Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
95
Infant Sleep Transitions: The First 6 Months
September 5, 2022

Found in age groups

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

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Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 95Infant Sleep Transitions: The First 6 Months

During the first 6 months, there are predictable transitions regarding healthy baby sleep:

  • Starting a few days after birth, there is increasing late afternoon or evening fussiness, crying, and wakefulness that peaks around 6 weeks of age (all ages are counted from the due date, not the birth date).
  • After 6 weeks of age, most babies (80%) have less fussiness and crying.
  • After 6 weeks of age, your baby’s brain wants an earlier bedtime.
  • After 6 weeks of age, the longest single sleep period (4-6 hours) regularly occurs at night; the night sleep rhythm develops.
  • After 3-4 months, a regular midmorning nap emerges and later, a regular midday nap emerges; the day (nap) sleep rhythm develops.
  • During the first few months, nighttime feedings become fewer.

The timing of these transitions are approximations, but they do apply for the vast majority of infants. 

However, some infants (20%) have colic and difficulty settling at night until they are 2-4 months old, and some infants have only brief and/or more frequent naps until 9 months old.

Also, some parents are unable to put their baby to sleep when drowsy but awake (Blog Post 9) and some parents respond to every sound their baby makes with an unnecessary feeding (Blog Post 11).  

Because of individual variation within your child (Blog Posts 14 and 94) and issues within the parents (Blog Posts 1718), it is important to be flexible and nonjudgmental.

My baby sleep advice, during the first 6 months, is simple:

  1. Watch your baby, not the clock, and anticipate healthy infant sleep transitions.
  2. Begin soothing your baby to sleep as soon as your baby appears to become drowsy; try to not delay sleep times.
  3. Feed your baby at night if, and only if, you think your baby is hungry; sometimes, at night, try other soothing methods.

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