Whoever came up with the phrase sleeping like a baby, sure wasn't a baby.
Every infant is different when it comes to their snooze cycle and while some sleep soundly through the night, others are awake like clockwork. Parents are told throughout their entire pregnancy to stock up on all the sleep they can get while they can, but getting some sleep when your baby arrives isn't impossible, it just requires a little extra strategy.
Did you know that newborns spend more time in the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep than adults do?
Experts believe this is because there's so much at work in your baby's mind as they're developing, the exposure to so many new experiences at once can literally keep them awake at night. Knowing that this is a stage of development, working toward the next milestone can give parents some confidence and security knowing they're on the right path.
This REM sleep will get shorter and shorter as the brain advances, development continues and your baby is more comfortable and aware of the world around them. Between 4 and 6 months, infants are usually capable of sleeping for a longer 8-12 hour time span without any nighttime interruptions for their parents.
One of the reasons that newborns have difficulty staying asleep for long periods of time is their inability to distinguish night from day. Our bodies naturally produce hormones to make us tired at night and more alert during the day time. Helping your infant develop circadian rhythm will often make sleep training easier as they reach their 6 month milestone of sleeping more soundly through the night.
To get this rhythm rollin,' parents should exaggerate night and day. In the morning, their nursery should be light, bright, playful and noisy. Play with them and wake them up if they start to doze during their feedings. When it's time to settle down for bed, keep the lights low, sounds quiet and resist the urge to play with them if they wake during the night.
Before long, your baby will be producing tons of natural melatonin to help them sleep and parents will be able to enjoy longer stretches of beauty rest.
Babies aren't born with bad bedtime habits, they just don't have any habits yet of their own.
Nourishing the behavior and habits that encourage more restful sleep in your infant can better help their sleep patterns sync with their developmental milestones. Don't be frustrated if you've got a miniature insomniac on your hands because patience and practice goes a long way.
Though it may not seem like it, your baby is tired too! Help your little one get on board with better sleep rituals to bring a little peace back to bedtime.