The question, “How much sleep is enough?” is asked by parents worldwide. Although most parents are selfless and sacrificial when it comes to their children, concerns pop up regarding their sleep habits. Have you ever asked the following?
- Is my baby getting enough sleep to be able to grow and learn?
- Is my baby sleeping enough for their development?
- Does sleep on the move count?
- My baby likes to nurse through her nap. Is that good sleep?
Development and Sleep
Charts and books claim how much sleep is average or typical for babies. Parents are often concerned that if their child doesn’t meet these standards, they will not develop properly. One of the most straightforward myths to bust is that parents are causing their child harm by not helping them sleep better or even more.
First, it is imperative to remember all babies are different. Charts are useful as a baseline, but there will always be exceptions. If your baby is by and large happy and engaging, they are probably not suffering from lack of sleep. It makes no sense that suddenly babies are being pronounced sleep-deprived, which makes an impact on their mental and physical development. For all of history, babies have needed their parents to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
It is completely normal for children to wake up in the night. A developmental normal is not going to change overnight and be responsible for growth stunting and regression. To test if your baby can sleep longer, put them in their favorite location, whether a baby carrier, a stroller, a car seat, or even your arms, and see how long they sleep. If they still are sleeping for a short time, don’t stress. There are plans available for you to help them sleep longer.
Learning and Behavior Problems
A large concern is that if children do not get enough sleep, they will not reach their full potential academically. Parents worry that their child will have social conduct issues or behavior problems. Most studies you see about cognitive outcomes and school performance are about older kids who are sleeping much less than the recommended time.
More than 80 percent of little ones between 6-18 months wake up at least one to three times every night. These facts show it is not realistic that the lack of sleep is causing bad school performance or poor accomplishments.
Naps on the Move
Do you sleep well on a plane, in a car, or on the sofa? If you are like me, the answer is no! But does this apply to babies? Think of the many years that babies have been strapped to their mother’s back while doing her daily chores around the house. Babies are reminded of their in-utero life when they are in motion. From a sensory perspective, movement is regulating. If your baby’s favorite sleeping location is in-motion, it is not likely causing them to have poor sleep.
Babies are absolutely capable of nursing through their nap. The more naps a baby takes, the lighter and shorter the rest will be. A feed is more efficient when babies are not asleep, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t getting enough nourishment while eating while sleeping. If your little one isn’t gaining weight as expected, this may be another matter to look at.
Contact Petite Dreamers
A well-rested baby is curious, eager to learn, and happy. Louise Duncan of Petite Dreamers Sleep Solutions will provide you with practical and respectful solutions to produce healthy sleep habits for your baby or toddler. Connect with us today to receive a preliminary assessment.