Baby sleep - Everything you have to know about it!


baby in crib

Sometimes seem that Babies and sleep are two things that do not fit in a perfect way. How much sleep is needed  and why should babies stay asleep?

 How can you help your baby to sleep? Dr. Frans Plooij, a leading expert in infant mental development, explains his point of view.


Sleep: an essential element for the brain

Learning and discovering a lot of new things is tiring, both for the body and for the brain, as all psychic developments happen to him. Apart from food, however, every brain needs rest too. So if your baby is well nursing and sleeping enough, it will facilitate his learning as well as discovery of new things.

Why does a baby sleep less during a mental "leap" as it grows up? And what does "mental leap" mean?

The world of your baby changes completely suddenly when he makes a "leap" in his spiritual development as he grows. The baby did not ask for this leap to happen and can not affect it at all, but suddenly everything is different for that. The baby is troubled as he feels something to change and you can see this if you notice his sleep pattern. Each child, of course, reacts differently to the various stimuli. A baby can almost completely stop sleeping during a phase of this leap, another may sleep less during the night and more during the day, while another may try to sleep but can not. As a parent, you should remember that these bad sleeping habits during such a spiritual growth leap, which can last for a week, are perfectly normal. Once this development leap is completed, your baby will sleep again better.

Mother's sleep problems during her baby's leap

If your baby does not sleep well and you will feel the effects of lack of a deep sleep. A mother may be more sensitive to these changes in her child's sleep habits than another. If you find you are so tired during the day that you almost fall asleep over your baby, it would be wise to rest in every possible way. Try to leave your obligations a while and sleep for at least one hour while your baby is asleep, or ask your partner to replace you for one night and take care of that baby when he wakes up during the night. If you are breast-feeding again, you can pump milk from your chest in the evening so that your partner can feed your baby during the night as long as you relax and you will draw the strength you need to take care of your baby the next.

How can I help my baby sleep well during a mental leap?

Most parents know very well that there is no magic formula to make your baby sleep as much as you want or as long as it should. I wish there was such a thing! But you can help him by giving him the ability to process and digest his new impressions of this leap, doing some very simple things. For example, try to be calm during these days when your baby goes through a leap. Throw away some things that are demanding and let it rest for a few days. It can be annoying to change your daily routine, or even harder, but in the long run & the baby and you, you will feel more comfortable and mostly quieter.

Babies too busy to sleep

Some babies have such a strong instinct to control their skills that they do not sleep until they see what they do. You can see this behavior already at a young age. These babies do not allow themselves to sleep before they reach their goal.
Such a situation requires many of them & of you. Such behavior may be something that can be very useful later in life, but at this young age children sometimes have to be protected from themselves. So give emphasis to trying to "praise" the child for the efforts to achieve what he wants, depending on his age, regardless of the end result. This way you distract your child from his or her goal. If you find that what he has in mind to do, requires a lot of effort by himself, help him take a break. The way to get it done is easy. Just take it from this demanding environment that it has "set" for a while and make something more peaceful with it, like reading a book with fairy tales.
Does a baby pretend to be asleep?
Some babies do not like being surrounded by a large group of people. So they close their eyes and sleep or pretend to be asleep. Many mothers find this all very embarrassing. They would like to show their friends this sweet smile and these beautiful eyes. But it is not wise to wake up your baby if he shows you that he would rather sleep or just relax. You will notice that as your little boy grows up, he will want your companions & friends, and then everyone can see how amazing they are. At the moment, however, follow his rhythms!

Can a baby have dreams?

What exactly are dreams and what makes us dream, is still a mystery. From research, we know at what stage of sleep people are dreaming. This is not the case in the deep sleep phase, but it happens in the phase called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), because during this phase the eyes move very fast.
The duration of dream sleep is reduced in the first year. Babies devote most of their night or day to sleeping dreams. Babies born after a 25-week pregnancy may even spend their entire sleeping time with dreamy sleep. During a 32-week pregnancy, this is done at 80%. At this point the first signs of "deep sleep" appear. Children born after full pregnancy may have 45% -65% of their sleeping hours in the dream sleep phase (REM). At the age of three months, 43% of their total sleep is in the REM phase, and in the twelve months the dream sleep phase is reduced to 30%. Once your baby grows up, only 20% of the total sleeping time is a dream sleeping time.
Because the periods of a baby's dream sleep are greater than ours, it seems logical to assume that a baby dreams more than we do. It is difficult to compare our sleeping phases with those of babies. Sometimes, as a parent, you will see that your baby has good and bad dreams. The question remains whether their dreams really have a "history" or whether they just dream of basic emotions and emotions they have experienced during their awakening.

How many hours of sleep do you need a baby?

All people, whether large or small, do not all need the same amount of sleep. The number of hours that our brain and nervous system have to rest is highly personalized. Another baby needs a baby, another baby needs a pre-school child and another older child. Of course for all ages, there are averages for the amount of sleep. An unborn baby sleeps on average 23 out of the 24 hours of the day on his mom's belly. Shortly after birth, an average newborn baby sleeps about 16 hours a day. However, sleep time may vary between 10 and 23 hours! A 4-year-old pre-school child usually sleeps for 12 hours and also sleeps at noon for 1-2 hours.

Help your baby process all the stimuli!

Some babies find life very interesting. Tired or not, they just want to continue exploring. The more stimuli they get, the more they seek new experiences. In a nutshell, these babies try to keep awake and not allow themselves to sleep. No matter how you organize your everyday life, these babies will be a constant challenge when they have to go to bed. And if dad or mom are the same temperament with your baby then you can not do much. A baby of such temperament requires more and more of you, but there is a reason for that! They are babies who have a lot of curiosity and are thirsty to learn new things.
However, one thing is absolutely clear: sometimes you have to protect these babies from themselves. A baby simply can not spend a whole day with little or no sleep. Try playing games with him that correspond to the mental state of your baby, at that moment. These are the games that train his skills, and they require most of his brain functions.
Chances are that your baby's innate curiosity will be satisfied. As soon as you notice that it starts to get tired, feel calm and relaxed. Do you want to bet that he is slowly getting ready for sleep?
happy baby