Parents of new babies quickly discover that life just isn’t going to be the same anymore. Babies operate on a much different schedule than most adults are accustomed to. Of course, there are reasons for this. Babies don’t enter periods of deep sleep as quickly as adults do, nor do they stay in deep sleep as long. While most adults’ sleep cycles alternate between light sleep and deep sleep every 90 minutes or so, babies’ sleep cycles average less than an hour. And whereas adults can usually drift easily from light sleep back into deep slumber, most babies are easily awakened during periods of light sleep by hunger or other factors.
So, how is a new mom to get enough rest for herself? To be sure, it’s more of an art than a science. The bottom line is for mothers to get adequate sleep in the first six months of baby’s life, they will have to learn to sleep fast, taking a nap or two while their infant is sleeping. But to do this, you actually have to get baby to drift off to sleep and stay asleep long enough to catch a few winks yourself.
Moms can help themselves by making sure baby is actually in deep sleep before laying him down. Most parents know what it means to spend what can seem like hours rocking a fussy baby until she finally nods off to sleep, only to have her wake up and start crying again when you lie her down. Often, this is because the baby is in a light sleep cycle. Continue to rock your sleeping darling for another fifteen or twenty minutes after she has fallen asleep, and she will enter a deep sleep cycle, sleeping longer and allowing Mom some much needed rest.
Babies sleep between fourteen and eighteen hours per day. While they are unlikely to sleep through the night until after they are at least six months old, they do drift off to sleep more often, allowing moms a chance to rest up. During these times, it’s important that you get your rest. Taking care of a baby is a tiring, sometimes exhausting undertaking, and you need to be at your best. Knowing that baby won’t sleep through the night for several months, and that you won’t either, be pro active about lying down and getting a little shut eye when baby does.