Most parents know all too well the struggles of getting a good night’s sleep. Here, we’re going to go over what to expect when it comes to sleep regressions in babies and the best ways to get bedtime back on track.
So much can make you worry as a parent of a newborn. Everyone is giving you conflicting advice, and you have to make sense of your options. Especially when you want a good night’s sleep, you need to know your baby is okay. You might also be wondering if while you get a good night’s sleep that your baby can be safe in a different room than you. Babies can sleep in their own room from birth. But as a parent, you’ll want to know how those reasons compare to keeping your baby in the same room as you. Here’s a breakdown so that you have what you need to make an informed decision. Benefits to Babies Sleeping in Their Own Room Parents may think that they will get to sleep better or reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) for their baby. But there’s more to it. Few studies have looked at how room-sharing affects babies. So a study published in Pediatrics in 2017 has found itself in the center of the debate. The study found that babies who slept in a separate room by nine months of age slept 45 minutes more than room sharers at 30 months. But there was no difference between babies of the same age. Room sharers also woke up more and needed more feedings. Mothers may tend to the baby as soon as it cries and nurse the minimum needed to make the baby drowsy. Yet this snacking also means it will wake more often because it will get hungry again sooner. This point leads to the main merit of this study. It showed that babies who slept alone by four months of age were twice as likely to develop a consistent bedtime routine compared to babies who shared a room. These babies were also less likely to have soft objects like crib bumpers, toys, and blankets sooner than they should. Meanwhile, room sharers of the same age were four times more likely to end up in the parents’ bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in their cribs in the parents’ room for the first six to 12 months. The Academy claims this helps protect against SIDS. Many professionals follow this advice. But the study that led to this recommendation is a European study from the 1990s. The SIDS rates then were higher for many reasons. Further, this study has what researchers call “correlation” and not “causation” like the Pediatrics study. That’s why it’s so important to make decisions specific to your situation and with your doctors. And despite the AAP recommendation, the Pediatrics study found that 62 percent of babies were sleeping in a separate room by four months of age. Twenty-seven percent moved to another room between four and nine months of age. So most parents chose to make that transition earlier than recommended. Drawbacks to Babies Sleeping in Their Own Room Also published in Pediatrics is a response to the study on room sharing. Some of the discussion around room sharing comes down to risks for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In which case, total time asleep during the night isn’t what you want for your baby. You want the ability to wake. The total sleep of babies who slept in a different room and babies who shared with their parents fall within recommended hours. For four-month-olds like in the study, that night time range is 7 to 8 hours. Both categories of babies got that amount of sleep. Further, many of the pros of babies sleeping in another room are the pros of good bedtime routines. Babies might be sleeping longer because parents feed them more at once. The separate room might be motivating mothers to do more per trip to the baby so that they don’t have to get up so often. Additionally, breastfeeding has different effects than formula feed. Without comparing diet, the advantages of babies sleeping in separate rooms might be less meaningful. So it’s less that there are faults in sleeping in separate rooms, but more that the advantages might not make much of a difference. The routines rather than the rooms might be worth your consideration. A Note About Babies Sleeping in Your Bed With You The American Journal of Public Health has stated that 64% of SIDS occur while the baby is sharing a sleeping surface. The greatest offenders are upright surfaces like couches and chairs. But it can also happen while in the parents’ bed. How Babies Can Sleep on Their Own Safely Regardless of which institution’s advice you want to follow, there are some general rules for good sleep and protection against SIDS. The AAP advocates for, at the very least, a flat, cleared, independent area for your baby to sleep. Sleeping alone, flat on their backs, and without other objects like bumper pads around helps babies to keep their breathing regular. The Academy also recommends breastfeeding to protect against SIDS. Pacifiers also help after you’ve been breastfeeding for six months. The reason why you should avoid sharing a bed is because blankets, pillows, and your body can force positions that make it hard for a baby to breathe. Babies also overheat. The room temperature should be below 70 degrees, and you should check so that the baby doesn’t feel warm or sweaty to the touch. Be careful about over bundling them as well. Finally, to prevent SIDS, you shouldn’t expose yourself to tobacco smoke, either during pregnancy or after birth. Being born prematurely is also a risk to be wary of The Children’s Health of Orange County adds more recommendations. Your baby not only should sleep on its back but do so routinely for the first year. The crib should also have a fitted sheet to lessen folds that can obstruct breathing. Sheets help with closing the gaps between the crib’s mattress and the crib itself. Napping during the day in strollers and swings is fine. But the upright positioning can make it harder for the baby during extended periods. The same goes for couches, lounge chairs, and devices like wedges and positioners. It’s best to keep things simple and stick to the crib at night. Sticking to a recommended vaccination schedule is more protection against SIDS. How To Make a Good Sleep Routine As addressed before, what might work best for you and your baby won’t be which room it sleeps in, but what kind of sleep routine you develop for your baby. The Mayo Clinic follows the American Academy of Pediatrics’s recommendation of sleeping in the same room as your baby for the first six to 12 months. Whichever your stance is at this point on that, Mayo has some common-sense guidelines to encourage good sleep hygiene. Have a Relaxing Routine Before Bedtime Good sleep starts with a soothing routine. You can spend your baby’s pre-bedtime with baths, cuddling, reading, or calming music. The main thing is to use a similar activity with an expected cue of when it ends so the baby will start to think, “Okay, now it is time for bed.” Make Baby Sleepy, but Not Already Sleeping You don’t want to put your baby to sleep but set it up to help itself to sleep. The sooner the baby learns to go through the process alone, the sooner the baby will have a healthy sleep routine. So after the relaxing routine, place your baby on its back in a crib cleared of items. Let it associate sleepiness with this final situation. Give Baby Time To Wind Down Sometimes babies cry and move around before falling asleep. Give it time. Don’t interrupt if you know you’ve done everything your baby could need before bed. Keep a Pacifier Handy Pacifiers often help with soothing, and your infant can use them through the night. They also reduce the risk of SIDS. Dial Down Nighttime Interruptions When you do visit your baby in the middle of the night, you’ll want to disturb them as little as possible. A video baby monitor can help reduce interrupting your baby’s sleep. For light, try using dim or indirect lighting like from the hallway. When you speak, keep your volume down. When you move, do so slowly. Respect Your Baby’s Preferences Like adults, babies have natural preferences like night owls or early birds. If you notice your baby is more prepared for a fulfilling night’s sleep at an earlier or later hour, it might help to respect that natural preference. Closing Thoughts So, can babies sleep in their own room from birth? Yes, and now you can pick the pros and cons that matter to your situation with your newborn. What is important is that you make an informed decision. Not just which room your baby will sleep in, but what kind of sleep routine will achieve what you thought only a separate room could give you.
