We've all been there, slowly and tentatively lowering them on to the mattress, tiptoeing out of the bedroom - you could hear a pin drop. Yet still, their wonderful trip to the land of nod is rudely interrupted and the crying begins. All the hard work in sending your baby to sleep goes out of the window and it's another sleepless night. The answer, thankfully, lies in understanding Baby Sleeping Patterns.
How Babies Sleep
Sleeping is essential for the little ones - growing the first and foremost reason for dozing off, and their ability to become ultra-receptive to learning even whilst comatose is a small miracle of nature. However, because of this alertness during dozing, it's difficult should the brain awaken at any moment. For us, this isn't a problem; we've attuned to slipping back to sleep with ease. For the little ones, they're suddenly wide awake and unable to drift off again - and it's not a pleasant experience.
Baby Sleep Routine
The key to baby sleeping patterns lies in preparing your newborn with a routine. This is much like watching a film you've seen many times before - you've seen the sequence of events so often that your mind will automatically expect what's coming next. Similarly, if anything different were to happen, you'd feel slightly disorientated. There are a number of ways to prepare a routine that'll easily fit in to how you and your child usually operate - a wash or bath is a good way to relax, some quiet time that doesn't involved Baby toys or activity, or even set their feeding to an exact time so their body clocks can adapt. Finally, it's best to tuck them up while they're still awake, so drifting off with you is final part of the ritual.
Should they wake up, don't lose heart. Rituals can go perfectly but it sometimes won't break the baby's desire for feeding or, in other cases, simply wanting to wake up. The usual tell-tale signs can give away exactly what they need.
Baby's Short Daytime Naps
During the day, nap times are just as important as the long night time slumber. As a rule of thumb, naps tend to decrease over the baby's first year - three naps at three months, two naps at the sixth month, two shorter naps at the ninth, and when she's blowing out the candles on her first birthday cake, the majority of the sleeping time will be at night.