Every person, and especially every parent, knows that sleep is vital, both for you and your little one. So how can you make sure that your little one gets as much sleep as they need? To help combat the confusion and simplify some of the gargantuan amount of information out there, we’ve compiled a sleep guide that will help you understand your little one’s sleep and sleeping needs in their first year of life. Whilst there’s no one size fits all approach to children’s sleep patterns and challenges, we’re here to help with some of the most common issues that parents can run into, and potential solutions.
We’ve broken our guide down by age brackets:
From there we’ve addressed things in 6 sections, going from ‘How much sleep do they need?’ all the way to ‘Common mistakes and how to fix them’. As children grow they are likely to experience growth spurts and psychological developments which hinder their sleep temporarily. Scary though it may be, this normally shouldn’t worry you, it’s all part of them growing.
Without further ado, let’s get to it, because you’re probably already tired, you’re a parent after all.
3 – 6 months
How much sleep do they need?
As with our previous sections, this is a total number of daytime and nighttime hours that your baby will spend sleeping. It is not a guide to how long they will spend sleeping in a single sitting.
Total daytime hours: 4 to 5 hours
Total night time hours: 10 to 11 hours
Total daytime hours: 3 hours
Total night time hours: 11 hours
As your baby grows, so does their stomach, meaning that the amount of milk that they can hold at any one time increases. The longer they can go without being hungry, the longer they can go between feeds, and the more time that they can spend asleep at once increases too. So, it’s not until around 16 weeks of age that your baby will be able to sleep for a long enough stretch of time for you to get a longer sleep yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Where should they sleep?
During the first 6 months your newborn should be in the the same room as you when they’re asleep, both during the day and the night. By 3 months, your baby’s sleep may have started to regulate itself slightly, you might even notice them sleeping for longer at night. However, they should still be in the room with you, so that when they need you, you’re never too far away.
Recognising sleepy signs
From 3 months of age there are tell tale signs that will let you know when your baby is sleepy. There are a number of signs, such as:
- Rubbing their eyes
- Flicking their ears with their hand
- Faint, dark circles under the eyes
- whining and crying
- Staring out blankly into space
- Yawning and stretching (more than usual)
- Losing interest in people and their toys
- Becoming quiet and still
- They may also turn their face away from moving objects or people, or bury their face in your chest.
At this age, it’s important to avoid falling into bad habits long term. Things such as:
- Relying on motion to put your baby to sleep (such as using a baby swing or driving)
- Skipping bedtime routines
- Not being consistent with your routines and attitudes
Some experts suggest waiting to start sleep training until your baby is at least six months old. However, all babies and parents are different. You may think your baby is ready to learn to settle themself earlier than six months. Or you may feel able to put up with sleepless nights for a little while longer. The choice is yours to make.
Mistakes and fixes
As with newborns, the biggest mistake you can make is still to expect too much too soon. Your baby will settle down in time, and with a consistent bedtime routine your baby will most likely drop into a consistent sleep routine before too long.
Read the Other Parts of This Guide: