Infant Sleep – Every Parent’s Nightmare

red-bear-child-childhoodWaking frequently to feed your newborn or infant is exhausting. Unrealistic expectations for so-called normal infant sleep patterns are very common. You may ask yourself if there is any such thing as a normal sleep pattern for infants; the answer is no.

A few babies will sleep all night long, but the majority of babies will not sleep through the night. Of the babies not sleeping through the night, some may wake once nightly whereas others may wake eight times. These babies may wake every night, most nights, or only occasionally. Some babies may have no distinct pattern at all. Your baby’s sleep pattern or lack thereof is not a reflection of your parenting.

A common question asked by parents is how many total hours their babies should be sleeping at a given age. You will find many different answers to that question. There is no one “right” answer; therefore, try not to focus on any specific number.

Misunderstandings of infant sleep patterns often lead to early weaning or formula supplementation in the breastfed baby, as well as overfeeding and early food introduction. These changes often do not lead to improved sleep.

In summary, there is no “normal” with respect to infant sleep patterns. Follow your baby’s cues. As long as your baby is happily growing and developing well, you should not be concerned about his chosen sleep habits.