During periods of REM sleep, your baby does his or her active dreaming. The eyes will shift beneath closed lids, and there might even be movement like face twitching, facial motions, and jerking movements of the hands and feet. These are all perfectly normal signs of REM sleep. Non-REM sleep differs as it consists of four distinct phases-drowsiness, light sleep, deep sleep, and very deep sleep.
While transitioning from drowsiness to deep sleep, your baby will become less and less active and breathing will slow. During the deepest phase of sleeping, he or she will be virtually motionless and will not be dreaming. In the beginning, your baby will sleep about sixteen hours a day, divided into three or four hour naps spaced between feedings. Dont be surprised if your baby is more active in the late afternoon and evening hours. It will take some time before an established bedtime becomes consistent.
Also, predictable sleep patterns will take a while before they become a regular part of your babys routine. So, be patient, and dont expect your baby to sleep through the night for several months. To promote nighttime sleeping, keep evening feedings as subdued as possible. Dont turn up the lights or prolong late-night diaper changes. Instead of playing, put him or her right back to bed immediately after feeding and changing. Dont let daytime naps last longer than three or four hours, which will help train your baby to save extra sleep for nighttime.
Most babies are able to sleep through the night by about the time they reach three months, but periods of sleeplessness may reoccur especially when growth spurts or teething are evident. While generations of mothers were told to place their babies on their stomachs for sleep, recent information indicates that positioning a baby on his or her back is a safer position, particularly as it helps to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Researchers believe that a stomach-positioned infant may inhale less oxygen or eliminate less carbon dioxide because of rebreathing air.
It is also important to avoid placing your baby to sleep on soft, fluffy bedding such as pillows or duvets. A firm crib mattress covered by a sheet is the safest bedding. Health problems (From BBC News website) Cheryll Adams, of the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA), said the study showed the importance of supporting new mothers.
Mothers who were not getting enough sleep tended to become more stressed and suffer more from mental health problems, she said. "Small problems become large ones and the mothers can become very vulnerable. This study seems to suggest giving support to the mothers. "Telling a mother to leave her baby without support is often unsuccessful as an exhausted mother does not have the resources to deal with this." Penney Hames, of the National Childbirth Trust, and author of Help your baby to sleep, said the study showed the benefits of training babies to sleep alone by using methods used in years gone by. "This is what our grandparents used to do - pottering about downstairs and then popping in every few minutes to see how the baby was sleeping.
" But she stressed there were other ways of dealing with sleep problems and said she advocated the child sleeping with its parent. "This is the way children sleep in other cultures," she said.
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