One of the joys of being a parent is getting to see all the adorable antics of your new baby. However, it can be a little scary when they do something unsettling, like sleeping with their eyes open, something you’ll sometimes see when watching your little one on your video baby monitor. If you’re a new parent and you notice your baby sleeping with their eyes open, you probably have a few questions and want to know if it’s normal. To help put your mind at ease, we have answered the question of “why does my baby sleep with their eyes open?” and a few more related questions. Should I Be Worried? In most cases, a baby sleeping with their eyes open is not a concern. But, in fact, it is a fairly common ailment that affects up to 20% of people. The medical term for this condition is Nocturnal Lagophthalmos, yet it is more commonly called Physiological Lagophthalmos in infants and babies. Lagophthalmos, though it sounds intimidating, simply means sleeping with your eyes open. The word comes from the Greek word Lagos which means “hare”. Incidentally, hares also keep their lids open while sleeping. Lagophthalmos can have different causes and symptoms, yet physiological lagophthalmos is just the body’s way of reacting as it grows. Therefore, there are no medical causes, symptoms, or side effects. What Causes It? Unfortunately, medical researchers are not sure why physiological lagophthalmos happens to some babies. While it is not considered rare, it only happens to a minority of infants. So, why does your baby sleep with their eyes open? Many medical professionals believe it has to do with their Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. When we sleep, we fall into REM where our eyes make rapid movements in all directions, yet our eyes don't send visual signals to the brain. Babies spend a lot more time in REM sleep than adults. As their minds keep growing and their nervous system develops, some experts believe this physiological growth keeps the eyelids slightly open. Most infants that have this will only have their lids open minimally, and you will likely notice a lot of eye movement, as well. Other Causes Besides a longer REM cycle, there are a few other reasons your baby could have lagophthalmos. Although less likely, it could be a hereditary trait or a medical condition. If you or your spouse sleep with your eyes open, it may be why your offspring is doing the same thing. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from a parent, either. Grandparents and other relations can pass down the quirk to your child, as well. In even rarer cases, sleeping with their eyes open could point to a congenital abnormality, damaged facial nerves, or thyroid issues. Keep in mind, though, these possibilities are rare and not likely to be the case. What’s more, you will typically notice other symptoms or issues along with the lagophthalmos. A good example of other symptoms is shown in a case study that linked lagophthalmos to hypernatremic dehydration. Hypernatremic dehydration refers to dehydration in children where there is a sodium deficiency. In this study, however, they found lagophthalmos to be a side effect of the principal illness. But, again, this is a rare occurrence and not likely to be the case in infants. Does It Hurt My Baby? Once the question of “Why does my baby sleep with their eyes open” is answered, your next thought is likely to be whether or not your little one is in pain? As mentioned above, most babies (and their parents) don’t need to be concerned. It is not painful or harmful to your infant. That said, the reason we close our eyes during sleep is to protect our eyes and keep them moist. When they remain open while napping, your brain doesn’t give the signal to blink which can cause your eyes to dry out. Dry eyes are something you want to watch out for with your baby. Typically, their eyes will only be open a few millimeters, but that doesn’t mean irritation and dryness can’t occur. If you notice any redness, dryness, etc, you should consult your pediatrician for help. Is There a Treatment Option? Thankfully, most babies outgrow lagophthalmos by about 18-months. It’s also important to point out that while their eyes are open, you can rest assured they are asleep In the meantime, there are a few things you can do if the sight makes you uneasy. Keep It Dark A good practice is to keep their sleeping area as dark as possible. This will help them stay asleep if they should happen to wake, and it will be less stimulation for their eyes should they have them open slightly. Close Their Lids If the sight of your baby’s eyes being open gives you the willies, you can close them. Wait until they are completely asleep, and use the pads of your fingers to lower their lids as gently as possible. Use a Humidifier If dry eyes and irritation have you concerned, installing a humidifier is another good idea. Keep it to a low setting, place it far from their crib, and don’t add any fragrance or oils that can irritate their eyes. Remove Unnecessary Bed Items We don’t know why lagophthalmos happens, but the constant growth of your baby's mind may play a factor. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep their crib free of stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, pumpers, etc that could stimulate them or disrupt their sleep. Furthermore, removing these items lowers the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Create a Calm Area It can be easier for your child to be startled awake if their eyes are already open. To avoid this, make sure there is nothing that could frighten or alarm them. Keep alarm clocks and loud toys out of the sleeping area. Make sure pets are at safe distance, use sound machines for soothing noises, and keep televisions/music low. Create a Routine Some parents have found creating a bedtime routine helps their baby recognize when to sleep. Combining meal time with a warm bath afterward is a nice and relaxing way to get ready for a snooze. When Should I Start To Worry? Like most uneasy parents, even a doctor’s “don’t worry about it” diagnosis can still give you lingering doubts. To alleviate those fears, we have provided some warning signs you should look for that indicate a more serious issue. As mentioned, babies with physiological lagophthalmos sleep with their eyes fractionally open. It is possible for them to be fully open, as well, but not all the time. In the same vein, if they have trouble blinking or closing their eyes when they are awake, you want to seek medical attention. This can be caused by a nervous system issue including facial nerve damage. Something else to be aware of is severally red eyes. Additionally, watch your infant for signs of distress such as rubbing their eyes, crying when going to sleep or waking up, discharge in the eyes, fever, and other abnormal signs. You should also consider how long they’ve had the trait. Normally, it won’t occur for longer than two or three months or past the 18-month mark. However, there are documented cases of malformation of the eyelids, though it is rare. This abnormality might not show other outward symptoms. If your baby is sleeping with their eyes open for an extended period, you should reach out to medical professionals for help. If it is a family trait, also be aware of your (or the family members) diagnoses. Lagophthalmos, in rare cases, can move from infancy into adulthood. A warning sign to watch for in this case is a glassy stare right before falling asleep. Final Thoughts Overall, if you are uneasy or concerned, the best course of action is to check in with your child’s doctor for advice. Make sure to be prepared. Keep a sleep journal for your baby, and try to take a video if possible. This will give your pediatrician the best information to work with and decide on the best course of action. Although a bit unsettling, your baby sleeping with their eyes open is typically nothing to be concerned about. It is just their natural way of developing their mind and nervous system. Time is the best cure to have your precious bundle sleeping with their peepers closed.
