What Parents Need to Know about Baby Sleep

When you’re pregnant, everyone seems to have something they want to tell you. They want to tell you how your baby will behave, how you should parent, and everything else under the sun. They tell you what they think about how baby should sleep, too. The fact of the matter is, however, every baby is different. Your baby may act vastly different from some other baby.

Still, it’s helpful to get some basic guidelines and keep them in mind. Here are the minimums you need to know about baby sleep:

  • Few babies fit the exact norms. If your baby is sleeping through the night by two weeks of age, congratulations! You’ve beat the averages. On the other hand, if she’s still not sleeping through the night at the age of three months, don’t be surprised. You’ve “beat” the averages, as well.
  • Sleep is a dynamic issue. Your baby’s sleep patterns are going to change dramatically, not just over the next couple of months when it’s most visible, but over the next five years or so. How often your child wakes up, rolls over, or needs to soothe himself back to sleep can be very different today than it will be in three months.
  • Sleep is important. Your baby’s brain needs some down time to grow and develop. On top of that, your baby can become edgy from not having enough sleep just like you can. Sleep affects mood, development and so much more. Not getting enough sleep can even increase your baby’s susceptibility to infections.
  • Your doctor can be a wonderful resource in regard to sleep. If you think your baby isn’t sleeping enough or sleeping too much, she may be able to help. Chances are pretty good that she’s going to ask about your baby’s sleep habits at well visits, too. If not, you should most definitely bring up any concerns that you might have.
  • There are things you can do to help your baby sleep. There are many things – from setting the environment to helping baby learn to self-soothe – that you can do in order to promote sleep for your baby.