Infant Sleep Demystified

Infant Sleep Demystified

There is a pretty famous saying “I want to sleep like a baby.”  Here is my question to anyone that says that phrase:”Why would you want to do that?!”

Yes, I know that some babies that do sleep well. This made me envious when my son was up like clockwork every 90 minutes for the first 4 months of his life.  He would wake up and require a feed.  After he was fed he had to remain upright for a minimum 20 minutes to prevent him from throwing up. (Gotta love acid reflux.) Then he was placed in the bassinet already asleep.  90 minutes later, rinse and repeat the previous sentence. I was exhausted!

When people would hear about my son’s nights they would encourage me to sleep when he slept during the day.  My son would nap for 20 minutes several times a day.  I needed more than 20 minutes. On the lucky days, I would get one nap that lasted at least an hour and a half. There were many days that my husband would walk in the door from work and he would be handed his son.

My son’s sleep did improve as I began to learn more about infant sleep and then I taught him how to go to sleep on his own.  I strongly believe that we can help develop good sleep patterns with children but it does take patience and understanding.

While doing my research, I needed patience as well.  I found lots of conflicting information.  So I am writing this with the intent to give you some information that I found helpful.

Here are some common questions I get asked and points that I believe will help you understand why your child is sleeping the way they are and things you can do to help.

1.  Why has my child’s sleep changed so much?

  • At about 3 to 4 months of age, an infant will go through 2 stages of sleep (newborn sleep cycle) to 5 stages of sleep (regular stages of sleep).
  • Developmental milestones will affect a child’s sleep.  Developmental Milestones can be times of celebration and frustration as they often affect a child’s sleep.  Some milestones that often affect sleep are as follows: rolling over, sitting up, standing up, crawling or walking.  When your child wakes up in the night they may try to practice their new found skill. Here is a blog post that explains this further

2.  Why does my child wake up every 45 to 90 minutes?

  • Everyone wakes up several times a night when they have completed a sleep cycle (the stages of sleep).
  • Children that depend on a prop to go to sleep will not be able to easily go back to sleep until they learn the art of falling asleep without a prop. Here is a previous post that will help you identify a sleep prop
  • Overtired children will wake up more often through the night.

Sleep Consultant3.  What can I do to improve my baby’s ability to sleep?

  • Reduce your child’s dependency on a sleep prop by removing the prop or moving it to a different time in their sleep routine.
  • Babies need to feed, so I recommend keeping baby awake while feeding then placing them in their sleep environment to fall asleep.
  • A clear consistent routine helps an infant recognize that it is time for sleep.
  • An early bedtime to prevent a child from becoming overtired.
  • Daytime sleep helps prevent a child from becoming overtired which makes bedtime easier.
  • A dark room helps increase the amount of melatonin a child produces which prepares them for sleep.

I hope this information was helpful and gave you some reasons as to why your infant may not sleep as well as you would like.

If you require any further help, you can book a free 15-minute telephone consultation and speak with me directly.  Together we can improve your child’s sleep.  Simply click on the following link to book your free call with me