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Infant sleep – why is it so erratic and why teaching a baby independent sleep will help them thrive?

For the first 6 months from the moment your baby is born, a lot of development happens.

They don’t know the difference between day and night, there is no circulation of cortisol and melatonin for the first 3 months which is why their sleep is so erratic, irregular and frequently alternates between sleep and waking. Let me explain some basic differences so you can understand your baby’s sleep and also rest assured this crazy phase will pass!

sleep stages

So you know we can differentiate 5 sleep stages.

However, these distinct sleep stages do not develop until 6 months of age. Babies alternate between light (REM) and quiet (NON-REM) sleep. What is more, unlike babies 6mo and older, infants do not begin their sleep cycles with deep sleep. They begin their sleep cycle with light sleep which is why they can be easily awoken. Furthermore, infants spend 50% of their sleep in light sleep and they go through more sleep cycles than adults! While adult’s (or even a preschooler’s) sleep cycle lasts c. 90 minutes, infant sleep cycle last between 30 – 50 minutes .

Now you know where these night wakings come from – infants just go through many sleep cycles a night. Helping them learn independent sleep will make it easier for them to transition from one cycle to the next, reducing the amount of night wakings and giving them restorative and healing sleep they need to grow, develop and thrive.

I am well aware of the stereotypes around sleep training. I have worked with families for over a decade and know what concerns parents’ are. Sleep training is not cry-it-out, it’s not leaving a baby so they can cry themselves to sleep. Sleep training is a process of helping a baby learn to sleep well. Just think how well, happy, creative you feel when you’re rested – why not give your baby tools to do the same! A reputable sleep consultant, like myself, will tailor the method right for a family’s dynamic. I am so looking forward to launching my sleep coaching packages soon!

1 thought on “Infant sleep – why is it so erratic and why teaching a baby independent sleep will help them thrive?

  1. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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