How much Sleep Your Baby Needs

The amount of sleep your baby needs will change gradually as she grows. She will transition from needing as much as 16 to 20 hours of sleep every 24 hours in the first few weeks after birth to about 10 to 13 hours a day when she is a toddler. Getting Enough sleep is essential to a healthy development especially for babies.425939475_cfef1e2d68_z

Unlike adults, your baby’s sleep needs, in her first year, cannot be met with just night sleep. The total amount of sleep your child needs, is the time she needs for her naps and her night sleep put together. So if she takes 2 naps of about 2 hours each, another 1 hour nap and sleeps 11 hours at night, a day, she has a total sleep of 16 hours. This is normally sufficient for babies between 6 to 9 months old.

Depending on your child and certain factors including your child’s age, the amount of sleep she needs will vary. Below is a general guide for babies at different stages of development.

1 – 6 weeks:       16  to 20 hours

Typically, even though newborns sleep for up to 20 hours, they do so in short periods of about 2 to 4 hours round the clock because at this age they do not yet have an internal biological clock, or circadian rhythm, so their sleep patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles.

7 weeks – 3 months:       18  to 20 hours

At about 2 months your baby would start sleeping longer periods during the night and staying up longer during the day. The day and night-time confusion ending.  You may notice your baby developing a more regular sleep pattern. This is when you can start shaping your baby’s sleep by encouraging and guiding her towards having longer night sleeps and helping her sleep through the night.

3 – 6 months:       14  to 16 hours

Most Babies at this stage still need at least 2 naps a day, from 1 – 3 hours each. one nap in the morning, and one in the afternoon and probably one cat-nap about an hour in the late afternoon. At about 4 months, your baby should be sleeping through at least one nighttime feeding and perhaps through the entire night.

7 – 12 months:       14  to 15 hours

At seven months, your baby probably still takes 2 regular naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. She is also likely to sleep through the night as much as 12 hours without needing a middle-of-the-night feeding. But be aware of possible problems ahead: As her separation anxieties intensity in the next few months, she may star to resist bedtime and may wake up more often looking for you.

During this stage you may need to experiment with different strategies on how to your baby to go to sleep such as using a soft blanket or a stuffed animal to help her go to sleep easily.

1 – 3 years:       12  to 14 hours

As your toddler gets to about 18 months she will likely loose her morning nap and start to nap just once a day between 1 to 3 hours. Her night sleep should now be uninterrupted and about 10 to 12 hours long. Most toddlers don’t get as much sleep as they need, because they are more active, they tend to resist bedtime and nap time more strongly

3+- 6 years:       12  to 14 hrs

Most children at 3 years of age typically still take occasional naps up to 4 years, while most at 5 years don’t take any nap at all. They usually go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up around 6 and 8 a.m., just as they did when they were younger, but with shorter naps or no naps at all.

Reference.

-Research

– Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

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Night Terrors

These sudden waking ups and jumping or crying during his sleep are called night terrors. And usually babies eventually out grow them. You can help him though, by doing some or any of the following:1055569383_aedc0db18a_o
– Try not to force him to wake when he’s having one of these. Sometimes babies cry while still sleeping. When you give your baby sometime before waking him up, you might notice that he would go right back to sleep without completely waking up.
– Try to stay calm yourself. Staying calm helps you handle the situation better and only then can you be consistent with your method of getting your baby to go back to sleep every time he wakes up. And when you are calm, it helps your baby get calmer faster.
– Minimize your babies stress and try getting him to bed before he is over-tired. When babies go to sleep over-tired, it is sometimes more difficult for them to stay asleep longer. A good consistent sleeping and feeding daily schedule and an early bedtime would reduce the chances of over-tiredness for your child.
– Adopt a comforting bedtime routine. Babies thrive well on routines. Knowing when to expect at various times, makes it easier for them to accept and do things. Bedtime routines should be soothing and not be too long 15 – 30 minutes is sufficient and 10 to 15 minutes for nap time.
– Be aware of fevers, tonsils, cold or allergies (that can make it harder for him to breathe): If your child is having difficulty breathing, he would most likely have interrupted sleep which may appear as night terrors. See your pediatrician if you notice or suspect any health issues.
– Reduce or eliminate TV as much as possible even for a few days to see if it is contributing to your child’s night wakings. Some TV programs even cartoons can cause some babies to have sleep interrupting dreams or nightmares.

