Sleeping Patterns | Emma's Diary India

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Sleeping patterns

Sleeping Patterns
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Sleep patterns you can expect from your baby during their first year

No two babies sleep patterns are identical – some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Here we look at the average amount of sleep a baby has. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t fit into the pattern we describe – it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with your baby or that you are doing something wrong. Our tips will help you to encourage good sleeping habits.

Newborn to three months

Newborns sleep a lot. This can be anything up to 18 hours a day for the first few weeks, reducing to around 15 hours by the third month. Unfortunately, this is not all at once but usually in bouts of three or four hours. Your newborn probably won’t be able to stay awake for longer than a couple of hours at a time.

By six to eight weeks, you may notice that your baby is beginning to sleep for shorter spells during the day and for longer during the night. If you are lucky, they might be sleeping through by as young as eight weeks but it’s more likely that they won’t reach this milestone until five or six months.

How you can help

  • Spot when they are getting tired. Look out for them rubbing their eyes or pulling on their ears or for faint dark circles under their eyes.
  • Show them the difference between day and night. You can start doing this from two weeks onwards by chatting and playing with them during the day and keeping the room light and bright. Don’t cut out everyday noises such as washing machines. At night, keep the lighting subdued and avoid talking to your baby or making eye contact during the night feeds.
  • From around six to eight weeks you can start to teach them to fall asleep on their own by putting them down when they are sleepy but still awake.

Three to six months

By three or four months, most babies are sleeping more at night than during the day. During the day, your baby will probably be having three naps, dropping to two at around six months. At the beginning of this stage, they are likely to need a feed at least once in the night. This will gradually drop off as they become physically capable of sleeping through the whole night.

How you can help

  • Begin to establish regular times for sleep. Aim for a consistent naptime in the morning and afternoon and a regular bedtime at night. If possible make this between 7pm and 8.30pm. Later than this and there is a danger she could get overtired.
  • Develop a bedtime routine and try to follow it every night so your baby begins to recognise it. This can be a quiet game, followed by a bath, nappy change and pyjamas, a bedtime story or lullaby, then a final kiss goodnight.

Six to nine months

By this age, your baby may go for as long as seven hours at a time. They will probably have settled into having one nap in the morning and one in the afternoon, these may be as long as two hours.

How you can help

  • Follow a regular bedtime routine. Babies thrive on consistency.
  • Teach your baby to fall asleep by themself. Put your baby down while sleepy and avoid making them dependent on rocking or breastfeeding to fall asleep. If your baby cries, it is okay to leave them for a short time to see if they fall asleep. You will be able to work out if the cry is tiredness or real distress

Nine to twelve months

By this time, your baby is probably sleeping from between 10 and 12 hours during the night and having a nap twice a day.

How you can help

  • Follow a regular bedtime routine. Try to keep things like naps, feeds and bedtime to around the same time every day.
  • Encourage your baby to fall asleep by themself. Put your baby down while sleepy and avoid making them dependent on you to fall asleep.
  • You should never put your baby down to sleep with a bottle because of the risk of choking. This has also been shown to rot the teeth and is a habit which is very difficult to break.

Every new parent is worried about cot death – but thankfully it happens very rarely. Make sure you reduce the risk by following these baby sleeping safety safety tips.

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