Does your baby sleep through the night, but babbles at dawn without letting you finish yours? And is this normal, and is it possible to change this rhythm which exhausts you? We talk about it with Marine Lhomme, childcare specialist specializing in baby sleep.
Do you love your baby’s smiles and calls? But those who appear at dawn exhaust you. But why doesn’t baby sleep later, when we know that to grow, he needs many hours of sleep. Marine Lhomme, childcare specialist in sleep, discusses for us the specificities of the rhythm of the little ones and how to tune in.
Longer but more broken sleep than that of an adult
Baby may wake you up early, but physiologically he sleeps much more than you. “A newborn sleeps on average 16 to 18 hours a day. reminds us of Marine Lhomme. Sleep distributed throughout the 24 hours, in periods of 3 to 4 hours. These long periods during which he sleeps are explained by a natural need: “Baby’s brain is constantly growing, and sleep allows this maturation. This is why it is important to never wake a sleeping baby, even to bathe, even to eat (with the exception of premature or low birth weight babies and on doctor’s advice) even to go out or greet friends.” develops our expert.
Why does baby sometimes wake up too early?
If our own rhythm of activity and sleep is governed by what we call the circadian rhythm (the alternation of day/night), it is different for newborns. “At birth, the baby has not acquired this day/night distinction: we then say that his organization is of the ‘ultradian’ type, during which he does not react to this alternation. This lasts approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Then the baby will be “rhythmic” with regular naps around 3 months.” It is therefore normal that during this time, he does not make much of the early hour to be heard. “It’s completely normal until around 6 months. Then we know today that the child will only adapt to the rhythm of adults from 12 or 18 months. You have to be patient!” continues Marine Lhomme. As a reminder, a baby who “sleeps through the night” is a baby who sleeps 5 to 6 hours in a row, that is to say who skips a bottle. Not a baby who sleeps 10 hours straight.
What can you try to prolong your night or postpone your awakening?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no point in putting a child to bed later! “Just because you put your baby to bed later doesn’t mean he or she will wake up later. On the contrary, by putting a baby to bed later than usual, he or she may be upset, will have more difficulty falling asleep, and may wake up more during the night. shares our expert.
But isn’t there anything you can do to grab a few dozen extra minutes and recover? If the awakening occurs in the middle of the night, what is important for the childcare worker is to leave the house “in the dark in peace so that the baby can go back to sleep easily after his bottle or feeding, taking care not to overstimulate him or talk to him too much.” If he is not embarrassed or if his diaper is not full, it is not always necessary to change it, to avoid further stimulating him.
“Finally, when he wakes up very early, too early, you can try to gently put him back to sleep, with his pacifier, caresses, so that he goes back to his sleep and can delay the first bottle of the day a little.” The rest is just patience and trust in the passage of time.