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Signs of Sleepiness in Babies and Toddlers

338937124_c6dfbcf7bb_zSigns of Sleepiness. Are they Important?

Yes. When a young child is over-tired, they find it harder to get to sleep or stay asleep for very long, when they eventually sleep. Once you can spot these signs of tiredness and sleepiness, you would be able to settle your child to sleep at the right time before over-tiredness sets in. Some children become irritable, very fussy, demanding or overactive when they get really tired, some as a way of fighting the sleep.

It is important to look out for these signs of tiredness and sleepiness so as to avoid stimulating your child when he is tired and start settling for sleep. These sleep signs are also important when you are starting a sleep schedule and/or a sleep routine to help improve your child’s sleep.

Spotting signs of tiredness in your baby (before they get over-tired) lets you get your child to sleep more easily. Every baby is different so signs of sleepiness in one baby will differ from another baby’s signs of sleepiness or over-tiredness. Some of these signs are easy to spot while some are not so obvious

Signs of sleepiness in Newborns

Newborn sleep for up to 18 hours a day and have short awake-time. So after about 1 hour or 1 1/2, your baby may start showing signs of tiredness. Some of the tired signs in newborns are:

  • tugging at his ears
  • trying to rub the eyes
  • not being able to focus his eyes
  • yawning
  • arching his back
  • start become a little unsettled and a bit restless
  • suckling his finger

Signs of Sleepiness in Babies and Toddlers

Babies from 4 months and toddlers usually show a little more distinct signs of sleepiness. Some of these signs depends on your babies temperament and include:

  • becoming fussy
  • crying easily
  • getting clingy and needing constant attention
  • grizzling
  • becomes bored  with toys
  • yawning
  • rubbing of eyes

What to do when you spot these signs of Sleepiness and Tiredness

  • It is recommended to start a simple routine consisting of 2 or 3 calming activities like swaddling, cuddling, rocking or reading to your baby. A 5 to 10 minutes routine would be good enough for naps and up to 20 minutes for night sleep.
  • Make it a quiet time by reducing the noise around your baby or moving him to a quiet area before he sleeps. If the house is noisy it might take your child longer to settle down and sleep.
  • Reduce stimulating activities when your child starts to show signs of sleepiness. Talk quietly and soothingly, darken the room a bit with blinds or thick curtains during the day and dim the lights or lights out at night.

These are calming activities to get your baby settled. You might have to experiment to see what works for your baby. It could take a few days or a few weeks for your baby to start sleeping better. The important thing here is to be able to

  • identify your baby’s sleep cues (signs of sleepiness)
  • have a positive sleep routine or pick something that works for your baby
  • be patient, committed and consistent because babies thrive well on consistency
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Napping Right

Naps are as important as night sleep. Naps can help improve 7490967888_3da071ae6e_z
mood and alertness. The better your baby naps during the day the better night sleep he will get. Contrary to what some people believe, naps actually improve night sleeps. Over-tiredness or restlessness can cause a baby to have trouble falling asleep or even be unable to sleep for a long time after going to bed. It can also cause him to wake up often or too early in the morning. Your baby or toddler will require zero, one, two or three naps a day depending on his age. A good nap schedule that is adhered to can help your baby be a better sleeper.

Continue reading “Napping Right” »

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Sleep Training

What is sleep training?

Sleep training simply means helping a baby or a young child learn2251576041_ecac27a6e8_z to sleep independently and stay asleep through the night.This can usually be started at an early age for babies but you should check with your pediatrician if your baby is ready for sleep training

Regularly sleeping through the night is easily developed and adapted to for some babies. However, some babies have trouble falling asleep on their own or soothing themselves back to sleep when they

Continue reading “Sleep Training” »

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Baby Sleep Training – What Experts Say

There has been a lot of research and information on baby sleep training but here is  a few of what some experts say on this:

Jodi Mindell, psychologist and author of Sleeping Through the Night

“The more practice your baby gets putting himself to sleep,baby sleep the quicker the process works. He will fall asleep on his own, and you will get the sleep you need…Don’t wait too long, though. The earlier, the better. Remember, once your baby gets older — that is, at least 5 or 6 months — the process of getting your child on a sleep schedule and to sleep through the night gets more difficult.”

Marc Weissbluth, pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

“For infants under 3 or 4 months of age, you should try to flow with the child’s need for sleep. Don’t expect predictable sleep Continue reading “Baby Sleep Training – What Experts Say” »

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