As a parent of an infant, sleepless nights are bound to come. The fact that you aren’t getting enough sleep probably isn’t bothering you as much as wanting that your little one sleeps well.
Understanding the infant’s sleeping habits can help you clarify any doubts. For that reason, we have prepared the most important infant sleep facts that will guide you in helping your baby to sleep better.
1. Sleeping through the Night is Enigmatic
While every parent wishes for a healthy stretch of nighttime sleep, sometimes that just isn’t possible.
The misconception, in this case, is that your baby has a sleeping problem or that you are not doing it right.
Just as people, babies differ and their sleep habits and needs differ as well.
For a younger baby total hours of nighttime sleep should be around 8 hours, and for a baby older than 6 months it should be around 11 hours per night. However, that is not always the case.
Those babies who are having an inconsistent sleep will naturally develop better sleeping habits over time.
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2. A Good Nap is at Least 1.5 hours long
The transition between sleep cycles can sometimes be a struggle for both the baby and the parent.
However, the ideal nap is 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. That is how long your baby needs to get enough sleep.
If the baby is struggling with staying asleep during light sleep, use the same technique that usually gets him or her to fall asleep.
In case nothing works, resort to sleep props. They are not recommended by they are useful when nothing else seems to do the job.
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3. Babies Do Need Help with Sleeping Habits
Some babies are good at self-soothing or creating their own sleep habits, but most of them need some help.
Taking the right steps and directing your baby towards the good sleeping habits is highly recommendable.
Not helping your baby to develop the right sleep habits can easily lead to poor sleep habits. Once that’s done, it will be hard to get it back to the right track.
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4. Infants Have Short Sleep Cycles
Unlike adults, infants have short sleep cycles. Meaning, that they will wake up often.
Their sleep cycle usually lasts from 45 minutes to 60 minutes.
“When the baby wakes up mid nape (which is around 50 minutes into a nap), you should try to get him or her back to sleep. It is best to encourage them to finish their sleep cycle,” advices Estelle Leotard, a writer at Studicus and a dedicated mother.
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5. Average Ages and Usual Nap Patterns
Babies are clever little beings and they can trick us into thinking that they don’t need a nap.
Knowing some average nap dropping times depending on the baby’s age can help you set a better nap patter for the baby. So, here it is:
- less than 3 months old – up to 5 naps
- 3-5 months old – from 3 to 4 naps
- 6-9 months old – from 2 to 3 naps
- 14-18 months old – from 1 to 2 nap
Keep in mind that these are not set rules, but only averages that can serve as guidelines.
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6. Night waking Can Be Beneficial
Contrary to some beliefs, night waking is sometimes necessary and has survival benefits.
In the first few months, babies aren’t able to show their needs, even though their needs are the highest level.
Let’s suppose that the baby sleeps strongly during the night during the breastfeeding period. Mother’s milk digest rapidly and if hunger doesn’t always wake up the baby it will reflect badly on the baby’s survival.
7. The Ideal Bedtime and Wake Up Time
Newborns have unsettling sleep habits but when it comes to an infant (a baby older than 3 months) there are certain times that work best for their sleeping schedule.
Some ideals are 6-8 pm for bedtime and 6-8 am for a morning wake up time.
Marie Fincher, a guest writer at Trust My Paper and Grab My Essay, a family blogger, and a loving mother of two shares her experience with bedtime, “Knowing the best time to get the little ones to sleep at night can help you avoid getting them overtired. I found that this happens when the baby is put to sleep late in the evening.”
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8. About 50% of Babies Sleep is Light
Babies spend an equal amount in active and in quiet sleep. That is, active Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep makes 50% of their sleep.
During light sleep, babies can wake up easily and often. What you can do is to try to be very quiet when the sleep cycle kicks in.
You can use white noise, swaddling, or whatever calms your baby down.
9. Babies Need about 20 minutes to Reach Deep Sleep
When your babies wake up after 5-20 minutes after falling asleep, you might mistakes this for him or her not being tired.
The truth is that it takes as long as 20 minutes for an infant to reach deep sleep.
When they wake up before they reach deep sleep, either lull them until they fall asleep again or if you’re sleep coaching, allow them to do this independently.
10. Overfeeding Won’t Lead to Longer Sleep
Feeding the baby with solids, using a feeding formula or mixing the formula into the breast milk won’t help your baby sleep longer.
What determines when a child sleeps through the night is brain maturity, not food.
Overfeeding the baby can actually lead to a contra effect. They can wake up more often in that case and have an overall poor sleep.
Developing good sleeping habits can’t be achieved overnight. Especially if your baby is showing some resistance. Knowing these facts will help you to get a better and correct picture of what makes a good sleep pattern and how to achieve it. The key element is persistence and tolerance. You should give your best to help your infant with its sleep, but if he or she doesn’t show any change, just let it develop over time.
Written by Dorian Martin, a senior writer at BestEssay Education and a content marketing specialist for Supreme Dissertations. His passion for educating his audience through his written content has driven him to collaborate with various online businesses and he never misses an opportunity to learn about something new. In his spare time, he enjoys writing for his personal blog NotBusinessAsUsual.