Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Patterns

There are a few tricks to understanding your baby’s sleep patterns. It’s important to note that baby sleep cycles are completely different to adult’s and even to other children’s. Every baby is different to the next, so it’ll take a little time to recognise your little one’s sleep patterns and sleep cues, but you’ll get there eventually. Here are a few tips to help you along the way…

How much sleep do babies need?

In general, babies tend to need the following amounts of sleep to support their healthy development:

  • Newborns – around 16 hours
  • 3 month olds – around 15 hours
  • 2 month olds + – around 12 hours

Babies get their sleep, not all in one go at nighttime, like us, but in little bursts throughout the day and night.

What does newborn sleep look like?

Here’s what a newborn baby’s sleep cycle looks like:

When they first fall asleep, they go into what we call ‘active sleep’. Active sleep is similar to REM sleep in adults and babies are more likely to wake up throughout this period. Newborns spend around 50% of their time in ‘active sleep’ and you’ll likely notice their eyelids fluttering, hands clenching and bodies making movement.

Once baby is settled and about halfway through their cycle, they go into what’s known as ‘quiet sleep’. During ‘quiet sleep’ a baby is in a deeper sleep and more likely to display slower breathing and less movement. From there, a baby will either wake up, or move back into an ‘active sleep’ phase.

That’s the basics of your baby’s sleep patterns. As mentioned, every baby is different, so it’s normal to see some variation from the details listed here. If there’s anything more I can help with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Sleep sweetly and deeply x

Header Image 📸 @littlewhitephotography