A newborn baby spends the majority of the day asleep, which provides him/her with rest and rejuvenation. This article contains information on the new experiences encountered by your baby over the first year of life as he/she gradually reduces the number of sleeping hours.

 

Soon after birth your baby would be sleeping approximately 20 hours a day

During the first month of life your baby sleeps for around 20 hours of the day. He would only wake up when he’s hungry and quickly fall back to sleep once he is fed and may sleep for several hours on end. This isn’t a cause to be fearful as the number of hours your baby sleeps will progressively come down as he grows older.

 

Changes in your babys’ sleeping pattern throughout the first year

 

The first two months
Soon after birth your baby doesn’t differentiate between night and day and sleeps continuously, rousing only when hungry. A satisfactory feed and changing of nappies would quickly put him right back to sleep.

 

Two to four months of age
Gradually your baby tends to sleep more during night time and by the age of three months limits his sleep to 15 hours per day. Ensuring that at least 2/3rds of this period falls during the night brings great relief to the mother.

 

Five to seven months of age
The baby starts communicating with his parents thus day time sleep is further reduced. Night time sleep is confined to 8 – 9 hours.

 

Eight to twelve months of age
At this age your baby is usually playful during the day time and sleeps for eight hours at night.
If your baby sleeps excessively during the day it could be because he is suffering from Thyroxin deficiency and would even be sound asleep in situations where he isn’t completely fed.

 

Thyroxin hormone is synthesized by the thyroid gland and this process is controlled by iodine. When the amount of iodine in the body is insufficient, secretion of thyroxin is also diminished. This reduces the activeness of children and makes them sleepy and lethargic.

 

Causes for reduced sleep

  • Stomach colic
  • Ear aches
  • Blocked nose
  • Physical disorders (eg : Reduced function of the thyroid gland)

 

These and various other ailments may disrupt your babys’ sleep. Sometimes he may fall asleep but suddenly wake up crying within a short period of time. This could be a clue to the fact that your baby is suffering from some kind of sickness or disorder. It may also be due to the loud environment at your home which would hinder peaceful sleep.

 

Causes for excessive sleep

 

  • In some situations your childs’ sleep cycle maybe abnormal and hence as parents you have to pay attention to his sleeping pattern.
  • On rare occasions certain children may sleep beyond normal limits and you may observe that they are always asleep.
  • “Increased sleep” may be due to a physical illness and a common reason is a disorder of the thyroid gland.

 

Sleep is essential for the growth and development of your child

 

  • Soon after birth a healthy baby would sleep close to 20 hours. This is a normal phenomenon.
  • Sleep stimulates secretion of certain hormones essential for your childs’ growth.
  • Reduced sleep and lack of sleep both negatively affect growth and development of your child.
  • By the age of one there is a significant change in your childs’ sleeping pattern. Sleep is limited to 8 – 10 hours.
  • In some children sleeping times may change drastically. If the sleeping times during the day are delayed the remaining times may also be delayed. This is a normal occurrence.

 

Would should NOT be done to a sleeping child

You should never forcefully wake the child up to give food or milk as this can adversely affect his nutrition and mental health.

 

Signs and symptoms of reduced function of the thyroid gland

  • Poor sucking of milk
  • Continuous yellowish discolouration of the body
  • Roughened skin of the face
  • Rough voice
  • Protrusion of tongue outside the mouth

 

Presence of these features should make you suspect thyroxin deficiency. Such babies sleep excessively and continue to sleep even in situations where they aren’t properly fed.

Thyroxin hormone is synthesized by the thyroid gland and this process is controlled by iodine. When the amount of iodine in the body is insufficient, secretion of thyroxin is also diminished. This reduces the activeness of children and makes them sleepy and lethargic.

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