Sleep pattern for babies important

ROUTINE – what’s that? Now that you are parents, every conscious thought seems to be totally ruled by this tiny bundle. You may be feeling anxious about establishing a “routine” as soon as possible but the reality is, that days that fly by (and nights that don’t) in a blur of feeding, burping and nappies have become a way of life.

Your baby is obviously dependent on you for nutrition and nurturing, but he needs you to help him make sense of, and manage, his sensory environment in order for his own and unique rhythm to develop.

It is out of this rhythm that a routine will develop without any conscious effort on your part.

Wouldn’t caring for your baby be so much easier if you understand how he experiences the world? A little stimulation and a lot of calming is essential in the first few months of your baby’s life, so work with your baby’s rhythm for the first few weeks, bearing in mind that his “awake” time (including feeds) will determine when he needs his next sleep.

In the early days he can manage to be awake for around 45 minutes before needing to sleep, stretching to about 60 minutes by six weeks of age. By the age of six weeks (even earlier if you are lucky), you have come to know your baby’s own unique rhythm.

Some babies are very easy going and settle into their sleep/wake/play/cry cycles quickly and easily, while others are not as self-regulated and need longer to settle into their own rhythm.

In the early days many babies have difficulty dealing with the world outside the womb, and can easily become over stimulated which may result in fussy and colicky behaviour. Your baby needs you to watch for signs of over-stimulation and fussing and to calm his environment if need be.

To establish a sensible rhythm in the first few weeks, remember that your baby will most likely not be able to stay awake happily for longer than 40 to 60 minutes before needing to go back to sleep again.

Remember to tune in to his signals and offer the appropriate solution.

Further information on Sister Ann’s visit from Lynette van Wyk, 074-888-7592.

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