How Much Sleep Your Baby Needs During the Day
While getting a sleep routine down pat can be difficult, it is vital to both the wellbeing of your baby and even yourself. Put simply, babies need sleep for proper growth and development, and we NEED them to sleep to give ourselves a break from the constant attention babies demand.
Up until about nine months of age, babies will require around three hours of daytime sleep usually consisting of two naps. The morning sleep tends to be the longer of the two and should be around a couple of hours, with the afternoon more of a catnap. Once babies pass that nine months, it is around this time that they start to require less sleep. The morning nap may become shorter or may vanish completely with bub now relying on a nap later in the day. Then, between the ages of three to five, you should be seeing daytime naps disappear altogether.
Two most common sleep mistakes
Two areas where parents tend to slip up is not providing baby with a consistent daytime place to sleep. One day it’s in the car, the next the pram, the next the cot, the next on your lap at a friends house. By 9 months babies need consistent sleep signals just as we do. Think about it. You have sleep signals in place. Some of us like to watch TV falling asleep, some reading, some of us have a shower at night before bed. There are certain things that lead us to sleep. Babies need this too. And while it may not be a shower or TV, it may be that toy, book or song.
The other slip-up is when we let babies get too tired, so tired that it makes it difficult for them to soothe themselves to sleep. We need to be on the lookout for signs that our baby is ready for bed. These may include rubbing the eyes, whinging, yawning, putting their head in your chest when you hold them. Each baby has their own signals, and learning what your babies are will alert you to their need to go down before they are overtired making it more difficult to get to sleep.
There are many baby sleep methods out there to guide you. The reason for this is that parents report that different methods work for different babies. Just go to any baby sleep message board and you will see mums recommending certain methods and reporting that they tried others that didn’t work. With any method it is important to give it time. It can be a minimum of two weeks using certain strategies before your baby starts responding. Different methods include Shush-pat, Controlled Crying, No-cry Sleep Solution and many more all claiming to have the answers.
Whatever strategies each of these method suggests, you have a great chance for success should you keep the following in mind. With just these core basics to babies and sleep, you should be well on your way to a sleeping bub.
- A sleep routine in place
- Consistency of a sleep space
- A calm period before sleep
- Putting baby down before overtired
- Keeping in mind the long term aim is to get baby to self-sooth
- A positive sleep attitude from you
- An understanding of how much sleep your baby needs
While there are devices that allow you to hear baby, seeing baby in the cot was for me worth its weight in gold. It gave me the opportunity to give my baby self-soothing opportunities rather than me feeling anxious about what was happening behind that door. I could see the difference between “I need you now” and “I’m just working on this getting myself off to sleep thing”. The baby camera was pure gold, pure gold.
When you feel like nothing is working…
There is help out there at differing levels. Organisations such as Karitane can provide you with support over the phone, or their residential stays where you and baby sleep overnight at their facility to undergo sleep training. For more information you can contact them on 1300227464 or visit their website.
By Danielle Mantakoul