What Is Safe Sleep
Safe sleep means putting your baby to sleep in ways that can help protect him from dangers, like choking and suffocation , and sudden infant death syndrome . SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. SIDS usually happens when a baby is sleeping. Its sometimes called crib death because the baby often dies in his crib.
How Many Hours Do Newborns Sleep
Placing baby to sleep on her back on a firm surface.
Keeping extras like pillows, stuffed animals, and comforters out of the crib.
Sleeping near baby but not in the same bed.
Maintaining room temperature at the low to mid-twenties Celsius or around 70F.
The Lumi Smart Sleep Coaching App combines effortless sleep tracking with expert sleep coaching to help your baby establish healthy sleep habits, right from the start. Co-created with pediatricians and designed to help you through every sleep change from birth to 16 months, it covers everything from Newborn Sleep Fundamentals to nap transitions and regressions, sharing a variety of gentle, proven sleep training methods so you can choose the one that fits your parenting style.
How Much Rem Sleep Do Babies Get
Newborn babies spend roughly 50% of their time asleep in REM. Since newborns sleep up to 18 hours each 24-hour period, that means they experience up to nine hours of REM each day.
As a babys sleep schedule changes, so do their sleep cycles. Baby REM sleep is one part of the sleep cycle that changes over time. However, there is no simple chart outlining sleep cycle length or REM by age.
As babies grow and sleep fewer hours, they spend less of their sleep time in the REM stage. By adulthood, people experience REM for roughly 20% of each nights sleep, which is far less than the 50% of sleep newborns spend in REM.
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Sleeping Problems Whats Not Normal
Babies can be snuffly or noisy sleepers. Its common for babies to have irregular breathing patterns when they sleep they might breathe quickly, and then have short pauses, for example. This is normal.
If youre worried about your babys sleep because:
- you cant settle them
- they sleep for long periods
- theyre too tired to feed
- they dont wake for feeds
- theyre not feeding well, or not having many feeds
- theyre breathing more quickly than usual
- theyre wheezing or grunting
then contact PlunketLine on , or talk to your midwife, doctor, or your Well Child nurse.
What Else Should I Know
Flat head syndrome improves with time and natural growth. As babies grow, they begin to change position themselves during sleep, so their heads aren’t in the same position.
When babies can sit on their own, a flat spot usually won’t get any worse. Then, over months and years, as the skull grows, the flattening will improve, even in severe cases. As hair grows in over the first few years, the flat spot often becomes less noticeable as well.
Flat head syndrome doesn’t affect a baby’s brain growth. But having a stiff neck can slow early development. Physical therapy for torticollis should include a check of the baby’s progress and extra exercises to treat any delays.
Read Also: How To Change Newborn Sleep Schedule
Myth : Some Babies Sleep Worse When Swaddled Because They Want To Be Free
Not really. Your baby may fuss and resist swaddling at first, so it may look like she hates it. But babies dont need freedom, they need the feeling of security they had in the womb. Without wrapping, your infant will flail her arms, whack herself in the face and startle easily throughout the night. Thats a recipe for poor sleep.
Swaddling is the first step to calming, and its important you dont stop there, especially if your infants been fighting it. To help her settle, youll want to layer in other womb-mimicking steps: shushing, side/stomach position, swinging and sucking, which, along with swaddling, make up the 5 Ss of setting up a baby for sleep success. And once the Ss become part of your sleep routine, shell give up her battle!
References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep
Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.
Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.
Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.
Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.
Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.
Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.
Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.
Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.
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What Is Tummy Time
Tummy time is when you put your baby on her stomach while shes awake. It can help make your babys neck, shoulder and arm muscles stronger. It also helps prevent flat spots on the back of your babys head that she may get from sleeping on her back. Always watch your baby during tummy time or make sure an adult who is awake is watching your baby.
Establish A Daily And Weekly Routine
Routines are more than a simple list of things to do. They make your days go smoother and keep unmade decisions from cluttering up your mind. If you know that every Thursday you go grocery shopping, you might make Wednesday your menu planning day for making your grocery list.
If this is your routine, you don’t have to lie awake, reminding yourself to make a list or wondering when you will go shopping. Establish a daily and weekly routine for your sanity as well as for the benefit of falling asleep without distractions.
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How Do I Make Sure My Baby Gets The Right Amount Of Sleep
Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Newborn babies need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.
If your newborn baby becomes overtired they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. We’ve given age-targeted tips to help avoid overstimulation and improve your baby’s sleep in the sleep schedules below. For more information on how much sleep your baby needs and how long they should be sleeping at a time read How Much Do Newborns Sleep?
Learning your baby’s sleep cycle
While your baby has your nose or eyes, the two of you couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to sleep cycle! The main reason your newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable is because of their evolving sleep cycle.
