, deep (toward am), brief awakening, light, awake for the day
Back to sleep Until your baby can lift their head and roll from belly to back & back to belly quite easily, it is recommended to place baby on back to sleep.
Don't let baby sleep in same exact position every night. Move head from one side to the other and vary position in crib and when awake encourage to look in all directions by moving toys around. This will prevent the back of baby's head from becoming flat (a condition called positional plagiocephaly). When awake, place on tummy to encourage head and body movement and strengthening.
Average hours of daytime and nighttime sleep for babies. *From The No-Cry Sleep Solution
3 months- 3 naps, 5-6 hours of nap time, 10-11 hours nighttime, 15 total
6 months- 2-3 naps, 3-4 hours of nap time, 10-11 hours nighttime, 14-15 total
9 months 2 naps, 2.5-4 hours of nap time, 11-12 hours nighttime, 13-14 total
12 months- 1-2 naps, 2-3 hours of nap time, 11.5-12 hours nighttime, 13-14 total
There really is no one way for baby to learn to sleep as their are so many factors at play including your own values, energy levels and baby's temperament.
Know that you are doing great— no matter what.
Here are some gentle ways to enable sleep:
1. Permission to keep it simple. Minimize diaper changes.
2. Pay attention to the sleep cues and associations.
3. Introduce a lovey (attachment object).
4. Count to ten, remove nipple from mouth, repeat as needed.
5. Put child down half asleep.
6. Rub back, rock, play music, "shhh, sleep time"
7. Establish a simple routine.
Some children are hungry after sleeping for about four hours. And it is recommended that if your child is hungry, to respond by feeding him/her.
A baby may need one or two night feedings up to nine months of age. Possibly longer. It can take up to two years before children sleep consistently for 11-12 hours a night. They're growing and changing so much in the first two years including becoming emotionally attached to you.
Trust your gut, be flexible & know that this season will pass— eventually.
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