Is Your Baby Sleeping Too Much? A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Sleep Patterns

Welcome to the world of parenting, where the concept of sleep becomes both a thing that you cannot get enough of and something you wish lasted for just a few more moments. As a parent, you are not sure what to feel about your baby’s sleep patterns; it's like being on an emotional rollercoaster. It is all part of the journey from wondering if they sleep enough or too much. In this guide, we will break down different stages in babies’ normal development and provide tips on what to do when your baby sleeps more than normal.

Understanding Baby Sleep Patterns:

Most days, babies, especially newborns, spend hours asleep. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the required amount of sleeping time changes with age, and what may be acceptable for a newborn may not work well for older infants.

Newborns (0-3 months):

Sleep Total: Generally speaking, 14-17 hours per day can be called “normal,” for a newborn’s sleep, divided into several naps throughout the day and night.

What’s Normal: It is not unusual for newborns to have long stretches of sleep up to four hours at once because their sleep-wake cycles are still developing. The key here is to make sure that's happening during the night and not during the day. Read more about day/night confusion for newborns.

Tips:

Celebrate Newborn Snoozes: Letting your child take frequent short naps during the daytime as per his/her tiredness cues would be helpful.

Start Slow Calming Bedtime Routine: Begin by instilling soothing activity that would trigger your little one into having longer periods of restful nights.

What If They're Sleeping Too Much?

Inability To Be Roused For Feeding: While it is common for newborns with day/night confusion to want to sleep more during the day (and thus try to skip feedings); any excessive drowsiness where they won’t wake up easily could mean there is something wrong.

Lack Of Proper Weight Gain: Extreme sleepiness in a newborn who is unable to feed well might be an indication of poor weight gain, which may imply that they need to be woken up often for more frequent feeds. This could also be from jaundice, so it's important to make sure your pediatrician is aware and monitoring if your child is excessively sleepy, hard to rouse, and skipping feedings.

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3-6 Months:

Sleep Total: This age range needs about 12-16 hours of sleep per day with the majority occurring at night.

What’s Normal: Most babies start having patterns showing their development consistency usually by the third or fourth month, like longer sleep stretches during the night and regular napping times. This is because their circadian rhythm is developed.

Tips:

Keep an eye out for Nap Transitions: Babies around 4-6 months old might begin shifting from having multiple short naps to only enjoying a few long ones.

Develop Independent Sleep Habits: Assist your child in falling asleep on his/her own by putting them down awake in their sleep space if you're having trouble transferring them while they're asleep.

What If They're Sleeping Too Much?

Oversleeping: Infants within this age group will still require a lot of sleep every day; anything beyond the average range for these ages could mean that they are oversleeping. That isn't a bad thing though! If they're reverse cycling (taking in more feedings overnight than during the day), lethargic, or not active during wake times, then they could be sleeping too much. Try to keep total day sleep to around 4 hours.

If your baby is sleeping too much during the day, he/she may find it difficult to get into a better nighttime sleeping pattern.

7-12 Months:

Sleep Total: Approximately, 12-14 hours per day needed with the major portion being captured at night for babies belonging to this group.

What’s Normal: When babies become more active and mobile, they may fight off sleep or experience breaks in their sleeping schedule due to developmental stages such as crawling and teething.

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Tips:

Stick to a Regular Schedule: A routine nap and bedtime can help set a baby’s internal clock. We try to have 2 naps a day at this age, spaced equally apart and about 3 hours total during the day.

Having these nap times around the same time each day can help your baby develop more sleep regulation and stability.

During the waking hours, these kids are normally more active and may have increased alertness and interest in their surroundings.

Disturbed night sleep: If you find that your baby sleeps excessively during the day, they may not get as tired by bedtime, leading to shorter stretches of nighttime sleep or frequent night waking. They may also start to refuse subsequent naps.

13+ Months:

Sleep Total: It is said that toddlers need an average of 11-14 hours of sleep a day which happens mostly at night time.

What's Normal: Some toddlers begin resisting naps or having bedtime battles as they become young children wanting to be independent little people.

Tips:

Keep Nap Needs Under Watch: Some kids may start dropping their morning nap around 15-18 months, maybe earlier. Keep total day sleep to around 2-3 hours.

Lay out Sleep Expectations Clearly: Boundaries should be established concerning bedtime and nap times to teach your toddler when it is time to fall asleep.

Refusal napping: If a toddler or young child resists napping or has difficulty in the afternoon nap period, then it can mean over-napping during the day.

Trouble settling for bed at night time: Too much day sleep can lead to excessive overnight wakings, and split nights and he/she may find it hard to calm down for bed hence starting off the bedtime battles or prolonged episodes of wakefulness overnight.

Remember also that these symptoms must always be evaluated in connection with your baby’s general health condition and growth. For any queries regarding the way your child sleeps, there is no mistake like contacting a professional pediatrician who will provide personalized advice and guidance to you regarding this issue.

Every child is different; what it takes to get one to sleep will not do so for another. In case you are worried about your baby’s sleep patterns, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor who can guide you and offer support. With this information on the needs of your baby as far as their sleep is concerned, together with a conducive environment for sleeping, it is possible to nurture good sleeping habits that may benefit them throughout their lives.
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