Adults can easily pass from one sleep cycle into the next without completely waking up. Newborns, however, don’t stay in deep sleep for long periods at a time, so they are more susceptible to frequent wake-ups. Our post, Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle, explains more in-depth about how your baby’s sleep cycle is linked to their sleep patterns.
To learn more about the changes to your baby’s sleep cycle and how to cope with sleep regression, read our post 10 Tips to Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression.
How Long Will My Newborn Sleep
Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.
Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.
The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.
Also Check: When Do Newborns Start Sleeping Through The Night
Signs Your Newborn Is Tired
Your baby may get tired after any activity – a feed, a nappy change, or when youve had a cuddle or playtime. Theyll likely get tired after theyve been awake for one to one and a half hours.
When theyre tired, your baby might:
- clench or suck on their fists
- have tense or jerky movements
- arch backwards
- have trouble focusing, or stare into space
- startle easily.
‘sleeping Through The Night’: What That Actually Means
Sleeping through the night is usually defined as sleeping six to eight straight hours overnight.
But remember, thats only a fraction of the total 10 to 12 hours of sleep babies generally need at night, depending on age and stage, in addition to daytime naps. Meaning that even if your baby is sleeping through the night at 3 to 6 months old, you probably wont be for a while .
Infants under 6 months old can usually sleep anywhere from three to eight hours at night, depending on age and stage. And babies between 4 and 6 months old are developmentally able to sleep through the night without a feeding, but whether they do is another story. Babies, like adults, eat for comfort and pleasure, not just nourishment.
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Should Parents Be Concerned If Their Babies Arent Sleeping At Night
Some changes in a babys sleeping patterns are normal. Keep in mind that if there are brief changes, such as illness or traveling, sleeping may be more difficult for your child. Continue maintaining a consistent routine for the baby to encourage sleeping through the night.
If you are concerned about your babys sleeping habits, keep track of hours slept and when sleep occurs. Share this information with your pediatrician and they will be able to help identify whether or not your childs behavior is normal or reflective of a possible sleeping problem.
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Appreciate The Power Of A 30
When youre running up an enormous sleep debt, you might think a 30-minute nap will make little difference to your health.
But recent research confirms that all naps are not the same. When youre sleep deprived, the brain compensates by rendering naps more restorative than usual.
In one study, volunteers permitted to sleep only 2 hours at night showed the typical abnormalities in their stress hormone and immune factor chemistry. But after just two 30-minute naps, those irregularities were entirely normalized .
In another study, volunteers coping with a 2-hour nightly regimen experienced heightened pain sensitivity a common symptom of sleep deprivation. But once again, the effect was reversed after just two 30-minute naps .
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Myth : We Should Teach Babies To Sleep In Their Own Rooms
Having our babies grow up to be independent takes a long time. Theres no need to rush it. In fact, having your new child sleep in another room is inconvenient and possibly dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the parents room for at least six months . The simple practice has shown to significantly reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome.
What Prevents Babies From Sleeping Through The Night
There are several factors that prevent babies from sleeping through the night.
- Hunger. Since babies are accustomed to feeding a few times during the night, they may cry out for attention and feeding as they transition to sleeping for longer periods. At this stage, parents can keep the feeding interaction as brief as possible and not play with the baby.
- Babies naturally grow fearful of being away from their parents. If the baby cries after being put to bed, parental responses at night, such as cuddling and rocking, may cause the baby to seek parental attention. Parents should not remove the baby from their crib and instead touch the babys head or back and talk soothingly for reassurance until the baby has calmed down. This helps the baby learn their parents are nearby, and they will grow less frightened.
- Environment. Babies need to sleep in a dark room. If a parent comes to check on the baby during the night, they should not turn on any lights but use nightlights if necessary.
- Bed sharing. Having a baby sleep in the parents bed may hinder the babys ability to sleep through the night. It also puts the baby at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome .
Read Also: How To Keep Your Newborn Awake
How Much Do Newborns Sleep
The short answer? A LOT. As you can see from the chart below, newborns will sleep up to 18 hours during a 24 hour period.
|10-12 hours||2.5-3.5+ hours|
As you can see the durations are always given in the form of ranges because each baby is different. Just like adults some are heavy sleepers whereas others are light sleepers. Some might not stay awake longer than 30 minutes in between naps for the first couple months, while others might be up for close to an hour or more between napping.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there may not be a set pattern to their sleeping habits. Before 3-4 months old, their sleep can be pretty erratic the only thing you can count on is that there will be a lot of it! Savor this time, because it won’t last forever! Your baby’s sleep will change, and as they grow older, they’ll need a little bit less of it every day.
Trust Your Instincts And Get Help When You Feel Stressed
If something feels wrong with you or the baby, talk to your physician. And remember that your own mental health is crucial.
Coping with sleep deprivation is very stressful, especially if your infant seems to be especially fussy or prone to crying. Watch for signs of postpartum stress and postpartum depression, and reach out to others for support.
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