Many new parents underestimate the amount of sleep their babies need.
Full-term babies need around 16 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, 3-month-olds need about 13 hours, and 6-month-olds need about 12 and half hours.
By three month of age, most babies begin to fall into predictable sleep patterns that consist of two longer naps and a late afternoon cat nap per day totaling around 4-6 hours of daytime sleep and about 7-9 hours of nighttime sleep.
Parents who have babies that consistently sleep for brief periods, both day and night may wonder how getting their baby to sleep longer is possible.
Here is how:
Utilize white noise. Babies are used to hearing noise. In utero, babies are bombarded with sound. When born in a hospital, babies are welcomed into a noisy world. The monotonous, repetitive sounds that come from white noise machines, air conditioners and fans bring comfort to babies and help lull them to sleep because they mimic the noises that were heard in the womb.
Swaddle snugly. Swaddling helps avoid arm and leg jerking (startle reflex) that can wake your baby from a sound sleep. Swaddling also recreates the snug, warm, familiar sensations that she felt in the womb. Babies who are swaddled also begin to associate being swaddled with sleep. If you’re not able to successfully swaddle using a receiving blanket, invest in a Miracle Blanket or similar swaddle aid.
Maintain a cool room temperature. A consistent room temperature of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for sleep. Babies who are too hot or too cold won’t sleep well. Using the GroEgg can help you maintain and monitor room temperature.
Keep the room dark. Invest in room darkening shades. Doing so will prevent your baby from becoming conditioned to wake at the first sign of sunlight.
Avoid holding your baby when she’s sleeping. When your baby is drowsy, but still awake, put her in her sleep space. Consistently holding your baby while she sleeps will teach her to fall and stay asleep in your arms.
Establishing healthy sleep habits from the get go ensures that your baby gets the sleep she needs to grow and develop on track.
Is your baby a solid sleeper? Have you tried these tips? Share your experience in the comments below.