Our first instinct as parents is to keep our babies as warm as possible, especially when the temperatures drop in wintertime. We might get ideas in our heads about huge fleece blankets or fluffy onesies perfect for Instagram. Knowing how to dress your baby for sleep in winter is vital to their wellbeing, and you can walk a fine line between overheating them and keeping them comfortable. How Many Layers Should My Baby Wear to Bed? Many books and articles about babies advise parents to dress their baby in one more layer than the parent usually wears. In some cases, this might be true, but once again, you can walk a fine line between comfort and too much heat. Get to know your baby a little and see what they are comfortable with. Do they get fussy when you dress them in more layers? Do they quiet down a little? Keep an eye on your baby and see what they like best. What Materials Should My Baby's Sleep Clothes Come From? Like we stated earlier, fleece might be an appealing fabric choice because of its softness and warmth. However, fleece can run the risk of overheating your baby. Your baby's metabolism is constantly working as your baby grows during the night. Therefore, their bodies might tend to get warmer more easily. In that case, you want to use materials that breathe well and wash easily Cotton and wool are comfortable materials for baby clothes for those reasons. Cotton is also pretty soft. Depending on your baby's age, you might want to only let them wear cotton or wool. Check to see that your baby's clothes are pesticide-free and fit your baby snugly. Be wary of clothes that say they are flame-retardant, as some pediatricians question whether the chemicals in these clothes are thoroughly safe for babies. Instead, make sure the clothes fit snugly so they are less flammable. What Kinds of Clothes Can My Baby Sleep in During Winter? A classic onesie should work for most babies during winter. Layers are the key to creating comfort for your baby. If your baby is still in swaddling clothes, look at how many layers it adds. You can always add a flannel crib sheet underneath your baby. A short-sleeved onesie is appropriate for sleep as you can always add a long sleeved vest if needed. Fleece pants are also suitable, as long as an elastic waistband keeps them from slipping down and they fit snugly. A sleep sack is another option for keeping your baby warm. It is loose enough that your baby can move their legs inside, but not so loose that your baby might turn over and suffocate inside it. You can either zip your baby into one or snap it around them, almost like a swaddling blanket. Do not cover your baby with a blanket until they are at least 12 to 18 months old. There is no clear-cut answer for how many layers your baby may need. Again, play around with different options and notice when your baby becomes uncomfortable. How Can I Test My Baby's Body Temperature? You can test your baby's body temperature in one of two ways. Notice your child's behavior. If they are not settling down or are fussy, they might be too hot or too cold. However, it might be easier to test your baby's body temperature by simply touching them. Feel your baby's hands. A slight chill in the skin is okay, but more layers are necessary if it is cold to the touch. Feel the back of your baby's nose and back of the neck. A cold nose indicates a cooler body temperature. If the back of your baby's neck is warm, there is nothing to worry about. However, you may need to peel back some layers if your baby is sweating. If your baby looks flushed, they might be a bit too warm, too. Keep in mind that your baby's hands are cooler than the rest of their body. The neck and tummy might be better means of gauging your baby's temperature. What Temperature Should I Set My Baby's Room To? Most experts recommend setting any room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Your baby's room should be too cold rather than too hot. If your baby gets too cold, they might wake up a lot more during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. On the other hand, if they are too hot, their risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) increases. You must be most careful with temperature when your baby is between 0 to 3 months old because they cannot regulate their body temperature during that time. If a baby becomes too hot or cold, they will use up a lot of energy to reach equilibrium, which can be pretty tiring but quite dangerous. It’s worth noting that our video baby monitors also include temperature alerts so you can easily see the temperature of your little one’s room. What If My Baby's Room has Drafty Windows? You may not know this until your baby's first winter, but your baby's room might have drafty windows. Not only may that affect your heating bills, but it might throw a wrench in keeping your baby warm. You can use blackout window shades, which not only keep your baby's room dark so they can sleep, but they will insulate the window to retain heat in the room. Window panels, on the other hand, are a little more decorative while still insulating the window. You can buy models that look like regular window blinds, but you can also buy dark ones that shut out light for nap time. Can I Put Anything in My Baby's Crib to Keep Them Warm? As mentioned before, keeping your baby warm means only using onesies, sleep sacks, or a well-warmed room. You do not want anything loose in the crib, such as a pillow or blanket. Blankets and pillows are not safe for babies under 12 months old. That is because they pose a suffocation risk if they move over your baby's face and inhibit their ability to breathe. That is also why, when you swaddle your baby, do not wrap them too loose or too tight. You want to stop them from moving reflexively and staying so they stay asleep, but comfort is still essential. Will My Baby Need Fewer Layers If They Sleep in My Bed? While sleeping alongside your baby is not a commonly recommended practice, you might not need as many layers in this scenario. When your baby sleeps beside you, they share your body heat. In this case, your baby might only need a cotton sleeper or a long-sleeved bodysuit. What Does the TOG Mean on Baby Clothes? TOG stands for Thermal Overall Guide, which explains how many blanket layers a piece of baby clothing is worth, especially sleep sacks. In other words, the lower the rating, the lighter the clothing is, and the higher the rating, the heavier it will be. Different ratings will work best at different times of the year. For example, clothes with ratings of 2.5 or above might work best for winter because they are padded and made with thicker materials. Clothing with ratings of 2.0 or below can either work all year round or only in summer because they have less padding and layers of fabric in them. A sleep sack with a rating of .5 to 2 is meant for spring or summer use, meaning that the sleep sack is about .5 to 2 blankets thick. Bags rated 2 to 2.5 are for autumn and winter. You might also find sleep sacks and other baby clothes with a 3.5 rating, which are meant exclusively for winter use. .5 TOG: Made of a single sheet of cotton without any padding. This is as light as they come and should be worn when temperatures are above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 1.0 TOG: Only lightly padded and made for temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 2.5 TOG: These are padded and can get used at any time of year except when it gets hot in summer. Optimal use is between 59 and 70 (should this not read 64?) degrees Fahrenheit. 3.5 TOG: Only meant for use in winter since they are heavily padded. Only use in temperatures at or below 59 degrees Fahrenheit. How Can I Dress a Swaddling Baby for Winter? Swaddling is vital in stopping babies from reflexively flailing their arms and legs in sleep, which can awaken them. Swaddling blankets can prove to be an essential layer in keeping your baby warm, so you do not need many layers underneath one. In most cases, a simple long-sleeved layer is all you need beneath a swaddling blanket. You will find these long-sleeved layers have TOG ratings of their own, so you can do the math as to what overall rating your baby's clothes have. Similarly, you can also buy a tuck sheet for your baby's mattress. Keep in mind that a tuck sheet is not the same thing as a blanket. A tuck sheet gets tucked underneath your baby's mattress, giving them a layer of warmth that stays firmly in place. A blanket can roll around, get caught over your baby's face, and possibly cause suffocation. A tuck sheet presents no such dangers. More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep in Winter If your baby is too cold, they might refuse to eat. They might also become lethargic or difficult to wake. Always check for your baby's comfort before leaving them to sleep. Tempting though it is, do not cover your baby's feet or hands during sleep. They need those extremities free or untucked to get rid of extra body heat. Only use socks or footed onesies when they are awake. Stay away from onesies with hoods or hats. They are fine when your baby is awake or when you are taking them outside for a stroll. However, your baby cannot regulate body temperature until they reach 3 months, so keep these off their heads when they sleep. A hat might also slip off your baby's head and fall over their mouth, inhibiting their breathing. Again, save the hats for Instagram and keep them off your baby when they are sleeping. Make sure your baby sleeps on their back. It is a good idea to leave your baby slightly underdressed during sleep. That is not to say that you should skimp on layers. Test your baby's skin to see if they are at optimal temperature before leaving them to sleep. Lose the swaddle blanket once your baby starts to roll and switch to a wearable blanket or sleep sack instead.
