All new parents want to know when they can expect their baby to sleep through the night. The answer may not surprise you, but it probably won't make you happy either. Newborns are expected to sleep up to 18 hours out of every 24--so why am I still tired? Because they don't sleep in long chunks of time.
Parents are often asked if their baby is a "good baby." All babies are "good babies," but what's typically meant by the question is, "Does the baby sleep through the night?" Depending on how old your baby is, you may be asking too much of him and yourself to expect him to sleep through the night. Babies awaken for several reasons--they need warmth, company, they're frightened, or they need to eat. Newborns can be expected to eat anywhere from every 3 hours to every hour. Their feeding schedule has a lot to do with their sleeping schedule in the beginning.
By the time a baby reaches 6 months of age, her need for night time feedings decreases. As that decreases, her ability to sleep through the night will improve. The National Sleep Foundation reports that around 70 to 80 percent of babies will sleep through the night by nine months. Babies usually need 9 to 12 hours of sleep during the night time hours and take one to four naps a day that are 30 minutes to 2 hours long. These naps will decrease as they reach age one.
Sleep is an important part of health and wellness. When baby isn't sleeping, no one else is sleeping. Parents need to be realistic about a baby's ability to sleep through the night--some will take a year or longer before that happens. Parents and caregivers should try and find ways to accommodate baby's erratic schedule--take naps themselves during the daytime, take turns getting up at night, or ask others for help.
Trying to get a baby to sleep can be one of the most challenging and exhausting tasks of parenthood. Following these simple tips may help baby to drift off to the land of nod sooner. Moms, dads and caregivers should develop regular daytime and nighttime schedules. The bedtime routine should be consistent and enjoyable for baby--a warm bath, singing and rocking and reading a book--to cue her that it's time for sleep. Work with your baby on falling asleep independently. Put him to sleep when he is drowsy but not yet asleep so that he can soothe himself into slumber. If you put a baby to sleep completely and then lay him down, he won't know how to soothe himself back to sleep again if he wakes up, and he'll need your help.
Eventually, your baby will sleep through the night. She might be a toddler or even a big kid, but there will come a time when your sleep is not disrupted by your little one. In the meantime, try to sleep when you can and ask for help when you need it.
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