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Your Babies Sleeping Habits

Whether you are first time parents or have had children before, making your baby fall asleep on time is a challenge. Their sleep pattern usually differs from that of the other household members and when the rest of the house is fast asleep, they decide to wake up and with them arouse the entire household.

The chances that a baby will have sleep problems go up if he’s a boy, is the first child or is prone to colic or ear infections. No matter how good a sleeper your baby is, you're bound to run into a problem or two eventually. It may be something health-related, such as a cold or an infection, or something rooted in your baby's behavior, such as head banging or night terrors. The good news is that most of the things that interrupt your baby's sleep are temporary; the bad news is that while they're happening, neither you nor your baby is likely to get much sleep.

First time parents are often more anxious about attending to their first born and because of their inexperience with children, let bedtime routines and rules slide. Boys are more vulnerable to many problems that can interfere with sleep and babies who have frequent ear infections or bouts of colic tend to wake up at night when they don't feel well - then continue that pattern. But parents need not worry too much that their child has a serious sleeping disorder as fewer than 10 percent of infants have a true sleep disorder, rooted in a physiological condition.

The sleep pattern of a baby is unique, determined as much by the baby’s temperament and stage of development as by its environment. It takes about six weeks before a newborn starts sleeping longer during the night than the day. Until then parents should expect the baby to sleep in blocks of two to four hours around the clock. From 3 months on, the baby should start staying up longer and longer during the day - extending its periods of wakefulness from four to eight hours.

It is vital to set aside time for your child to relax and take a nap during the day. Babies may resist naps if they get overtired and don't have a regular nap schedule or if they've been over stimulated by a special event such as a birthday party or a trip. But nap time is very important to set a proper sleep pattern.

Look for the telltale signs of sleepiness - eye-rubbing, ear-pulling, or fussiness - and get him to bed as soon as you spot them. Make sure to put your baby to sleep as soon as you site these signs because if he gets overtired, he’ll have a tough time settling down to sleep.

Every baby has unique sleep needs, but in general, most infants take two to three naps a day by age 4 months. By 6 months, 90 percent take two naps a day, eventually dropping to one by their second birthday. Up to age 6 months, most babies are ready to take a nap 1 1/2 to 2 hours after waking up in the morning.

Breastfed babies are more prone to night waking because breast milk is easier to digest than formula. Their stomach empties out, they get hungry sooner and the hunger wakes them up. Also, if you're in the habit of nursing your child at bedtime, he may have a hard time falling asleep on his own because he associates breastfeeding with sleep.


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