Baby Crying To Sleep
Jessica only needs ten hours sleep a day. I remember asking at her six-week check-up whether ten hours sleep a day was enough. If she has a two-hour nap she goes to bed with me for eight hours. If she goes to bed at 7pm she will wake up at 3am and be ready to start the day, so it is easier if she keeps the same hours as me.’
A Sense of Rhythm
Most adults and older children have a diurnal pattern of sleeping and waking – we sleep at night and wake in the day. Your new-born baby has no such pattern. He is missing two things: the physiological maturity to be able to do it and your guidance. Once he has developed the first, he can make use of the second.
By the end of the first month most babies start to fit in with the adult pattern. But a thorough going awake-most-of-the-day-sleep-all-night rhythm doesn’t usually appear until three or four months when your baby’s physiology is mature enough.
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Breathing in Sleep
Babies often pause in their breathing for anything up to a few seconds at a time while they sleep. This is quite normal and your baby will spontaneously begin to breathe again. Often your baby of less than four months will wake as his breathing pauses, and this kick-starts his breathing into action again. As he matures, your baby begins to breathe more regularly, without pausing, and at the same time he wakes less frequently.
Babies are very adaptable, and amazingly competent, but at birth they still need a lot of physical, close and loving support from their parents to help them adjust to an independent life. Researchers have found that touching, stroking and holding your baby has a marvellous effect on his ability to regulate his breathing and his temperature – and that this is as true at night as it is in the day. (See Chapter 4 for a fuller discussion of this point.)