What are the sleep patterns in a baby?
Many couples who have just started as parents wonder how many hours your child should sleep , if there is deep sleep of the baby and what is considered to be healthy or normal at the time of infant rest.
In this sense, the first thing that must be taken into consideration are the patterns of sleep in a baby, since, as happens with the rest of adults, the children’s sleep goes through a series of determined phases.
The sleep starts being light, then goes to deep and later to REM sleep. And on the contrary, from REM you go back to deep sleep, from there to light sleep, and then you wake up. In general, both adults and babies repeat this cycle between 4 and 5 times each night, with the duration of the cycle varying between 45 minutes and one hour for babies and about 20 or 30 minutes in the case of adults.
It is said that babies dream since they are in the womb and that unlike adults, their dream periods can last several hours. In some cases, between light sleep and deep sleep, there is a transition phase, where nightmares usually take place.
But what is considered to be normal? How many hours should a baby sleep?
The dream of a 2 months old or less baby is a total of between 14 to 20 hours per day, despite having different interruptions during their rest. Newborn babies still do not distinguish between day and night and, therefore, they wake up indistinctly. During the 24 hours a day, it is normal for a baby to eat every few hours (between 2 and 4) and, therefore, to wake up to the sensation of appetite. However, as of the sixth or seventh week of life, this changes.
Ina May Gaskin recommends, in her book “Birth Guide”, that parents and babies sleep together, at certain periods of the day, to facilitate milk intakings and rest, and try to reconcile the rhythms of both (as much as possible, obviously).
The baby’s sleep at 3 months begin to reduce during the day day (between 14 and 16 hours) , but is more likely to endure a 5-hours resting in a row. However, it will not be until a month later when you begin to know the hours of meals, bathing and other daily habits. A simple way to try to get babies to “understand” these times is to try to keep a daily routine, which will gradually start to associate awakening with food and sleep with something after it.
The dream of a 4-month-old baby begins to look more like that of a small child (he sleeps between 9 and 12 hours). He will nap in the morning and in the afternoon (two or three hours each, approximately), but he will spend more hours awake in the crib and will relate more to his environment.
It is at 6 months of age , when sleep patterns begin, little by little, to develop according to the baby and according to their environment. In this period, babies usually sleep for about 11 hours and take two naps of two or three hours each. It is time to try to “educate” with the time and the way to go to sleep, in order to make the baby as autonomous as possible at the time of falling asleep. Therefore, it is advisable to take the baby to his crib when he is still awake, to accustom him to his resting place, and to help the sleep process to occur naturally by associating said place with a few schedules and some gentle routines: loving words, a soft blanket, a delicate swing of the crib or even a little music.
The sleep of a 9-month-old baby is usually between 11-12 hours a day and two naps, between 1-2 hours each. As the baby grows, it becomes more autonomous and brings out its character. The hours of sleep or the difficulty to reconcile it are based on the personality of each child, so, it may be that some babies wake up more than others, or are more unruly than others at the time of getting into the crib. The routines, and the making of the hour to sleep an hour of calm, of love, and not of nervousness, help in any case.
One-year-old babies , usually sleep between 10 to 11 hours and take two naps of between one and two hours each. At this age, it may happen that the waking crying increases, as babies become more aware of the “missing” parents as they grow up. Therefore, it is important to continue to accustom him to fall asleep by himself, without associating the sleep time with a constant presence of the parents.
Finally, remember that our baby is unique, different from all the others. If he is healthy and sleeps a little more or less than usual, we need to not worry. In any case, the tranquility and advice of a pediatrician will always be our best allies.