Every baby`s sleep pattern is different. While some babies quickly learn to sleep through the night, others take a lot longer to get used to it. A good indication of how your baby will sleep can be learnt from the baby`s sleep patterns in the womb, but some babies are quite simply unpredictable. Generally speaking, after six months the baby should be getting into a routine and sleeping throughout the night. Newborn babies won`t be sleeping through the night for a few months as they spend between fifteen and eighteen hours of the day asleep and usually in two or three hour bursts. This sleep pattern is essential to help the baby to grow and develop, but after a while the daytime naps will shorten and the night time ones will lengthen. Until that point the parents have to adapt their routine to the baby`s sleep pattern.
Although the baby has to learn to go to sleep on its own there are a few helpful things that parents can do to ease the baby into this process. This useful list of dos and don`ts outlines some of these hints.
Don`t make any loud noises or cause excitement at bedtime or nap times.
Don`t feed them during the night or they will come to depend on feeding to fall asleep. Obviously when the baby is newborn night time feeds are necessary.
Don`t let the baby stay awake too late or they will become over-tired, which can lead to sleep problems.
Do give the baby a comfort blanket or toy that smells of the mother. If the baby wakes in the night and misses the mother this will reassure them that they are not alone.
Do share the sleeping duties with your partner, so that the baby gets used to both styles and can sleep comfortably when one partner is away.
Do cuddle the baby and lie still with them until they sleep, if the baby is still sleeping in the mother`s bed. This will encourage them to sleep.
Creating a definite routine and early bedtimes is essential to providing the baby with a secure structure to help them sleep throughout the night. Some babies find it a great deal harder than others, but providing they feel safe and secure and do not feel alone they should eventually learn to sleep comfortably. However, if you suspect that there is a more serious underlying problem relating to your baby`s sleep patterns it is recommended that the advice of a GP is sought.