Every person and likewise every child has their own personal sleep rhythm. But while adults can estimate their sleep needs relatively well, newborns, in particular, do not yet have a day-night sense in the first few weeks. Unfortunately, the possibilities for parents to influence this rhythm are quite meager.
Of course, moms and dads can support their child in its development – but the effectiveness of their efforts is initially determined by the child. However, while some babies have a kind of inner urge for regularity, others need help from mom and da to satisfy their nutritional and sleep needs. A calm and constant daily routine with fixed mealtimes, bedtimes, bath times and other rituals is of fundamental importance, as this has a calming effect on the child. However, parents need to be careful not to put their child at a disadvantage in the long term condition. The following advice should help you to do everything right when it comes to baby sleep.
1. How Much Sleep Does My Newborn Need?
After birth, every infant initially retains its sleep rhythm from the womb – that is, day and night do not matter to it per se. In the first few weeks of life, a baby will sleep on average up to about 18 hours a day (some need 20, others only 13) – usually in 4-hour segments. Don’t worry, once your baby is three months old, you’ll be able to teach him or her asleep routine and bedtime rituals. It is therefore advisable to introduce fixed sleep times for the evening and for daytime naps from the third or fourth month of life because the newborn is now gradually learning to distinguish between day and night. The individual sleep periods and the baby’s waking phases also gradually become longer. By the time your baby is six months old, he or she can usually sleep through the night. From this point on, fixed sleeping and eating times should already have been firmly established and fit the baby’s sleep needs. Good to know: At six to twelve months, most babies sleep a total of about 14 hours.
2. How Do I Improve My Infant’s Sleep?
Regardless of how old your child is, the signs of tiredness are similar. Kids get restless, yawn, or rub their eyes. Be careful not to cross this fatigue point! If it’s missed, your child is sure to rev up before he or she can find rest again. Here’s a checklist to see if you should change anything about your baby’s sleeping habits.
3. How Should My Child Be Dressed At Night?
Many parents tend to dress their children too thick rather than too thin. Caution is advised here: If the child is too cold, you can be sure that he will complain loudly. However, if the little one is too warm, he or she will usually just continue to sleep, which creates the risk of overheating and can lead to a dangerous buildup of heat. Excessive heat can quickly become unbearable for a newborn, as sweating is still barely developed. Hyperthermia is considered by doctors to be a significant safety risk for babies under one year of age. Watch out for it! Furthermore, the ideal room temperature for newborns and infants to sleep in is between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Accordingly, you should also adopt the baby’s nightwear to the different sleeping temperatures!