There are few things more heart-melting than the sight of a sleeping baby, especially when they have a serene smile stretched across their chubby little face, something you’ll often see when watching your little one on your video baby monitor. Just what that smile could mean, though, isn’t entirely clear. If you’re like many parents, you’ve probably wondered what it is that gets your little one grinning after they drift off to dreamland. It’s a good question, one that we’ve yet to come up with a definitive answer for. So much of babies’ psychology remains a mystery that all the experts can do is make educated guesses based on our existing knowledge of the adult body and mind. That said, researchers have some pretty compelling theories for this undeniably adorable behavior. In this article, we’ll review several of the most popular explanations, ranging from intriguing to humorous. The Science of Sleep To get an idea of why babies smile in their sleep, it can be helpful to understand a bit about what goes on in their brains after they slip into unconsciousness. More specifically, it’s worth examining the different sleep cycles and how they affect various processes in the body. NREM vs. REM Sleep Most people know that sleep takes place in cycles. But what are these cycles, exactly, and what purpose do they serve? Though sleep is generally thought of as being one continuous activity (or lack thereof), there are actually two different types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Both take place in a single slumber session, and both have a significant impact on vital physiological functions. NREM Sleep Non-rapid eye movement sleep occurs in three distinct stages. Scientists refer to these stages as N1, N2, and N3. N1 The first stage of NREM sleep occurs right after you first doze off. At this stage, you’re technically asleep, but only superficially. If you’ve ever been jolted awake by a loud noise or sudden commotion while napping, you were most likely in stage N1 sleep at the time. Stage N1 sleep is quite short-lived, typically lasting only one to five minutes. It is perhaps best understood as a transitional interval between wakefulness and true sleep. N2 Stage N2 sleep picks up where stage N1 leaves off—with the body winding down as it prepares to enter deep sleep. Here, your muscles relax, your heartbeat slows down, your breathing takes on a fixed, regular rhythm, and your brain activity begins to decrease. This is the longest NREM sleep stage, lasting around ten to 25 minutes during the first cycle and 30 to 60 minutes on subsequent cycles. All told, you spend about half of your nightly repose in stage N2 sleep. N3 You’re fully asleep by the time you get to stage N3 (hence this stage often simply being called “deep sleep”). Everything from your muscles to your pulse relaxes and slows down even more. What’s more, your brain effectively shifts over to autopilot and begins producing low-frequency delta waves, prompting crucial recovery processes to kick in. Restorative stage N3 NREM sleep is exceedingly important, as it’s responsible for most of the body’s healing and growth. It can be challenging to rouse someone who’s in stage N3 sleep. If you do, they’ll likely be groggy and disoriented as a result of the interruption. REM Sleep Following the three successive stages of NREM sleep comes rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. While there’s some debate over whether REM sleep is “deeper” than stage N3 NREM sleep, there’s no debating its significance in maintaining overall health. During REM sleep, the eyes dart to and fro beneath their lids as brain activity revs back up and the sleeper is subjected to vivid dreams. Most scientists agree that dreaming is probably the brain’s way of processing images, memories, and emotions accumulated throughout the day, though no one knows for sure precisely why it happens. Your core temperature and breathing also become somewhat irregular while you’re in REM sleep. In fact, it’s not common for people in this stage of rest to experience bouts of apnea, where breathing stops completely for brief periods. Putting It All Together If you were to map out the progression of the four stages of sleep as they occur in your body, it would look like this: N1 ⟶ N2 ⟶ N3 ⟶ REM ⟶ N1 ⟶ N2 ⟶ N3 ⟶ REM ⟶ N1 ⟶ N2 ⟶ N3 ⟶ REM And so on. Your body doesn’t jump through these stages like the second hand of a clock. It passes seamlessly from one into the next like the minute hand, then starts the cycle over and continues in this fashion until you finally wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Babies need a lot more sleep than adults since they have so much developing to do. On average, babies sleep a total of about 14-17 hours a day, only waking up to feed every few hours. As such, they go through roughly twice the number of sleep cycles that you do every time you put them down. But there’s another big difference between your sleep cycle and your baby’s. It’s been shown that children younger than three months split their time almost evenly between REM (or “active”) sleep and NREM (or “non-active”) sleep. Their sleep stage progression looks more like this: REM ⟶ NREM ⟶ REM ⟶ NREM ⟶ REM ⟶ NREM ⟶ REM ⟶ NREM ⟶ REM ⟶ NREM They go on alternating between REM and NREM sleep like this the whole time they’re at rest. So, Why Do Babies Smile in Their Sleep? The study of sleep and its effects is endlessly fascinating. Still, it doesn’t explain why babies so often break into smiles as they snooze. For that, we must turn to the experts, who have proposed several compelling possibilities. Reflex The first and most widely accepted explanation for sleep-smiling in newborns is that it’s simply a reflex. During REM sleep, the body performs all sorts of involuntary actions, from jerking and twitching to whimpering and grasping. Some researchers believe that smiling may be one such movement. They’ve termed this “endogenous smiling,” meaning it arises of itself rather than happening in response to goading from parents or other kinds of outside stimulation. The theory goes that endogenous smiling could essentially serve as practice for future social situations. That makes a lot of sense when you consider how central smiling is to human interaction. Dreaming The jury is still out concerning whether or not babies dream. Regardless, many pediatric neurologists are convinced that babies can access dreamlike states in which they process what limited memories and sensory impressions they have, much like their grownup counterparts. For example, suppose an infant receives abundant physical affection, eats something yummy, or feels cozy and secure in their crib. In that case, they might express their joy or contentment later on through actions such as smiling. Assuming this theory is true, it could account for why babies can often be seen smirking after they’ve been out for a few hours. Emotional Feedback It could also be the case that your baby’s smile is an instinctive display of love and affection towards you, especially once she starts to get a little older. Let’s be honest—this is the scenario that most parents are secretly pulling for. Luckily, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that that’s indeed what’s happening. Smiling is an unmistakable form of emotional feedback that could strengthen the bond between an infant and its mother or father. One way to test this hypothesis is to gently stroke your baby’s hair or tickle her tummy while she sleeps. If she starts smiling, it could be because she subconsciously recognizes that you’re there watching over her. Flatulence It might sound silly, but some scientists have speculated that farting may be a factor in babies' tendency to smile. Yes, really. As you’re no doubt aware, the act of passing gas can be very relieving. Therefore, it’s thought that smiling might be a baby’s way of showing pleasure following the release of pent-up gas. All talk of propriety aside, these little toots signify that your infant’s digestive system is working properly. This theory combines elements of the reflex and emotional feedback schools of thought. It isn’t until the child learns certain social cues later in life that their reaction to flatulence changes from satisfaction to embarrassment (or amusement, in the case of boys). Conclusion Science may never solve the riddle of why babies smile in their sleep. Even so, all of the leading interpretations point to causes that indicate normal bodily function, healthy development, and happy thoughts. In other words, whatever the reason is, you can be sure that it’s something worth smiling about.
