According to guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, infants aged 0 to 3 months should get 14 to 17 hours of quality sleep a day, including naps. Increasing physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep as your baby grows will promote your baby's physical and mental health and well-being, as well as help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases.
Therefore, good sleep quality is very important for babies. Your little one may have difficulty falling asleep at night, or may not be able to sleep through the night and wake up frequently, and this can be distressing for parents. There are also many common myths about baby sleep, so here are some tips to help your baby get the best sleep possible.
Don't be afraid to wake a sleeping baby out of fear that your baby is not getting enough sleep. In the first month, your baby's circadian rhythm is still immature, there is no distinction between day and night, and hence your baby sleeps all day. Mummies need to wake their babies at regular intervals throughout the day so they get used to staying awake and playing during the day to ensure they sleep longer at night. Newborn babies need to be fed every two to three hours for the first few weeks. Once your baby has slept for more than two hours, you need to wake them up.
You can sing or talk to the baby, or use a diaper change to wake them up. Newborn babies have a very short time of activity each time they are awake, about 45 to 60 minutes, and it increases to about 1 to 1.5 hours as they approach 3 months of age.
When newborns sleep, you don't need to worry too much about noise. After all, when they are asleep, your baby hears sounds like blood flowing through arteries and rumblings in the womb, making it more comforting for them as it is similar to what they would experience in the womb.
While babies may wake up easily during daytime naps, they can go back to sleep even when there is noise, especially during the hours before going to bed at night. If your baby is used to the typical noises at home, they will sleep through them.
Putting babies to bed late means they are overtired, causing the body to release stress hormones. Babies who are overtired during the day will enter a sleepless state at night, making it harder to fall asleep and waking up more often. So instead of going to bed late and waking up late, it's better to put your baby to bed earlier to have better control over the sleep schedule.
If you want your baby to wake up later, letting your baby go to sleep earlier can help your baby sleep more. By the time your baby is 6 months old, as their circadian rhythm develops, their sleep pattern will be more similar to an adult, sleeping mostly at night, and being awake for a longer time during the day.
Don't ignore your baby's loud snoring and excessive breathing, as this could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. The pauses in their breathing could indicate sleep apnea, and could lead to other developmental problems in the future.
It's normal to hear your baby making some sounds occasionally while they sleep, but loud and consistent snoring is something to watch out for. Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby's snoring.
Some babies may need constant soothing to get back to sleep when they wake up at night, which in turn becomes a habit. This may happen every 45 minutes to 90 minutes at night, and this can be tiring for parents, which is why some parents use the "cry it out" method to let the baby learn to self-soothe and fall asleep naturally.
Actually, you don't need to let your little ones cry themselves to sleep. In addition to breastfeeding, you can also use various soothing methods to help them fall asleep. After age 3, they will know how to fall asleep naturally.