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Sleeping habits: your questions, answered

Updated: Jan 31

Getting a good night's sleep is important for everyone, including babies. However, sleep can be a challenge for new parents as babies have different sleep patterns and needs compared to adults. Understanding your baby's sleeping habits can help you establish a healthy sleep routine and ensure your little one gets the rest they need to grow and develop.


Newborns and Sleep


Newborns sleep a lot, typically between 16 and 17 hours a day, but in short spurts. They often wake up every 2 to 3 hours for feedings, and their sleep-wake cycles are not yet established. This means that they may wake up at any time during the day or night, making it difficult for parents to get a good night's sleep.


To help your newborn establish a sleep routine, try to create a sleep-friendly environment. Keep the room dark and quiet, and swaddle your baby to create a sense of security. You can also try playing soft music or using a white noise machine to help soothe your baby to sleep.



Establishing a Sleep Routine


As your baby grows and develops, their sleep patterns will change. By 3 months of age, most babies can sleep for longer stretches, up to 6 hours at a time. This is a good time to start establishing a sleep routine that works for your family. Try to put your baby down for naps and bedtime at the same time every day, and create a consistent bedtime routine that includes activities like bath time, reading a story, or singing a lullaby.


Some babies may have trouble falling asleep on their own, especially if they have developed a dependence on being rocked or held to sleep. If this is the case, you may need to gradually wean your baby off of these habits to encourage them to self-soothe and fall asleep independently.


Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night


Many parents struggle with getting their babies to sleep through the night. While it's normal for babies to wake up for feedings during the first few months of life, by 6 months of age, most babies should be able to sleep for 8 to 12 hours at night.


To help your baby sleep through the night, try to establish a consistent bedtime routine, and make sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep. A well-rested baby is more likely to sleep well at night. You can also try a dream feed, where you feed your baby before you go to bed, to help them sleep longer stretches.


Conclusion


Understanding your baby's sleeping habits can be a challenge, but it's an important part of ensuring your little one gets the rest they need to grow and develop. By creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a sleep routine, and helping your baby sleep through the night, you can help your little one develop healthy sleep habits that will last a lifetime. Remember, every baby is different, so don't be discouraged if it takes some time to find what works best for your family.

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