A major factor in your little one’s health is sleep and rest. Sleep helps with tissue repair during
the rapid growth your baby goes through in the first few years of life. It is therefore very
important to know as much as you can about your baby’s sleep schedule.
Here’s an all-encompassing guide to baby sleep in the early years:
How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?
Your baby spends a major part of his time resting, sleeping for around 16-19 hours a day in the first few months. This includes nighttime sleeping as well as naps.
Babies don’t understand day and night and therefore have varying sleep schedules. So your little one will doze off for naps during the day too.
Baby Sleep Schedules
A baby’s sleep patterns are different from that of an adult’s. As they grow older, your little one’s sleep cycle will evolve, and become more similar to yours. Here’s how your baby’s sleep schedule is likely to look during the first few months:
- In the first few months, your baby wakes up more often at night as they need to be fed more
often due to their smaller stomach capacity.
- Your baby’s sleep patterns change every few months to become more and more like yours.
The nighttime sleep durations will increase with time and soon, your baby will start to sleep
through the night.
- Naps help your baby recharge during the day and avoid exhaustion or overtiredness.
- There should ideally be at least one night time feeding until the age of 6 to 8 months, around
which time your baby will start to sleep through the night.
Around the age of 10 months, start putting your baby in the cot when they are still awake but mostly drowsy. This will help them soothe themselves if they wake up in the middle of the night and will soon help your baby learn to sleep through the night.
At every age and stage, it is important to focus on your baby’s safety during sleep. Here’s some
things you should keep in mind:
- You can share the room with your baby.
- Ensure that the baby is in a crib or baby cot, with a flat and firm mattress.
- Avoid loose bedding, soft toys, pillows, strings, and cloth out of the crib as they pose the risk of strangling or suffocating your baby. Use a tight-fitted bed sheet on the mattress and ensure that it stays firm.
- Until your baby is 1 year old, make sure he sleeps on his back. Use blanket sleepers which
can keep your baby warm without covering their face or head.
- Your baby is more likely to be fussy due to colic pain in the evening and night time. To put a colicky baby back to sleep, you will have to soothe them – try swaddling, gentle swaying, or playing white noise. A dose of Gripe Water can also help relieve trapped gas, which is the main reason for colic.
Sleep is an important part of your baby’s healthy growth. Yes, your baby’s crazy schedule may
mean that you lose a good deal of sleep in the first few months. But don’t worry, this will pass
and a good night’s sleep will be right around the corner!