Sleep Patterns in Infants
We often hear the horror stories of new parents—sleep deprived, begrudgingly throwing off the covers to walk into the next room as their bundle of joy is, well, not so joyous. Believe it or not, many of these parents were not properly informed about newborn babies and sleep. Many take the advice of friends, relatives, and everyone in the world except a professional—oftentimes receiving mixed messages and unfounded advice. The good news is, however, that there is help to be found and information that will help you understand the workings of the newborn sleep schedule. This way, you’ll know what to expect, and how to adapt to it.
Expect the Unexpected
First and foremost, understand that even though these are some practical tips, that no two babies are the same. Some newborns will have an incredibly predictable sleep schedule, and some will be completely erratic. Which it will be will depend entirely on your baby’s health and atmosphere. Regardless of what your baby’s schedule is, however, expect to get up over and over during the course of the night. Babies will not sleep through the night consistently until they’re into their toddler years. Understand, too, that no amount of irritation or frustration will keep this from happening—so make it as easy on you as possible.
Know Your Baby’s Biology
Sleep is a very natural part of life, growth, and development. Your baby will need lots of it, but will only take it at his or her leisure. The fact of the matter is that your baby, too, will need to eat—and rather frequently due to an infant sized tummy and the fact that baby formula and breast milk both digest very quickly. When that little stomach gets empty, your baby will want to drink, and will get very grumpy—causing him or her to wake up continuously throughout the night. The trick here is to get things done quickly. The faster your baby gets food, the faster they will want to go back into a lull. Many babies wont even completely wake up during this whole process if done correctly, thus making it incredibly easy to get them back to sleep.
Know Your Baby’s Signs
Your baby will start showing signs of sleepiness—be it yawning, or just getting fussy. Learn how to read these signs, and strike at the opportunity to get them to sleep right as they are demonstrating them. This will keep your baby healthier, and the crying to a minimum. Also, learn to tell the difference between hungry cries, and sleeping noises that your baby may be making at night. They oftentimes do as they sleep, and it can often be mistaken for cries for food. Get to know your baby, and make sure he or she is on a schedule, following it as closely as the angel will allow you. Routine can be a beautiful thing, it just takes time.
Make sure to be patient during this whole process. It can be incredibly frustrating, but it only gets better with time. After a few weeks you should get to know your baby’s signs and routine, and you’ll be better prepared for what to expect each night when you try to get your beauty rest.
Sarah Danielson writes for Health Testing Centers where you can find direct access to health testing and information on blood testing and STD testing.