The evolution of baby’s sleep, month after month

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The arrival of a baby turns the daily life of parents upside down, starting with their sleep. It is that a newborn has a rhythm of its own that must be understood.

That’s it, after nine months of pregnancy, giving birth and a few days in the maternity ward, you finally come home with your baby in your arms. A very exciting moment, which harbors certain challenges, including that of sleep. All young parents know it: the first weeks are usually complicated at night time.

The sleep of a newborn

A baby does not have the same rhythm as a child or an adult: during his first weeks of life, he needs to sleep almost 16 hours a day (sometimes more!). Awakenings generally coincide with periods of feeding. Her sleep is divided into two phases: restless and calm.

  • Agitated sleep: baby is sleeping while moving his arms and legs. He may make small noises and his breathing is irregular. Parents may think their child is awake by then and hug them. A common mistake: watch for signs of wakefulness before unnecessarily disturbing your sleep.
  • Calm sleep: baby is sound asleep. He doesn’t move, his face and body are relaxed, while his breathing is calm.

The first 3 months

From birth to third month, baby will sleep between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. a day. The waking periods are relatively short while those of sleep vary between two and four successive hours. Baby does not yet distinguish between day and night, which can be difficult for parents at first.

From the first month, the awakening periods will lengthen until they reach 1 hour. Gradually, baby also sleeps a little less during the day and more during the night. But don’t expect him to sleep through his nights already: it is only around 8 weeks that he will begin to distinguish night and day.

From 3 months

At this point, you can encourage the day / night distinction: during the day, when baby is awake, feel free to play with him, talk to him, and stay in the lighted rooms of the house or for a walk. On the other hand, if he wakes up in the evening, prefer subdued lighting and create an atmosphere conducive to sleep. Be delicate and avoid stimulating it.

Around the age of 3 months, many babies begin to “sleep through the night”, meaning that they sleep between 5 and 6 hours in a row, without having to be fed. A baby is considered to be able to sleep through the night when he has reached the weight of 5kg. On average, 3 in 4 babies sleep at night by the age of 4 months. They do, however, need two or three naps a day.

From 6 months

Around six months, baby sleeps between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. a day. His rhythm is now linked to the day / night cycle, while he very rarely wakes up when sleeping. When that happens, he is now able to go back to sleep on his own: do not run to the slightest noise. However, he still needs two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

This period is ideal for starting a bedtime ritual: watch your baby for signs of fatigue (yawning, rubbing the eyelids, etc.) and put him to bed while he is dozing without being sound asleep. Take advantage of this moment to read a book or sing a song.

Although he sleeps through his nights, baby may have some trouble sleeping. For example when he is teething: the pain can wake him up and disrupt his sleep.
Around the age of 8 months, he also enters the period of separation anxiety: he understands that he is a full person. He then claims his parents a lot and has a great need for attention. It is likely that his nights will be less calm then and that, when he wakes up, he will not know how to go back to sleep without you tucking him in.

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