Sleep is important for the child’s wellbeing and growth. At night, the body produces more of the hormones that stimulate growth.
A newborn baby sleeps for 10 to 19 hours. Bottle-fed babies generally sleep longer than breastfed babies. Sleep periods are separated by one to two hours of staying awake. There is no specific pattern of daytime/night-time sleep in the first few weeks. The sleep of about eight to nine hours during the day is evenly distributed.
- An infant (two months to one year) has an average sleep of 12-13 hours. But remember there are lots of individual variations during sleep. The night-time sleep is about nine to ten hours. Naps range from three to four hours
- A toddler (one to three years) has an average sleep of 11- 13 hours. The nighttime sleep is between 9-11 hrs and the naps decrease from two to one at 15 months.
- A preschooler (three to five years) has an average nighttime sleep of nine to ten hours. She may or may not take a nap during daytime.
- During middle childhood (6-12 years) she sleeps for 9 to 11 hours
- During adolescence, she sleeps for about eight hours
- If the child is one year old and sleeps 10 hours each day, it’s perfectly OK, as long as she is happy and healthy.
- Before parents start to worry about the length of time their child sleeps, they should look at the sleeping pattern of other family members. There may be a connection.
A crying baby often settles down soon. She should, therefore, be given time to do so. If she does not, go in and reassure her that you’re there without providing any stimulation.
If an older girl who usually sleeps through night gets up, something has obviously upset her. You can go in and reassure her. Again try not to do more than the minimum, so that she goes back to sleep.
A baby who cries persistently may need her parents’ attention. As soon as you enter the room your child feels safer. You may stoke her head and back, or tuck your baby up in bedclothes. Make her feel that you are there, and she will go back to sleep.
A persistently crying child needs to be reassured that she is not alone in the world. This doesn’t mean that you have to feed or entertain her.
If your child cries unexpectedly, you should always make sure that she isn’t sick or running a fever.
If a child is between four and six months old, it probably takes three or four nights to teach her to sleep through the night. If the child is older than six months, it may take one or two weeks.
Each time the child wakes up during the night, stroke her head and back. If she doesn’t go back to sleep, she may need nappy changing.
Try to do this without turning the lights on and with minimal interruption. After this, your child may sleep for another hour. If that doesn’t work, offer the child some water. By doing this you might help your baby sleep through the night.
You can have a nightdress into which she can be changed. Repeat the same activity every night when she is put in the cot.
Parents may find it enjoyable for the first few months. It, however, turns out to be a tedious exercise later on as the baby does not fall asleep unless rocked. Young babies can learn to sleep unaided from an early age. Therefore, let your baby learn to sleep on her own.
Try to make her sleep a little later in evening than usual.
She can take the toys as long as they are soft and cuddly. Be sure they are clean. However, don’t overfill her cot with soft toys as they may suffocate her.
There is no hard and fast rule about daytime sleep. But usually she takes one nap in the afternoon. You should try to prevent late night naps. If she begins to sleep late in the night, ensure that she avoids daytime sleep altogether or reduces the nap period.