Infant sleep patterns are not only what baby is born with and
naturally, but from research we know that also
and circumstances at
home influence sleep patterns:
temperament: easy-going babies who are happy overall,
usually in a good mood and sociable often sleep more and better than
their moodier peers.
sleeping sufficiently also has a positive effect on baby's
there is a bit of chicken-and-egg
parents: Parents with a natural calm, who live rather
regularly and restfully, have a positive effect on their baby's sleep
you are a busy person, or often nervous by nature, you can help your
baby with a regular routine and trying to include restful moments where
I know it's easier said than done, but if at all possible,
- maybe with some simple
relaxation techniques. The effect on your baby's sleep
patterns can be huge.
stimulating or busy baby's day is:
Babies who have very active days, with a lot of activities, noise and
people around, tend to sleep less and for shorter stretches. Of course
no need to ban all activity from baby's life: activities are also good
for her development and above all for fun!
baby's environment will be peaceful and restful, but with several fun
activities specked throughout the day.
differences also affect baby sleep patterns, as many studies have
range from where baby sleeps (in parents room/bed or not), when she
goes to sleep (early or late nights), is being carried (from all day in
sling to never) to how much parents tend to entertain their
baby (from constantly offering stimulating toys to 'leave
breast feeding and bottle feeding have their influence on infant sleep
patterns. Neither one of them is good nor bad; they're just different.
Breast feeding is
adjusted to baby's needs: it is light and easily digested. It does make young babies sleep relatively lightly which is an advantage since easy arousal is important when very young.
Parents usually do not report poor sleep due to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding hormones are found to help regulate baby's sleep as they
make baby drowsy and sleepy.
Formula feeding is
heavier and, with a full stomach, baby may sleep a bit longer on
average. Over-feeding is possible though and may make baby sleep longer
naturally would, which is not ideal in very young babies. Always avoid huge feeds as last before bed and ensure to monitor your baby closely.
Formula is not
a guarantee, or 'magic trick' for sleeping through: many parents
have tried, or have been advised, to switch from breastfeeding to formula hoping for longer nights. Sadly the effect is often the reverse: digestive issues often make sleep more difficult.
Refer to the baby
sleep patterns page for further practical tips on
how to steer your child's natural infant sleep patterns.