Ask any new parent what they wish for most and the common answer will likely be a good night’s sleep. Most babies however seem to know how to do it very well. In fact, they sleep most of the day (even though it’s in short stretches and not always longenough for mom to take a shower….).
But how do you know whether your baby’s patterns are normal and when will he finally start to sleep through the night? At the beginning, you may find it hard to get a cute picture of your baby without his or her eyes closed since, according to theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, infants up to one year should sleep about 12 to 16 hours or more a day. And that sleep usually comes in 1 to 4 hour stretches, with the intervening hours filled with feeding, bathing and diapering. And of course,some babies get day and night mixed up so their liveliest waking hours hit just when you’d like to be hitting the sack.
So how much sleep does your baby really need? Here’s some sleep facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics and BabyCenter.com:
- In the first few weeks of life, babies need their rest and their sleep patterns are usually unpredictable. They’re not ready for a true schedule. Plan to be up several times in the night to change, feed and comfort your infant.
- At 6 to 8 weeks, most babies begin to stay awake longer between naps, sleeping for shorter periods during the day and longer at night. Some even begin to sleep through the night (for 8 hour or more stretches) by as early as 6 weeks, but that won’t happenfor others until at least 5 or 6 months. If you have an all-night sleeper, you might not want to brag too much about it to the other bleary-eyed parents at the playground. Just enjoy your zzzzz’s privately.
- By 4 months, babies begin to follow a more predictable pattern of daytime sleep and have dropped most of their nighttime feedings. Many experts advise you start to give your baby the chance to fall asleep by himself by laying him down when he’s sleepybut still awake.
- You can start to plan regular naps and begin to establish bedtime routines when baby reaches about 6 months. Baby will now be sleeping about 15 hours a day, including naps.
- By 9 months babies begin to consolidate their naps down to 2, taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Help baby sleep through the night by staying dry for up to 12 hours in Huggies® Overnites Diapers.
- From one to two years old, babies sleep about 11 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period (including naps) and from age 3 to 5 it drops to 10 to 13 hours of rest.
As your child grows, consistent bedtime rituals of bathing, quiet time and bedtime stories will relax him and prepare him for bed. Soon you’ll be having quiet evenings and nights of uninterrupted sleep. And just wait till the teen years when they sleeptill noon!
Image : Getty