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Sleep and Settling

Information about sleeping and settling

Sleep is necessary for a child’s healthy growth and development, particularly in maintaining a strong immune system.

Children who sleep and eat well are often happier and less irritable.

Typical Sleep Patterns

    • Sleep patterns are noticeable in utero during the latter half of pregnancy.
    • Cycle times vary between 40-60mins.
    • Periods of sleep represent about 50% at 30weeks and 60% near term.

Birth to 12 Months

    • Babies will show signs they are ready for sleep after 1-1.5 hour of wakefulness.
    • Total sleep time per 24 hours lasts 14-18 hours
    • Sleep cycles develop around 4 months of age ranging from 30-50mins.
    • Try to resettle if the child wakes before one hour of sleep during the day – this encourages the transition from one sleep cycle to the next.

Age 1 to 5 Years

    • Total sleep time reduces from about 17 hours down to 10-12 hours by the age of 5.
    • Mostly accounted for by the decrease in daytime sleeps.
    • Cycle length increases from 40mins at 2 years to 60mins at 5years.

Settling

Many babies need to learn how to settle and resettle themselves to sleep. This is simply falling asleep on their own without any assistance from an adult.

There will be crying and fussing while they are learning. They need you to respond to them for comfirt and reassurance so that they feel secure and loved.

At about 2 months, children begin to establish their awake and asleep rhythms. This is the time to begin to establish day/night bedtime routines.

Sleep Pattern

Useful Settling Tips for Parents.

Ngala's View on Controlled Crying

You may have heard "controlled crying/comforting" used as a method to modify babies and toddlers' sleep. This can mean different things to different people.

At Ngala, we promote gentle settling and we do not agree with leaving babies distressed.

Controlled crying is ofren associated with babies and children left to cry for a period of time. Babies and toddlers are distressed when they are not responded to when they are crying. Babies and toddlers develop in the context of relationships and are highly sensitive to the nurturing they receive from caregivers.

As early as 6 weeks of age, newborns become distressed if their interpersonal relationships with caregivers are even slightly disrupted.

Responding to children when they cry promotes a sense of security as they transition to sleep when adapting to a different way of settling to sleep. It is important to provide reassurance and support for babies and toddlers when they learn to self-settle to sleep.

If you need more help, please contact the Ngala Parenting Line at (08) 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country callers. You can also request a call from Ngala Parenting Line online.

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