This blog will discuss:
Babies awake time & what exactly is this
Tiredness – both being over and under tired
All things Naps
Night sleep and awakenings
Settling, your baby’s room, and many other factors that affect sleep
Welcome to parenthood! It is one of the best clubs to be part of… with lots of joy, happiness, and perhaps even some tears at times. There are a couple of things I feel you should know more about with your newest member of the family…
After birth, babies grow, change, and develop rapidly in their first 12 weeks. Adapting to their new life in the big outside world. These changes are most noticeable most with their sleep patterns and rhythms. As they start maturing during the later part of the first three months. During these initial few months, you will witness a lot of neurological development occurring in your baby.
Let’s examine precisely what is happening in your baby’s world at this time:
From birth onwards, especially when your baby is brand new, they are very sleepy. All babies respond differently to their birth; for many babies, the sleepiness wears off in a few days. Some others, it takes a few weeks. For some, it means your baby seems to an endless merry-go-round of feeding and sleeping. Incredibly young babies only stay awake for up to 1 hour at any time, before they need to go back to sleep.
By around 12 weeks, babies awake times gradually stretched out to around 1.5 – 2 hours of wake time between naps. Sleep for a baby is a delicate thing. Babies can be susceptible to the balance between awake windows and the length of any naps. When awaken windows do not change alongside your baby as they grow and develop the baby will begin resisting naps. Leading to shorter periods of napping. More frequent awakenings occur during the night, resulting in the baby staying awake for more extended periods during the night.
The most common trap new parents fall into is?
When parents think that their 12-week-old baby only stays awake for an hour at a time. However, the baby’s sleep needs change dramatically over the last three months. They are resulting in a change to their awake times too. Changes can be achieved gently via one of Sleep Co sleep programs. In these, it will make it easier for you to exactly how and when to extend the baby’s awake time. Meaning you can better regulate the length of any naps.
Over & Under Tiredness:
Babies in the age bracket of 0-3 months get very overtired quickly and easily, which results in them needing a lot of help to switch off and settle to sleep. However, overtiredness is regularly mistaken for under tiredness. Once a newborn’s sleepiness wears off, a baby can start to exhibit quite unsettled behavior. Crying more, becoming much more difficult to settle to sleep, increased catnapping with an increased amount of reoccurring and frequent night waking.
Many new parents believe the unsettledness to be colic, reflux, or overtiredness. When, for most, they are not tired enough and need more awake time between any naps.
Think of sleep as a nutrient for babies on the same level as any milk they get. Often sleeps overlooked, even by some medical professionals too. When we think of sleep in terms of absolute importance, it holds on a baby’s growth and development. It helps you understand it all much better and more comfortable. When you understand that all children up until the age of 2.5 to 3 years NEED to have a daytime sleep, it becomes easier. The number of naps and length of time will change during these first few years. Therefore, to nurture a good night’s sleep, ensure efficient feeding and a happy baby, you must work towards the appropriate amount of nap hours for your little one’s age.
What does this mean?
As a starting point, babies aged between 0-6 weeks should have 5 hours, dropping to 4 hours of a cumulative daytime nap. From 6 – 12 weeks, it reduces again from 4 to 3 hours. Those dramatic changes in the hours of naps in the first three months occur because of your baby’s developing neurological growth, resulting in their ability to stay awake for more extended periods between naps increasing. Therefore, if a 12-week-old baby is still having 4 or 5 hours’ worth of naps in the day, you will likely notice that they have started to awaken more in the night. Will resisting settling at bedtime and staying awake for long periods, especially between 2-4 am, and wakening earlier in the morning.
What if that does not help?
Should you find that your baby is not doing anything close to these hours in naps, there could be several reasons. So I recommend the best place to begin is with one of our Sleep Programs. Being able to rule out over or under tiredness will help greatly. As it will allow you to be in a better place to work out what is going on with your little one’s sleep. Making it clearer what you baby is trying to tell you. Read my other blog on settling, your baby’s room, other factors affecting sleep and what is “normal sleep for this age” for more suggestions.
What is best to do now?
Purchase one of Lisa Gargaro Sleep Co Sleep programs here. The Newborn sleep program, or Infant programs – select the correct age program.
I also offer a 15-minute introductory call if you are unsure exactly where or what is going on. We can chat with you about your current situation. Including recommendation your options in the future with your little one’s sleep.