Sleep is a skill we need to learn – you can’t just turn it on and off – and it is one of the first skills you need to teach your baby. One in three children, under the age of five, do not have this skill; and out of these children, 30 per cent are said to have serious sleep problems. When adults get tired they tend to slow down, but when a child or baby gets tired the opposite occurs, and they will speed up and become hyperactive.
An interesting study published in BBC News Online (24th April 2004), suggests that sleep problems in babies could lead to drug problems in the teenage years. This is the first study to look at the relationship between children’s sleep problems and substance abuse in later life. Researchers from the University of Michigan claim that early sleep disruption does not mean a child will have substance abuse problems as a teenager, but that it could be a ‘marker’ for later issues. This is one more reason that parents should focus on healthy sleep habits for their children.
Everyone is different in the amount of sleep they need, but the table below gives the average amount that I recommend.
Some babies will sleep a lot more, and other’s slightly less.
|Age||Total hours in
a 24 hour period
during the day
|Newborn||15 to 17 hours||10 11 hours in 2 5 hour blocks||5 to 6 hours||3 to 5|
|4 weeks||15 to 17 hours||10 – 11 hours (broken for feeds)||5 to 6 hours||3 to 4|
|3 months||16.45 hours||12 hours (broken for feeds)||4.45 hours||2 sleeps and 1 nap|
|5 months||16.15 hours||12 hours (broken for feeds with the dreamfeed)||4.15 hours||2 sleeps and 1 nap|
|7 months||16 hours||12 hours||4 hours||2 sleeps|
|9 months||15 hours||12 hours||3 hours||2 sleeps or 1 longer sleep and 1 nap|
|12 months||14 hours and 30 minutes||12 hours||2 hours and 30 minutes||1 sleep or 1 longer sleep and 1 nap|
|18 months||14 hours and 15 minutes||12 hours||2 hours and 15 minutes||1 sleep|
|2 years||14 hours||12 hours||2 hours||1 sleep|
|3 years||13 hours||12 hours||1 hour||1 nap|
Please note that a sleep is when your baby sleeps for more than one sleep cycle; a nap is when your baby only sleeps for one sleep cycle or less.
And don’t forget…
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I wish you every success.