As with any crossroads where new parents often find themselves, the opinions, speculation, and moralizing you might find online about night lights will range drastically. Some experts and parents will insist that night lights are necessary for soothing your child’s fear of the dark or facilitating nighttime feedings and diaper changes. Others point out the well-documented relationship between light exposure and melatonin production in the brain. The bottom line is that sleep hygiene is an incredibly important determinant of health and disease. Setting in motion good habits early on will make a healthy lifestyle much easier to maintain. It’s enough to make anybody ask themselves: “should my baby be sleeping with a night light?” Does My Baby Need a Night Light? The idea of a night light in the nursery (such as those found on our video baby monitors) is appealing to anyone who’s had to fumble around for something in the dark to change a diaper or soothe a distressed child without being able to see. Sleepless nights are perhaps the most relatable experience of young parenthood and the night light does away with this very real, albeit minor, obstacle during those encounters. It doesn’t have to be a battle! When it comes to a good night’s sleep, the parent’s interests align with the baby’s — the sooner you’re both back in bed, the better. This is why a night light can be more than just a convenience. If it’s helping you care for your baby more quickly, it might be the ace-in-the-hole that makes your baby’s sleep regimen more robust, not less. Can Night Lights Affect Melatonin? Several sources cite the effect of artificial light on your baby’s melatonin levels. A 2018 pediatric study has recently confirmed the long-held suspicion that people in early childhood, like their peers in other age groups, exhibit a “melatonin suppression” response to artificial light stimulus. This occurs when exposure to artificial light causes a drop-off in the measurable amount of melatonin in a person’s saliva. This would seem to be consistent with a few other findings and pieces of general wisdom: melatonin is produced as part of the circadian rhythm, or “biological clock” of all mammals. It’s associated with sleep, increasing gradually as bedtime approaches, and it’s often made available as an over-the-counter supplement to assist adults in falling asleep. As far as many are concerned, melatonin is the “sleep chemical.” Exposure to light is generally understood to have the effect of reducing the experience of drowsiness; some behavioral studies have even shown that people are more alert and less drowsy after sustained exposure to bright light. One might conclude that melatonin reduction brought on by light exposure could be making babies less drowsy and less likely to sleep through the night. Looking Beyond the Research Don’t be fooled by the impressive medical research on melatonin levels — the decision to use a night light for your baby is still a personal one, and there is no formal playbook for raising children in light of these findings. This is because the relationship between light exposure and melatonin levels makes up an incomplete connection between the much more complicated, much less understood relationship between light exposure and sleep hygiene. For a long time, melatonin has seemed like the perfect index for measuring how drowsy a patient is, or how their drowsiness has changed in response to their environment. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult for neuroscientists to ignore the vast complexity of the brain and the neurological systems in place that govern long-term patterns of behavior. The systems involved in regulating sleep and maintaining the circadian rhythm have been no exception. While melatonin does play an important role in regulating sleep-related behavior, different regulatory mechanisms in the brain can give the chemical different effects, some of which seem to have nothing to do with sleep behavior. This is best understood in light of a study out of the Netherlands by neurologist Melanie Rüger and colleagues. They reviewed three previous studies on the relationship between light exposure and melatonin, and the relationship between light exposure and drowsiness. Rüger and her team found that in all three studies, the melatonin suppression response was unrelated to the reduction in drowsiness. Both phenomena took place on average, but they were unpredictable and statistically not related to one another. There definitely are known, specific neurological circuits dedicated to regulating sleepiness, and these systems are known to respond to detectable changes in light exposure that take place. Melatonin is indeed a key part of how these systems function under normal circumstances. But the brain is incredibly complex, and contains countless unexplained redundancies and dormant possibilities for adapting to change. Increasingly, melatonin is being revealed to be a very small part of a larger network of influence and feedback. The growing consensus so far, then, has been that changes in sleep behavior are brought about by systematic changes to the brain, not just fluctuations in the amount of one chemical signal. This is important because the experimental playbook of measuring melatonin as a gauge for drowsiness has led to a skew in the types of questions that can be answered by the available research. Drowsiness as an experience is much more difficult than melatonin to quantify. As a result, study after study could get published about changes in melatonin levels without offering any new evidence about how these changes affect drowsiness. So, What’s the Verdict? Like most sleep issues, there’s a lot of research to suggest that night lights might not be the best choice, but the question remains, should your baby sleep with a night light? Light exposure does reduce drowsiness and sleep quality, and it also reduces melatonin. But chances are low that it reduces drowsiness specifically as a result of it reducing melatonin, which means either one of the two responses could be caused by a night light without the other response taking place. Melatonin levels are difficult to track— if there’s a problem in your child’s health, it usually isn’t going to be discovered through a melatonin test. Plus, the night light problem is one that has a very clear barometer: a sleepless child. Melatonin levels probably aren’t worth worrying about as much as whether or not your child is giving you specific behavioral cues about their sleep hygiene. Melatonin has long been an important fixture in the explanations offered by wellness experts, pediatricians, and general practitioners for why their suggestions contain good ideas. But the fact remains that much is still unknown about melatonin’s role in the brain, and even less is known about the brain as a whole. Because of this, it’s easy to get the impression that melatonin is the beginning and end to any intervention on your baby’s sleep hygiene. It’s Your Ultimate Decision Realistically, the decision to use a night light is your own and medical research has no definitive answer on whether your baby should sleep with a night light. If it’s making nighttime encounters go by more quickly, by all means, go ahead and use one! But if a night light seems to be keeping your child awake, it would probably be prudent to speak to a pediatrician with more personal context before continuing to use it.
It might seem a little silly to worry about whether your baby is old enough to use a blanket. What sorts of dangers might such a simple thing present? After all, a blanket is one more cute thing to add to your baby's cradle. In reality, you have to transition your baby to using a blanket, the same way you transition them into more solid foods or potty train them. So, when can your baby sleep with a blanket? Let us find out. What Should My Baby Sleep With in Their Crib? It is tempting to put all kinds of cute accessories in your baby's crib, including toys, pillows, bumpers, and yes, even a blanket. While all these things do look adorable around your sleeping baby, they actually might be dangerous that early in your baby's life. Over 3,000 babies die every year from things ranging from suffocation to strangulation and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Having anything in the crib alongside your baby might increase the chances of your baby suffering from SIDS. In short, the only thing your baby needs to sleep with is a fitted sheet over their crib mattress. Do not look for any bells and whistles with mattresses or fitted sheets. When your baby is first starting, keep it safe and straightforward. To help you be organised, check out our range of video baby monitors to make sure your baby's safety is a main priority of yours. That includes having no toys, positioners, bumpers, or even pillows in the crib. You do not want anything in the crib that can strangle, trap, or otherwise hurt your baby. With anything going into your baby's crib, you want to consider the weight, the material, and whether there are any small parts. For example, dolls or stuffed animals with sewn-on button eyes could be a choking hazard. When Can My Baby Sleep with a Blanket? When can your baby sleep with a blanket? Every baby is different, so they will adjust to adding things to the crib at different ages. However, most experts recommend adding a blanket to the crib around 12 to 18 months of age. That is also when most infant-related deaths stop, so it is safe to start introducing things to the baby's crib. Plus, most babies will have developed the motor skills to push objects away from their faces as they roll over at that age. When it is safe for your baby to use a blanket, remember to start with the simplest blanket design. That means no ties or ribbons, attached stuffed