SingaporeMotherhood | Baby & Toddler

March 2012

Is My Baby Sleeping Enough?

Newborn sleep is strange. These brand new creatures of the world can nod off to construction clamour, rock music, and sibling racketeering. But they also wake very often, and can’t seem to understand that you need your beauty sleep at night. In fact, your swaddled bundle with that intoxicating new-baby smell rules the house with her tiny (mittened) fist and her irregular sleeping patterns. No wonder you’re exhausted. What happened to sleeping like a baby? Here’s a tip or two: Don’t expect too much. Don’t over-think. All this will pass and you will – promise! – enjoy eight blissfully uninterrupted hours of sleep again one day.


Newborns / 0-3 months

You probably suspected it while Baby was in the womb having her private rave party at 3am in the morning. Babies have no circadian rhythm or internal biological clocks so they have no sense of day and night. At the moment, they exist for self-gratification: they wake when hungry and sleep when they’re tired.
Time asleep 15 – 18 hours, in short stretches of between two and four hours, with two or three naps during the day. Premature infants tend to sleep more, while colicky ones sleep less. Breastfed infants wake earlier as breast milk is very quickly digested.
Help baby sleep better Teach Baby the difference between night and day. Keep her surroundings light and bright during the day, and dim lights at night. Make day feeds active and fun, with singing, conversation and movement. Night feeds should be quiet and focus only on feeding.

3 – 6 months

Baby should be able to sleep for a longer period at night (4 – 6 hours) and stay awake for a longer time during the day. By six months, most babies are down to two naps a day.
Time asleep 14 – 16 hours. Baby will still be waking at night for feeds, but she spends longer periods asleep at night. She’ll also be awake more during the day, giving you opportunities to introduce active play into her life.
Help baby sleep better Introduce a bedtime routine, if you haven’t already done so. After her last feed for the day, let baby play for a while, then give her a warm bath. A light massage after the bath will soothe her and help to calm her down further. After Baby is dressed in her sleepsuit, dim the lights, play some music, read or sing to her, enjoy cuddles, then put her to bed.

6 – 12 months

Baby is more mobile now and that may contribute to her waking at night. Stick with your preferred method of getting her to settle back to sleep.
Time asleep 12 – 14 hours. By age one, she may be taking only one nap a day. You may want to give her an earlier bedtime to avoid fatigue-driven crankiness.
Help baby sleep better Baby should be used to her bedtime routine by now. Be consistent as this will help reinforce good sleep habits so that she will be able to fall asleep anywhere. “It was a blessing when we travelled, as my son instinctively knew that it was bedtime each time I started the bath-book-bed routine and would fall asleep with no problem,” shared Cheryl Lim, 36, a stay-at-home-mum to one-year-old Anthony.

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Is My Baby Sleeping Enough?