Understanding Sleep Pattern of Babies

sleep pattern of babies

Every baby has a unique sleep pattern. A few babies let their parents relax by taking naps for 2 or more hours at a stretch. A few would wake up every hour. Even the sleep patterns during the night vary a lot. A few babies sleep at a stretch, while few of them wake up frequently, even after being fed full. It is necessary to understand that the sleep pattern of babies tends to change hugely during the first year of their birth. Unlike adults, babies have active sleep a lot. Adults have a quiet sleep. Active sleep is a stage where the eyes move under the lids, and shallow breathing happens. It is easy to wake up someone during active sleep. Get to know the sleep pattern of babies of different age groups here.

From birth to 3 months

  • The sleep cycle of the newborn cannot be predicted for the first few days. They sleep almost every day, on and off.
  • The total sleep hours can be around 8 to 18 hours per day.
  • As their feeding frequency is higher, and diaper changes are required often, their sleep duration is lesser. Half of the sleep hours go inactive sleep mode, and they are light sleepers.
  • Only when they reach 6 weeks, do they learn the concept of day and night. And they do not know to sleep during dark hours.
  • You can help them to have a proper night’s sleep, by playing only during the day and having mild lights on during the nights. A quiet environment also is required for the infants to sleep during the night.

From 3 months to 6 months

understanding sleep pattern of babies

  • This is the stage where babies can sleep up to 2 hours at a stretch during the day.
  • A few lucky parents can see their babies sleeping through 8 hours a day. The total sleep throughout the day can be around 15 hours.
  • This stage brings down the active sleep hours, and the babies start having more quiet sleep hours.
  • However, you cannot expect them to sleep through the night. They might wake up once or twice, at the minimum, during the night for feeding or diaper change.

From 6 months to 1 year

  • Babies start having adult-like sleeping patterns from now on. They sleep around 13 hours a day. And the night sleep hours can be somewhere around 8 to the maximum of 11 hours.
  • The nap time during the day may be twice, and not more than that. Also, the nap duration can be between 1 to 2 hours.
  • As the feeding frequency would have decreased a lot during the night, the babies do not get up often during the night. A few might wake up once or twice, and need to be settled down to sleep. However, a few babies still might get up more than twice.
  • This is the stage where babies will need to be close to their parents or caretaker. They are scared the parent or caretaker would move off when they sleep, and that is the reason they take time to fall asleep.
  • You can start practicing day and night sleep routines. This helps in bringing in a proper sleep schedule for your babies.

Babies above one year

The babies sleep longer without waking up during the night when they reach their first birthday. They also take a nap once during the day. The nighttime sleep can be around 8 to 12 hours.

Remember: Understanding the sleep pattern of your baby is vital as the quality of sleep determines the health and growth of the baby to a great extent. If your baby has erratic sleep cycles, consult your pediatrician.