Infant Sleep: Overcoming Preconceptions
– Infant: when will he sleep through the night?
– Sleep duration:
– Rhythm and cycle: independent of the mother
– Infant nap: indistinct from night sleep
Parents tend to worry when a child takes a long time to sleep through the night. This goal of getting their baby to sleep through the night as quickly as possible is not really a goal: in the end, the parents’ lack of sleep motivates this desire!
Infant: when will he sleep through the night?
The infant will generally sleep through the night around 3-4 months when his appetite has been regulated.
If a child wakes up at night at 8-9 months, you should try to understand why, but not before.
While an adult will generally have their sleep count after 8 hours, the need is different for different ages of children:
– from 0 to 3 months: 16 to 17 hours are needed;
– from 3 months to 1 year: 15 hours.
Infants, therefore, have a great need for sleep. However, they do not yet have a truly regular rhythm, which is what bothers parents who would like to be able to sleep more than 3 hours in a row!
Rhythm and cycle: independent of the mother
If we can sometimes observe a correlation between the sleep of the mother and that of her child, no study has yet proven this link.
For the balance of her child and to help him find a rhythm, the regularity of bedtime and wake-up time is important. The best thing to do is to find the time your child falls asleep spontaneously and choose that as his bedtime.
Avoid too much variation: occasionally, some flexibility is possible on the evenings of parties, family gatherings, etc.
One of the particularities of toddler sleep is the presence of physiological micro-awakenings lasting 1 to 10 minutes after each sleep cycle:
– During these micro-awakenings, it is better not to intervene.
– The child will get used to going back to sleep on his own.
If the awakening lasts more than 10 minutes and the crying persists, it is necessary to understand the reason and solve the problem: it is no longer a micro-awakening.
Good to know: according to a study, from the point of view of the child’s sleep, sleeping in a single room after 6 months seems “healthier”. In this context, the child falls asleep more easily alone, sleeps longer, and wakes up less often at night.
Infant nap: indistinct from night sleep
Contrary to what parents think, napping helps children fall asleep at night. Naps count towards the total amount of sleep a child needs. Unlike an adult nap, where the body is awake for about 20 minutes, an infant’s nap is an important part of his or her overall sleep.
A nap should last as long as necessary: the ideal is to let the child wake up alone or to help him/her with light ambient noises.
– Up to 6 months, the child often needs three naps: one in the late morning and two in the afternoon.
– From 9 to 12 months, the late afternoon nap is unnecessary.
– From 15 to 18 months of age, the child often takes only one nap in the early afternoon.
Naps are often necessary until the age of 4 years.
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