WHY DOES MY BABY WAKE UP AFTER 45 MINUTES?
Your baby’s sleep cycles during the day are approximately 45 minutes long. It takes a baby 10-20 minutes to move from a light sleep to a deep sleep and then the complete cycle is 45 minutes. Every 45 minutes your baby wakes fully; this helps prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as your baby isn’t staying in a deep sleep for prolonged periods of time. Some babies stir briefly and go back to sleep quickly, while others need help to re-settle. White noise and a dark sleep space can help encourage your baby to go back to sleep after one sleep cycle.
WHY DOES MY NEWBORN ONLY SLEEP WHEN HE’S ON ME?
Your baby has been inside you for nine months (three trimesters), and the first three months outside the womb are often referred to as the fourth trimester. During the first three to four weeks especially, babies can be very hard to settle away from their parents. Your smell, touch, voice – everything about you – is calming for your baby so it is very common for newborns to fall asleep easily while feeding or being cuddled. Rest assured, you are not spoiling your baby or doing anything “wrong”. Holding to sleep can become a deep-rooted sleep association if it is the only way you lull your baby to sleep for a good 12 weeks or more. If you mix it up and succeed with sometimes rocking, sometimes using a dummy, sometimes walking or patting, then your baby won’t develop any deep-rooted associations and with time they will begin to self-settle.
WHEN WILL MY BABY DROP A NAP?
For the first three months your baby will probably have three to four naps a day. These might not be very long if they are having four naps a day and if your baby has a late bed time they might even have five naps! Once they are three months their sleep should have matured a little and settled down into three naps a day. Between seven to eight months most babies are ready to drop their third nap and be awake from 2.30/3.30pm until bed time. This two-naps-a-day schedule will stick around until your baby is 15-18 months, when they will be ready to drop to one sleep. We recommend they drop the morning sleep and stick with an afternoon nap. This afternoon nap will be your toddler’s nap until they are two and a half to three years old! If you notice your baby fighting any naps, try to give them two weeks before you drop a nap completely as they might just be having a regression.
WHEN CAN MY BABY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?
Sleeping through the night by definition is only six to eight hours, so your baby could be sleeping 7pm-7am with a feed overnight and this would be considered sleeping through the night. Similarly, sleeping 7pm-7am with a feed at 10pm is also sleeping through the night. This is physically possible (if your baby is thriving and feeding well) once your baby is around 6.5kg, but lots of babies are not ready neurologically until they are four months or older. Sleeping 12 hours at night is not usually something we would expect until your baby is well established on solids after six months, especially in a baby that is breastfed.
MY TODDLER IS REFUSING HIS NAP. WHAT CAN I DO?
Try not to drop to one nap until 15-18 months. Reducing daytime sleep too soon results in early wake-ups and night sleep problems. If your toddler is refusing their second nap but takes their first nap, they are not ready for one nap. Shorten your first nap until the second nap re-consolidates. Refusing the first nap for two weeks is a clear sign your mini toddler is ready for just one nap a day.