Is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby? I think not. But that is as long as they are sleeping. Babies are notorious for being wide awake and ready to go at night time and ready to rest and sleep during the day. This would be fine if the rest of the world operated like this. But it doesn't. So what exactly does a baby sleep pattern look like?
How is a Baby's Sleep Pattern Different than an Adult's?
Yes, babies sleep a lot, especially newborns. Your new baby will sleep about 16 to 18 hours a day. Unfortunately, this is not during the typical hours of 6pm and 8am. A baby's sleep pattern is much shorter than an adult's and this is why babies continually wake. When an adult wakes from sleep they roll over and go back to sleep, this is not so easy for a baby. A baby has not yet learned how to go back to sleep. It seems odd that this is a learned behavior, but it's true. Until your new baby learns how to fall back to sleep, he or she will rely on you to help them get back to sleep.
A baby sleep pattern also has double the amount of light sleep cycles than an adult's. For the sleep deprived adult desperately trying everything to lull their precious bundle to sleep, this can be excruciating. Because of the many light sleep cycles, babies wake up very easily. You've rocked, cuddled and finally little Jr. nods off. You slip off to the nursery and just as Jr. touches the mattress he wakes up! Back to the rocking chair! Understanding this aspect of a baby sleep pattern will at least help you keep your patience, if not anything else.
How Can I Help my Baby Sleep Better?
Naturally, as a newborn matures, so will the baby's sleep pattern. Ideally, by the time baby reaches 7-12 weeks, a regular sleep pattern will have been established. And hopefully, this will be between the hours of 10 pm – 7 am. New parents can hang onto the hope that by the time baby is 6 months old, your baby's sleep pattern will include up to 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
If baby is fussy, make sure that the diaper is clean, that he or she is well fed and just the right temperature. Since crying is the only means of communication, a fussy baby could have one of many things wrong. A comfortable baby is more likely to fall asleep. If his or her face is red or if the hair is damp, baby is too warm. No one is comfortable when he or she is too warm and this includes babies. Just remove a blanket or turn down the heat and watch as your baby's sleep pattern comes naturally.