We adults are so used to nighttime sleep patterns that it has become a struggle to keep up with a newborn baby’s sleeping habits. We often find ourselves asking the question, “When will my baby sleep through the night?” What we know about “sleeping through the night” is actually entirely different from what medical professionals define it to be, which is a deep slumber between midnight and six in the morning.
There are a number of factors why infants do not have the same sleep pattern that we have. For one, babies have not developed their Circadian rhythm the way that we have. They still don’t have the concept of night and day, that’s why they stay wide awake when there’s bright lights in their rooms at night. Bright lights at night also delay their circadium rhythms from stabilising.
Another factor that contributes to an infant’s erratic sleep pattern is his appetite. Although he sleeps for about 18 hours a day, it is not continuous and is often interrupted by his need to feed. A baby will normally feed every at least four hours. Once the baby wakes up to get his chug of milk, it will take him another 30 minutes or more before he falls back to sleep. In some instances, this may extend to an hour or two.
After about three or four months, you will observe that your baby will begin to develop his own sleep pattern. However, don’t be alarmed if you notice that your child suddenly breaks away from this rhythm. He surely isn’t going back to his unpredictable habit of sleeping. Rather, this might be caused by other factors like falling ill or teething. For some, going back to the developed pattern may be effortless once the cause of distraction has passed, but for others it isn’t.
Understanding sleep patterns among babies will go a long way in nurturing newborns. For would-be moms, it is advisable to seek counsel from those who have the experience of rearing infants to better prepare yourself for the challenges ahead.