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People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
- Leo J. Burke
Caring for a baby is not an easy task. Well, all they actually do is eat, poop, and sleep. But they do that a lot! That is why it's kinda hard. So yeah, you need lots of patience. Parents don't mind doing anything for their little bundle of joy, but understanding some facts about baby sleep will help you do it better and in a smarter way.
Baby Sleep Facts
Babies take around 20 minutes to reach deep sleep
Many people wonder why babies get up and start crying as soon as you put them down to sleep. That is because they are still in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Most babies take around 20 minutes to enter deep sleep. Their breathing slows down and their eyes stop fluttering. This is the best time to put them to sleep.
Babies sleep light to wake up easily when hungry
Most parents just wait for the day their little one will sleep throughout the night. But, there's a reason babies wake up at night. Babies have tiny tummies and need to be fed periodically. They sleep light so that they can wake up easily when hungry or uncomfortable. Basically, night wakings are a survival mechanism for babies.
Infant sleep cycles last for around 50 - 60 minutes
Infant sleep cycles are different than adult sleep cycles. Babies spend most of their sleep time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep as their cycles are of less than an hour. Every hour they enter light sleep and are vulnerable to waking up. Their breathing becomes irregular and their eyes start fluttering in this phase. Singing a lullaby, or simply soothing them by keeping a hand on their back can help them go back to deep sleep.
Babies need a lot of sleep
Babies love to sleep! Infants don't understand night and day. Hence, they don't have a fixed sleep-wake cycle like adults. Most newborn babies sleep for 16 - 19 hours each day. As they grow, the time decreases. Most babies wake at least 2 to 3 times during the night for feeding. Keeping the baby awake during the day to make her sleep better at night is not a good idea as she will feel tired and take time to sleep. A well-rested baby sleeps better at night.
Every baby is different
All moms have varied opinions about their babies and their sleeping patterns. That shouldn't be a surprise as all babies are different, and so are their sleep schedules. Some babies take more time to get into a sleep routine. Some start sleeping for longer stretches earlier than others. Don't compare your little one with the other babies as each one takes her/his own sweet time.
Sleep is very important for the development of the baby's brain
During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, blood flow to the brain increases tremendously. Nerve proteins that help learning are also produced. Hence, sleep plays a major part in memory retention and brain growth. During this phase, all the unnecessary information is discarded from the brain and what is important is stored properly. The brain grows nearly 70% in the first two years of an individual's life, which explains why babies sleep more.
It takes 3 - 6 months to settle into a sleep routine
Most parents are sleep deprived after the birth of their child. Babies wake up a lot at night, and parents wait for the day their dearest will sleep throughout the night. It may take anywhere from 4 to 6 months for infants to get into a sleep routine. Some may get into it sooner, while others may take too much time. The only rule is, don't try to force anything. The baby will naturally start developing sleep patterns, and will start sleeping for more time at a stretch.