animal heads or limbs, or anything that poses a hazard. Choose a blanket made from lightweight, breathable materials, such as muslin, for extra measure. You will also want to choose a smaller blanket, since larger ones cause a greater risk of strangulation and suffocation. Weighted blankets probably pose the greatest danger to babies, so only use those when they have matured a few years. The same goes for thick, quilted blankets. If your baby always kicks off their blankets, you can continue to use a sleep sack for your child. When you decide to use a blanket, always make sure that the blanket is tucked into the mattress so it cannot harm the baby. Also, never place the blanket higher than the baby's chest. Why are Blankets Dangerous for Babies to Sleep With? As mentioned, blankets can strangle or trap your baby if they roll around or into the blanket. On the other hand, they might also cause your baby to overheat, which in turn might cause SIDS. How Do I Keep My Baby Warm Without a Blanket? So then, if you should not allow your baby to sleep with a blanket, how do you keep them warm during the colder months? See how warm you feel in your baby's room. If you need an additional layer to stay warm, odds are your baby might need one too. Babies usually need one clothing layer more than adults to stay comfortable, so however layers you need to keep warm, your baby might need one extra. Nonetheless, be careful not to over-layer them. That said, you can also adjust the thermostat in your baby's room to a comfortable temperature. The good news is that there is sleep-specific baby clothing made from breathable materials, such as sleep sacks and onesies. Be sure only to use these materials since it is tempting to dress your baby in hats, scarves, or headbands, but they could also cause SIDS. Pay attention to when your baby starts rolling over in their sleep. That would be a good time to switch from swaddling them in a blanket to using a sleep sack. This simple piece allows easier, safer movement for your baby while they rest. When the weather turns warmer, you can always use air conditioning, a fan, or an open window to control the temperature in your baby's room. To check if your baby is comfortable, see how they are breathing. Are their cheeks flushed? Is the back of their neck sweaty? These are signs that your baby may be getting warm, so adjust the temperature accordingly. The goal is always to make sure your baby does not overheat. Can I Swaddle My Baby to Keep Them Warm? Some parents may consider swaddling their babies in a blanket for extra warmth and protection. While this is technically feasible and safe, it can still pose a risk to the baby if done incorrectly. One danger with swaddling is that the child could roll over and get trapped lying face down. Even if you swaddle the child when slightly older, they can still get stuck lying this way. Therefore, if you are going to swaddle your baby, swaddle them loosely and set them in their crib lying face-up. Leave just enough room for the baby to move their knees and hips. Most experts recommend you stop swaddling your baby around the 3-month mark. This marks the time when the baby will start to roll over in their sleep. However, keep an eye on when you baby starts rolling so you know when to break out the sleep sack. What are Some Tips for Keeping My Baby Safe in the Crib? Here are a few quick tips about how else you can keep your baby safe in their crib. Share a room, but not a bed It is a good idea to share a room with your baby for the first 6 to 12 months of their lives. You can situate their crib in the corner of your bedroom, but do not ever let your baby sleep in your bed with you. Doing so poses the risk of you rolling over and accidentally suffocating your baby. Technically, you can share a bed with your baby, but only if the area is completely clear of pillows, blankets, sheets, and stuffed animals, and if you absolutely will not roll over to the baby's side. Also, do not share a bed with your baby if you have smoked. As a matter of fact, do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby, especially where they sleep. Lie the baby flat on their back When you put your baby to sleep, always make sure they are lying flat on their back. You can do this a little less after they reach one year of age. ALWAYS use safe baby products Make sure your baby's crib is less than 10 years old and meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards. If you must buy a crib secondhand, inspect it carefully and do not use any broken cribs. Inspect safety guidelines on baby products carefully Some baby products will claim to reduce the risk of SIDS, but these products usually are no different from regular baby products. In some cases, they might even increase the risk of SIDS. If you must buy these, inspect the safety guidelines closely. Always use a firm, well-fitting crib mattress Consequently, make sure your baby's crib mattress is very firm and fits perfectly into the crib. You do not want any gaps on the side of the mattress. Always put the baby to sleep in their bed Do not be tempted to let your baby sleep in their stroller, swing, bouncer, or car seat. Do not let them fall asleep while sitting in a chair, either. It is safest to let them sleep lying down flat on their backs on a firm mattress. Keep loose objects away from the crib Similar to keeping small objects out of the crib, make sure you keep loose objects like cords or curtains out of reach from the crib. Consider using a pacifier during sleep Once your baby becomes comfortable with breastfeeding, you can consider letting your baby sleep with a pacifier. Final Thoughts Baby blankets are a fun addition to your baby's cradle, but you should wait until they are a little older to give them one. Until then, you can simply use sleep sacks, wearable blankets, and a few additional layers to keep your baby warm. Whatever you do, do not let your baby overheat and do not let them sleep anywhere but on their back in their crib.
It can be heartwarming to watch your baby grow and learn. It’s fun when they pick a favorite toy or stuffed animal. It can be tempting to give your baby a stuffed animal in their crib. But when can your baby sleep with a stuffed animal? Letting Your Baby Sleep with a Stuffed Animal Perhaps your little one seems to have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. This is affectionately called a “lovey” by those who know. A lovey can even be a favorite book, plastic toy, or even a bedsheet. Children will keep this item nearby and grab it when they need comfort. The Psychology of Comfort Objects Even before they are interacting with other children, you may find your child playing with their lovey like it’s alive. Psychologists understand that young children start giving objects human qualities as they start to become aware that they are individuals separate from their mothers. When you give your baby a stuffed animal they can learn how to deal with big emotions, especially when you’re not next to them. They tend to pick a favorite lovey somewhere between 6- and 12-month-old. They can be attached to this item for years to come. This isn’t a sign of weakness or anything bad. It’s a natural way that babies learn to interact with their world! Some babies never sleep with a lovey. This is okay, too. It can feel reasonable to let your baby sleep with a stuffed animal that they have deemed their favorite. The idea that a stuffed animal can help your child put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night without your help can sound like a relief. But at what age is a comfort object safe in the crib? When can you let your baby sleep with a lovey? Safe Sleep and SIDS The American Academy of Pediatrics has offered safe sleeping recommendations since 1992 as a way to combat sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Since then, the number of babies who are victims of SIDS in the US has been cut in half. No one knows what causes SIDS. It’s simply a diagnosis where all other potential causes of death have been ruled out. But there are certain things we know about SIDS. First, SIDS happens when babies are sleeping. Second, SIDS happens before age one. Third, the environment in which the baby sleeps can lead to SIDS or other sleep-related causes of death. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to diminish the risk of SIDS: Always place your baby to sleep on their back. If your baby sleeps in your room, they should sleep in a separate crib close to your bed. Cribs should be placed out of reach of cords, curtains, or anything that can be brought into the crib. Cribs should be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Cribs should be empty with no soft bumpers or loose bedding. Cribs should be flat, without wedges, pillows, or positioners that claim to reduce SIDS. Your baby should be at a comfortable temperature. Your baby should not wear loose clothing, bibs, or accessories with cords while sleeping. Cribs should be without any blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or crib toys. It is safest for stuffed animals or any other kind of comfort item to be saved for times other than sleeping. Let them have their lovey when they are playing or need emotional support. At What Age Can Baby Sleep with a Stuffed Animal When can your baby sleep with a stuffed animal? Wait until they are 12-months-old. At this age, the risk for SIDS significantly decreases. Then you can safely give your baby a stuffed animal in a crib. At this age, it will probably be easy to tell which toy is your child’s favorite. You can even ask them which one they will want to sleep with and they will show you! Other Times to Give Your Baby a Lovey to Sleep with Even if your child doesn’t sleep with a stuffed animal at 12-months-old, there are other