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The ABCs of Baby Sleep

As parents, we know how crucial it is to ensure our little ones get the sleep they need for healthy development and overall well-being. Let’s go through the ABCs of baby sleep, explaining the different sleep stages, age-appropriate sleep patterns, and tips to foster positive sleep foundations.

A - Age-Appropriate Sleep Requirements

  • Newborns (0-3 months):

    • Newborns have irregular sleep patterns and tend to sleep for about 15 to 17 hours a day, often in short naps of 2 to 3 hours at a time.

    • Encourage daytime exposure to natural light and keep nighttime sleep environments calm and dimly lit to help establish the difference between day and night.

  • Infants (3-6 months):

    • By this age, babies might sleep for 13 to 15 hours a day, with nighttime sleep becoming more prolonged.

    • Establish a consistent bedtime routine to help cue your baby that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

    • Babies experience the 4 month regression, in which their sleep cycles make a permanent change to 2-3 hourly, like adults. You may find your little one now waking regularly throughout the night.

  • Older Infants (6-12 months):

    • Babies between 6 and 12 months typically sleep for about 13 to 15 hours a day, including nighttime sleep and daytime naps.

    • It is safe to introduce a comforter from 7 months of age to provide comfort and reassurance during sleep.

B - Baby Sleep Stages

  • Active Sleep (REM Sleep):

    • Newborns spend a significant portion of their sleep in the active sleep stage, characterised by rapid eye movements (REM) and irregular breathing. Newborns are noisy sleepers!

    • REM sleep is essential for brain development and processing emotions.

  • Quiet Sleep (Non-REM Sleep):

    • As babies grow, they spend more time in quiet sleep, which is non-REM sleep.

    • During this stage, the body repairs and rejuvenates tissues and releases growth hormones.

C - Creating Positive Sleep Foundations

  • Create a Soothing Sleep Environment:

    • Ensure the sleep environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to sleep by maintaining a steady room temperature between (18-22ºC) and using a firm cot mattress.

    • Use pink noise machines to create a calming, sleep promoting atmosphere and to help block out external noises.

  • Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine:

    • A consistent bedtime routine signals to your baby that it's time to sleep. Include activities like a warm bath, reading a story, or gentle rocking.

    • Follow the same sequence of events each night to reinforce the routine.

  • Recognise Sleep Cues:

    • Watch for your baby's sleep cues/tired signs, such as yawning, rubbing eyes, or becoming fussy.

    • Putting your baby to sleep when they show these cues can help prevent overtiredness, which can make falling asleep more challenging.

  • Encourage Daytime Play and Interaction:

    • Engage your baby in play and exploration during the day to help establish a difference between daytime and nighttime.

    • Exposure to natural light during the day can aid in setting their internal body clock.

Understanding age-appropriate sleep patterns and fostering healthy sleep habits are crucial for your baby's growth and development. By following the ABCs of baby sleep, you can create a sleep-friendly environment and establish consistent routines that will help your little one get the rest they need for a bright and happy future. Remember, every baby is unique, so be patient and observe your child's cues to tailor your approach accordingly.

Sweet dreams to you and your precious bundle of joy!

Having sleep challenges? Book your FREE Speedy Sleep Chat today.

Baby sleeping in a pink romper on a cream blanket

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