Every parent knows that babies don't sleep in quite the same way that adults do. For one thing, infants need a lot more sleep: newborns will get anywhere from 10.5 to 18 hours of shut-eye every day.
But there are plenty more ways your baby's sleep might be different from your own, right down to the biological mechanisms behind their sleeping and waking patterns. Read on to find out what exactly is going on when you set your little one down on their baby crib sheets.
Babies need sleep to get sleep.
You might feel like you get the best night's rest after a long and tiring day, but infants don't process sleepiness in quite the same way. They need the calm and relaxation of sleep itself in order to get the most restful sleep. That means that a cranky, fussy baby will have a more difficult time falling asleep than one who is relaxed. The lesson? Don't worry about keeping your baby active until bedtime -- they'll sleep better if they're already relaxed.
A wet diaper won't wake them.
It probably comes as no surprise that infants will continue to wet their diapers while they sleep, but many pediatricians recommend not changing diapers during the night to prevent them from waking up and to encourage the start of a more regular sleeping pattern. Of course, this makes it all the more important to invest in waterproof sheets for baby cribs and a crib sheet protector for your mattress. A full diaper may not bother baby, but it will certainly bother you in the morning if it soaks through the diaper!
- Infant sleep cycles are light and quick.
Adults pass through a full cycle of sleep approximately once every 90 minutes. Babies go through the same cycle of light sleep to deep sleep and back to light about once every 50 to 60 minutes. This lightness helps them wake up when they're hungry and get the nourishment they need at regular intervals through the day and night -- much to the chagrin of many tired new parents.