Childbirth is a life-changing experience, and we understand if you feel overwhelmed. These little bundles of joy are extremely active during pregnancy, and most begin to kick around as early as the 18th week. Feeling your baby show movement as it grows inside you is reportedly one of the most profound joys of childbirth.
What Happens in the Womb?
That said, these movements are not always continuous or frequent because your baby spends most of its time peacefully snoozing in your womb. Not all mothers know this, and it often takes more than one pregnancy to get used to the erratic activity that your baby shows from time to time. If you are an expecting mother and eager to learn more about this aspect of pregnancy, read this feeling your baby in your stomach article.
As your pregnancy approaches its 32nd week, the baby begins responding to external stimuli like music or light. A couple of weeks before birth, the baby slows down because it’s too big to move around in most cases. Its routine goes back to a continuous sleep to build enough energy for birth. Once it’s out in the world, the baby usually doesn’t take long to settle into a regular sleep pattern.
A Newborn Baby Adjusts to the World
A newborn baby between 1-2 months old spends most of its time asleep, except when it wants to eat. A typical baby sleeps for 15 – 17 hours in a twenty-four-hour period spread over day and night. Each nap lasts for about an hour and is a mixture of deep and active sleep. Babies wake up on their own after every one-hour nap and need to be fed. One reason newborn babies sleep so much is that their stomachs are so tiny that they get filled very quickly. This causes them to get drowsy and fall asleep.
A Gradual Improvement in the Sleep Patterns
As they grow older and approach the three-month mark, babies tend to sleep relatively more during the night and become increasingly active in the daytime. As they grow to 3-6 months old, babies sleep for 12 – 15 hours a day. This is when they strongly start to prefer night sleep. Their daytime naps come down to 2-3 naps of a couple of hours each. They start noticing the presence and absence of sunshine and slowly adopt a corresponding sleep pattern.
Learning to Sleep Well at Night
As they get older and reach 6 – 12 months, their sleep drastically reduces. Babies now sleep for 11-14 hours every day. Their sleep schedule becomes closer to an adult’s, and they sleep much more during the night. Naps during the day last for a little more than 30 minutes and are much less frequent. They are also less likely to wake up during the night, but they no longer need the constant care they did before. This is the perfect time to slowly wean them away from night-time feeding and restrict nutrition consumption to the daytime.
During this period, there are several factors other than age that affect their sleep. They’re alert to their surroundings and show signs of crawling. This means that it’s even more important to create a comfortable place for them to sleep. Babies start to respond more to light and sound and stay awake if they find something that suits their fancy. Parents must ensure they do get enough sleep every day to avoid the development of sleep-related disorders.
Developing Attachments to Parents
This is also the age at which a child can develop separation anxiety. Their increased alertness level helps them identify when a parent leaves the room and cry out. As a result, some babies may wake up regularly at night or stay awake unless comforted. However, this is a short-term occurrence, and as they grow older, babies overcome this worry.
A baby starts settling into a sleep schedule around the 6-month mark, and as they grow, they develop a more adult-like sleep routine. During this period, you must monitor their sleep to ensure they do not develop any sleep-related disorders. Creating a chart and mapping their sleep across a week can help identify any deficiencies in sleep. Also, it can help a medical professional diagnose any illness that may crop up at this young age. Comparing the sleep of your baby with parenting guides and the advice of a pediatrician can help set healthy patterns of sleep for your baby.