For every new parent caring for the newborn is a tiring experience, especially because of the erratic sleep pattern of the infant. It is difficult for the mom to enjoy an uninterrupted sleep through the night.
Your baby might suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, forcing you to break your slumber. It might take about four to six months for your baby to develop a regular sleeping habit.
Normal sleep pattern of newborns
Sometimes parents try to sleep train the infant. However, until your baby is four to six month’s old, the infant’s brain is not mature enough to develop a normal sleeping habit. Until this time, sleep training will not work for your child. A newborn usually sleeps for up to three to four hours at a stretch.
Throughout the day, the infant might require 16 hours of sleep. The short span of sleep helps the mom to breastfeed the infant frequently. Your newborn’s stomach cannot hold breast milk for a long time. The baby should be nursed every three to four hours. When your child is 6 weeks to 2 months old, he would tend to sleep more in the night and less during the day. As the child develops, she/he begins to experience longer periods of non-REM or deep sleep periods.
Developing sleeping habit
As your child grows, you can help your child to distinguish day from night. During the day when your child is awake, interact with him. Playing with the baby and trying to keep him awake after feeding in the day, might help to regulate the infant’s sleeping habit. In night, avoid playing and talking with your child. Reduce the brightness of the light. The child might soon realize that night is a boring time, and might even consider falling asleep when it is dark. Following a regular bedtime ritual, such as patting, rocking and stroking the baby and singing lullabies, could help the baby to fall asleep.
Allow the baby to fall asleep on his own
Sometimes pediatricians suggest that allowing the child to fall asleep on his own could help the baby to develop an independent sleep pattern. When your baby is sleepy but still awake, simply put him down on the bed and allow him to sleep on his own.