times that it might be beneficial to give your baby a comfort object. Big life events can be challenging for anyone, and this is especially true for babies and young children. They don’t understand things that are changing around them and have little control over most situations. Giving your baby a stuffed animal during these times can provide a lot of comfort. When adults think of big changes, we think of death and divorce. These are definitely times that a lovey or comfort item can help your little one. But think of other events that can impact their world: Moving to a new house The birth of a sibling Moving from a crib to a bed Starting daycare Weaning off a pacifier These are all changes when anxiety or confusion can cause distress in a young child. Give your baby a stuffed animal during these times to help them feel comforted and supported. During big life events, it can also be comforting for older children to be involved in picking a lovey. Take them on an outing for the sole purpose of choosing a stuffed animal that they can use for comfort. It will reinforce the purpose of the comfort object when they are looking for support. How to Pick a Stuffed Animal for Your Baby Your baby may choose their lovey, or you’ll give one to them during a big life change. Either way, there are some things you want to think about. Choose a Safe Stuffed Animal When your baby sleeps with a comfort item, it will take a lot of wear and tear. Make sure that there aren’t dangerous parts. Pick something with embroidered eyes instead of beaded eyes. Watch out for dolls with clothing or parts that come off. For children who are sensitive to materials or have allergies, check what the stuffing is made of. Prepare to Give Your Baby a Lovey While some children will be ready the first night, some need help to sleep with a stuffed animal. To give your baby a stuffed animal to help with a life change, there are some things you can do to encourage them to take it. When your child is playing, give them the object. Have it next to them when you are comforting them. Bring it on car rides so they have something to play with. When you’re putting them to bed at night, let them cuddle with it during your nighttime routine. Whatever you do, be consistent. The other thing you can do is sleep with the item for a few nights. Babies are comforted by the familiar scent of a parent. This can encourage them to accept a lovey when they need emotional support because it will remind them of you. Pros and Cons of Sleeping with a Stuffed Animal There are both pros and cons with letting your baby sleep with a stuffed animal. Here’s a brief overview of the major pros and cons: Pros They can minimize separation anxiety when babies are away from their parents. They can help children feel emotionally supported in all kinds of situations that make children feel out of control. Babies can use them to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of sleep times. Cons If you misplace a lovey, it can cause a lot of emotional distress for both parent and child. FAQ about Stuffed Animals for Babies Here are some of the most common questions parents have about letting their baby sleep with a stuffed animal: Can I Give My 6-Month-Old a Stuffed Animal? Some pediatricians say it’s okay for your baby to sleep with a stuffed animal when they are as young as 6-months-old. The AAP suggests the risk of SIDS is still too high at this age. Wait until they are 12-months-old. Are Microwavable Aromatherapy Stuffed Animals Safe to Sleep with? No, they are not to be left with your baby when they’re sleeping. While there are no current recommendations by the AAP, manufacturers suggest their products should always be used under close adult supervision. Should My Baby Take Their Lovey Everywhere? There’s nothing wrong with this. Just be aware that when your child takes their stuffed animal out and about, there’s a risk of damaging or losing it. Consider introducing one lovey for home and one for places like school. How Do I Replace a Worn-Out Stuffed Animal? Plan ahead and purchase a duplicate of your baby’s lovey. Then you’ll be prepared if something happens to the original. But be aware that some children won’t take the replacement. When Should My Child Stop Sleeping with a Stuffed Animal? There is no recommendation for when a child should stop sleeping with a comfort item. Some children and even adults find it therapeutic to sleep with a stuffed animal. Giving Your Baby a Stuffed Animal to Sleep with So, when can your baby sleep with a stuffed animal? Your baby can sleep with a stuffed animal safely after they are 12 months old. Give your baby a stuffed animal for the emotional benefits it can provide to them. It can also warm your heart to see them cuddling with their lovey, be prepared and check up your baby with our video baby monitors.
The universal problem that new parents have in common is, why won’t this little one sleep at night? Most parents, especially mothers, suffer from sleep deprivation because they used to rest through the night, but the new member of the family keeps waking up at this time, many times demanding attention. Honestly, you will have to adapt to this new sleeping pattern for a few months, but you’ll be back to sleeping the entire night in a short time. But when will this happen you ask? When do babies start sleeping through the night? Read through to learn when and what you can do to make them sleep deeply without disturbing you. What Is Sleeping Through the Night? Sleeping through the night is a rather vague statement because the number of hours might vary depending on the person and age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it means the ability of infants to sleep for at least six hours uninterrupted. They might wake up for short intervals but soothe themselves back to sleep without being fed. The vital point here is that they don’t wake the sleeping parent. Expected Age Group Sleeping Patterns Age plays a crucial role in determining sleeping patterns. For instance, healthy infants need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, while toddlers and preschoolers can do with 11 to 14 and 10 to 13 hours, respectively. Within the infant category, you can expect different sleeping patterns based on age as well. This category includes newborns (birth to 3 months), 3 to 6-month-old babies, and 6 to 12-month-old infants. First Weeks Healthy newborns should sleep for about 14 to 17 hours daily, but this cannot happen continuously. Since they are fresh out the womb, they need a frequent feeding schedule that matches the constant flow of nutrients they got from their mom before birth. Additionally, their stomachs are tiny and can only accommodate a small amount of milk at a time. As such, newborns will wake up at least every one to three hours through the day and night hungry. Mothers usually produce colostrum, a highly concentrated and nourishing form of milk in this period to provide as many nutrients as possible in small quantities. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, you must be ready to sacrifice some sleep during this age. Most parents find this stage the hardest because sleeping for short intervals of about two hours is not as satisfactory as getting 6 to 8 hours of continuous rest. It would help to take naps throughout the day to synchronize your sleeping pattern with that of your baby. At least, you will get enough rest and keep your energy levels up to wake up and breastfeed or bottle-feed several times the following night. 3 To 6 Months The short sleeping periods will not last forever. From around two months of age, homeostatic pressure develops as the baby adapts to the new environment. It minimizes nighttime awakenings, so he will not need many night feedings. Additionally, sleep requirements at this age are usually lower compared to the first few weeks. Your baby will need about 14 to 15 hours of sleep every day, split into four or five dozing periods. If you do the math, your baby will sleep continuously for about three or four hours, which gives you more time to lie down. Some might even sleep for six or more hours, spending almost twice the amount of time laying down at night. Still not here yet? Be patient. Sleeping patterns develop at different paces, so there’s no need to worry. 6 To 12 Months The 6 to 12-month period is the last stage of being an infant and is when you will spot significant changes in the sleeping schedule. Your baby might not wake up hungry for stretches of up to 12 hours, so you will have enough time to rest. On top of that, they develop more muscles during this period, enabling them to crawl, roll in bed, pick up things, or do other small activities. Eventually, these movements make them tired, leading to long and deep periods of sleep at night. However, there are some instances when you might still get interrupted. Babies grow at a quick pace during this stage, and so does their stomach. Thus, you might notice an increase in feeding frequency or longer breastfeeding sessions to fill up the tummy. The cluster feeding combined with teething pain and other kinds of discomfort might cause your baby to wake up at night. When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night? To answer your question, most babies begin sleeping through the night at around six months of age. By the time you hold their first birthday party, your kid could be resting for about 15 hours daily, a majority of them being at night. The ratio might be 10 to 12 hours at night to a few one- or two-hour naps during the day. Pretty good, right? However, these are typical sleeping patterns based on a majority of infants. Each baby is different, so these age schedules might not apply accurately in your situation. The time you put your baby to sleep also matters. For instance, if you