There are some things in the world that we want to affect children’s sleep: At the same time, sleeping at night is a new evolutionary development, even for adults, so we expect it to be useless for the little ones.
With a newborn, it’s easy to eat and sleep – I thought before my first child was born, not by accident. When a desperate and tired baby parent turns to the internet with questions, he or she will stumble upon one of the charts
ACCORDING TO THIS, AN INFANT ROARS FOR UP TO 18 HOURS UNTIL THE AGE OF SIX WEEKS.
At the same time, there is a good chance that the child will be sleeping through the night from the age of a few months – or if not, there is a problem. From here we can get into a downward spiral, which can include sleep training or switching to an infant who is otherwise completely satisfied with breast milk in the belief that there is little milk for her. It would be much easier if we all knew what science knows about infants sleeping, but most mothers still don’t.
The amount of sleep in babies varies greatly
It is not at all new that we want to know in hours how much sleep our child needs to develop healthily: the recommendation was made in the late 19th century when 22 hours of sleep was considered healthy. This amount is steadily declining but is still higher than the average sleep for babies, which can be daunting for practicing but novice parents. Sleep deprivation is also associated with the chance of developing ADHD, lower cognitive abilities, cardiometabolic risk factors, and more difficult coping in life.
However, fewer know that these dangers are true for school-age children and their sleep, the relationship so far not being causal but correlative. In reality, just as there are better and worse sleepers among adults, so is it for babies: sleeping 11 hours a day until they are three is as satisfying as 19. According to an Australian study, babies younger than three months sleep an average of 14 hours, but the difference between the values measured in the smallest and most sleeping babies is not less than eight hours.
The date of laying was not engraved in stone either
The myth of regularity can also cause difficult moments for the parents of the youngest. Twelve hours of rest at night and three to four days of sleep: that’s pretty much what most babies expect while
FROM 8 TO 11 WEEKS OF AGE, BABIES DO NOT DEVELOP THE PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS THAT MAKE US RELAX IN THE DARK AND DURING THE DAY.
Those who do not strictly lay their babies at seven in the evening may read with concern the findings that research leads to obesity and poorer school performance if someone goes to bed late – and again, this is only true if the child is in school. There is no laying date engraved in stone for babies.
Sleeping during the day can delay the time you go to bed in the evening, and if you want to put your child to sleep when he or she is not ready to do so, he or she will struggle with various avoidance mechanisms. If we want to lay down a child early who doesn’t need 12 hours of sleep at night, it can happen to get up in the middle of the night and stay awake for hours. Adapting more flexibly to a child’s needs, as well as feeding them, will lead to a more satisfied child and ultimately a more satisfied parent. To know exactly what a child needs is enough to observe their behavior: if they are satisfied and happy, it is okay not to sleep for 12 hours at night, uninterrupted.
The myth of a sleepy night
The myth of a sleepy night also makes the lives of many families bitter – and in addition, it can even risk an infant’s life. We all wake up between our sleep cycles, but when the conditions around us are soothing, we immediately fall back asleep and don’t even remember the whole thing. Adults, however, have 90-minute sleep cycles, while infants are half as old – and their conditions are rarely ideal when waking up. Neurologically underdeveloped babies need a lot of energy to develop, and for that they need food. Tiny stomachs in newborns only aggravate this situation. According to a Finnish study, a three-month-old child can get up to 15 times a night– and breastfeeding advisers say it is completely healthy even after the age of six months for a baby to wake up to get breast milk.
Of course, it is not only because of food that babies wake up: they may also have other needs that they always rely on their parents. Surprisingly, according to one study, the number of nocturnal awakenings does not decrease in the first year of life, only the caregiver responds less – that is, there is no sleep regression, only a change in parental behavior.
For babies, waking up at night is also an important weapon against cot death, one of the reasons for which may be a too-deep sleep. This also means that conditioning your baby too early to not wake up at night increases the risk of SIDS.
It doesn’t matter who we ask for advice
Knowing all of this, it’s hard to set a lens when there’s really some sort of problem with a baby’s sleep. Experts say the best indicator is if the parent feels there is a problem: then there really is really some problem. Even in such cases, it is worth paying attention to who we are asking for advice from, as many “professionals” who call themselves baby sleep experts do not have any qualifications to call themselves that.
It is also certain that we do not decide, based on the opinion of a neighbor or a friend, whether it is wrong the way and how much our child sleeps. Many people’s ideas are not based on biology but on culture – this is how sleeping together has become surprising, which was a fundamental solution until the Industrial Revolution, as without heating it was a guarantee that babies would not suffer during the night. Sleeping in a separate bed, possibly in a separate room, is a modern development that goes against what the nature of babies dictates. Mayan mothers call it “ cruel” to “push” babies into a separate bed.