Getting your baby to sleep well can be a challenge.
One of the most critical aspects of getting your baby to sleep well is realizing a few essential facts about healthy sleep for babies.
First, babies need lots of sleep when they’re youngest, but those sleep needs can change rapidly over the early months and years. Second, consistency is super-important.
Newborn babies sleep upwards of 18 hours per day, on a seemingly chaotic schedule. Human beings have a natural 25-hour per day sleep cycle that we have grown accustomed to pigeon-holing into a 24-hour day. If adults were more like babies, our sleep patterns would probably appear chaotic, as well.
As they grow, babies need less and less sleep, settling into approximately 12-hour per day schedules by the time they’re one or two years old. But, 12-hours per day doesn’t mean one, continuous 12-hour rest. Rather, the older they get, the more they will settle into a pattern similar to our own, with one long rest in the night, and one or two naps during the day.
A good progression for the youngest of infants is to start trying to encourage sleep in the evening by being non-responsive to wakeful events during the hours of darkness. Try to schedule sleep for night time, putting baby to bed as the sun goes down, and waking baby as the sun comes up. Plan on including two naps per day in the second six months, tailoring back to one in the first year, with an occasional ‘catch up’ second nap. By the time your baby is three years old, they should not only be sleeping at night, but daytime naps should be all-but-gone.
Remember to be consistent, and be resilient. Your baby will try to push the boundaries of what is and is not okay. They’re learning their limits, and the only way to do that is by pushing. If you consistently enforce a healthy sleep/wake schedule, your baby will catch on.
These are just a few tips for happy, healthy sleep habits for babies. For more, contact us. And remember, a well-rested baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby makes for happy parents.