Parents shouldn’t worry about babies’ inconsistent sleep

11 January 2021

Sleep consolidation should be viewed by parents as a ‘continuous and dynamic process’, rather than a milestone to be achieved at a specific age, according to a study in Sleep Medicine.

Sleep patterns vary greatly – not only between different babies, but also night to night for the same baby.

Mothers were asked to keep a sleep diary about their six-month-old baby (44 infants in total) for two weeks. They reported their infant slept six hours consecutively for about five of those nights, and eight consecutive hours for about three of the nights. Half of the infants, however, never slept eight hours consecutively.

Parents ‘shouldn’t worry if their baby doesn’t sleep through the night at a specific age because sleep patterns differ a lot in infancy,’ said lead author Marie-Hélène Pennestri. The authors also concluded that occasional sleeping through the night did not necessarily indicate a consolidation of this behaviour. 

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