do the final breastfeeding or bottle-feeding at around six pm, then soothe him to sleep, add 10 hours to this, and you will have a crying, hungry, and fully rested baby waking you up at 4 am. While your baby will have slept through the night, you won’t. Therefore, the best practice is to engage your young one in some activity, such as playing with toys, then put him to rest at around 8pm or 9pm at the latest. Don’t keep him up too late because he might become overtired, take longer to fall asleep, wake up earlier than usual in the morning, or wake up frequently at night. Growth and Development Milestones Before Sleeping Through the Night If your baby’s sleeping schedule does not align with the typical patterns, there are a few developmental milestones you can look out for as indicators of more sleeping hours at night ahead. They include: Reduced Startling/Moro Reflex As the senses become more effective, babies begin to take in more of the new environment, and certain things might cause startle reflexes. Loud noises from the doorbell, sudden movements, temperature changes, etc., will most likely wake him up. After some time, babies get used to what they sense, and this reduces startling. When this happens, it will lead to more peaceful nights with uninterrupted sleep. Usually, this reduction occurs at around the age of four months. Weight Gain Weight gain results from increased feeding, and this is common for growing infants. After around 4 to 6 months, the stomach expands to hold more milk in one feeding session. The increased consumption means they can hold more food to extract energy from for longer periods. As such, they can have enough calories to push through the entire night without waking you. Reduced Night Feedings Following up on the weight gain milestone above, the increased breastfeeding or bottle-feeding during the day eventually reduces night feedings to a point where babies can sleep for more than six hours non-stop before getting hungry. Self-Soothing Capability If your baby begins sucking on her hands or fingers, it is a good sign. Such an action enables them to self-soothe back to sleep in case they wake up at night. A pacifier would come in handy during this stage. What Can Make Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night? Since every baby is unique, it makes sense to develop a routine to help your young one sleep through the night, not just waiting for the 6-month age milestone. You can: Expose your baby to light and noise during the day so that night feels peaceful Reduce the number of activities as bedtime approaches Dim lights and keep noise to the minimum just before bedtime Breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby shortly before bedtime Spend some quiet time together either cuddling, walking, or rocking before bedtime Lay the baby to sleep before he goes deep into sleep (teaches him to do it alone) Use night lights to keep the room dark if the baby wakes up to feed Keep the room quiet Don’t entertain your baby during feeding times at night (make it low key) If changing their diaper, do it quickly and calmly After feeding and burping, put your baby back to his bassinet/crib for him to get used to sleeping on his own Sticking to such habits will assist in keeping babies asleep for at least six hours at night. If you are unsure of when your child wants to sleep, look for these signs: Eye rubbing Crying Yawning Pulling ears Sucking fingers Closing fists Frowning Fussiness Fluttering eyelids Boredom Jerky arm/ leg movements Clumsiness Clinginess Demanding attention Once you spot any of these in the evening, begin implementing the sleeping routine. Over time, this might improve the sleeping pattern, even much earlier than expected. How To Help Babies Sleep Longer? In addition to the routine, two strategies have proven effective through demonstrations to help infants sleep continuously through the night. These are: Bedtime Fading Bedtime fading involves pushing bedtime earlier by 15 minutes each night. The idea is to align your baby’s internal clock with the sleeping time that works for you. But first, you need to know what time your child experiences the psychological urge to fall asleep, then use this as the temporary sleeping time. Try to make him sleep earlier by 15 minutes each night and continue making these adjustments only if he falls asleep. Once you get to the required bedtime and everything works out well, mission accomplished. If your baby tends to fall asleep too early, you can try this strategy in reverse. Instead of pushing the bedtime earlier, move it later by 15 minutes each night. Graduated Extinction Those who oppose graduated extinction describe it as a cry-it-out nightmare, but it isn’t quite that way. The strategy involves waiting for long and longer gaps before responding to a crying baby at night. Initially, you can begin by waiting for two minutes, then extend it to four the next night, six the following night, and so on. The idea is to give your baby more time to self-soothe and probably go back to sleep. Even though there is sufficient evidence to support these two strategies, remember to consult your pediatrician as they might not work on your baby. What Keeps Babies From Sleeping Through the Night? Sometimes, the difficulty in sleeping continuously at night is as a result of the following factors: Separation Anxiety After a few months, infants grow very close to their parents and become fearful when they are away from them. Thus, if they wake up in the middle of the night and find themselves all alone in the crib, they might start crying. Picking your baby up for cuddling or rocking at such a time to let him know you are still there is one way to comfort him and calm the situation. However, this is not always ideal. Granted, it will bring the two of you closer, but it might lead to never-ending separation anxiety. As he grows older, don’t pick him from the crib. Instead, talk and soothe him back to sleep while in there. In the end, he will understand that the parents are close by and will be less fearful. Hunger Hunger is one of the most common causes of interrupted sleep at night. Keep interactions to a minimum when feeding so that your baby falls back asleep quickly after filling up. Sharing the Bed When sleeping, snoring or movements can startle your child, causing him not to sleep. Additionally, bed-sharing is very risky because you, your blankets, and pillows raise the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) occurring due to suffocation. Changing Environment Infants are super sensitive to their surrounding environments, and changes can cause reflexes that wake them up. For instance, if you turn on the lights, make a noise, or adjust the thermostat, you will most likely interrupt their sleep. Try to keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and at a constant temperature. When To Visit the Pediatrician If Your Baby Is Not Sleeping Through the Night? If you are worried about your child’s sleeping patterns, or if things don’t improve after hitting the one-year age milestone, talk to your pediatrician to determine the cause of the problem. Remember, babies are sensitive to changes in the environment. If you travel regularly, this might be the problem. Share all information with the expert for quick and accurate diagnosis. You should also consult the doctor if your child exhibits any of the following: Snores It is common for newborns to have noisy breathing when sleeping because their nasal passages are small. A little bit of mucus or dryness can produce some noise that sounds like snoring. However, as they grow older, the airways expand, and the snoring stops. If it continues, the labored breathing plus carbon dioxide build-up in the partially blocked pathways can wake them up. The result will be sleep deprivation, which can affect health negatively. Has Difficulty Breathing Difficulty breathing or breathlessness can result from infections in the chest or pneumonia. To make sure your baby is healthy and breathing normally, please see our baby breathing monitors for more support. The situation is uncomfortable and will interfere with the sleeping patterns. Like snoring, it will most likely cause sleep deprivation, which would, in turn, cause other issues like poor weight gain, night terrors, etc. Is Super Fussy Fussiness is usually a sign of a sleepy baby, but extreme fussiness is a reason to worry. Whether it occurs at bedtime or after feeding, this issue might indicate the child has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Frequently Asked Questions How long does a newborn sleep at night? In total, newborns can sleep up to 17 hours daily, but not in one go. They rest lightly for about two-hour intervals day and night. How long does a 3-month-old baby sleep at night? 3-month-old babies can sleep for up to 15 hours a day in about three to four-hour shifts day and night. When will my baby start sleeping through the night? Usually, it takes around six months for a baby to have a sleeping schedule that includes over six hours of nighttime resting. However, this is the typical pattern, and infants are different. For the majority, it will happen on time. But for some, it may come earlier or later than six months. Wrap Up So, when do babies start sleeping through the night? An infant sleeping through the night is an important milestone, especially to the parents. It means having a peaceful, uninterrupted night and an end to sleep deprivation. However, this might take some time because your baby must grow into a stage of staying asleep for several hours first, which occurs at around month six to a year. So, hang in there. The first few months will be rough, but it gets easier further down the road, and the experience will come in handy if you plan to have more kids in the future.