Well it’s official, the National Sleep Foundation has new improved recommendations for the ideal hours of sleep we all need. I hope every parent is sitting down for this, 7-9 hours is the recommended hours of sleep recommended for an adult, with 6-10 hours being the range of ‘may be appropriate’. To make life even less pressured – how about 14-17 hours for a newborn up to 3 months and 12-15 hours being the recommended hours of sleep from 3 to 11 months. Also, 11-14 hours of sleep is recommended for toddlers of 1-2 years, however with the ‘may be appropriate range’ for this age group it is extended to 9-6 hours.
As I read this recent recommendation I wonder just how helpful this knowledge really is. Numbers are numbers, but the bottom line is that if a baby or child is healthy and happy, they are probably getting enough sleep and the need to count hours is removed.
Some parents feel their child is getting enough sleep but it is nowhere near the recommended hours per day. Here is a good way to tell; a baby or child, and for that matter, an adult, has had enough sleep when; they are not grizzly and grumpy, rather they are emotionally robust and not over-sensitive and not living in that haze of overtiredness.
If your baby or toddler is sleeping little and quickly fluctuating between happy and sad, or needs LOTS of entertaining when they are awake, they are possibly in need of a little more snooze hours.
Better to have more than not enough, as overtired babies are classically harder to care for and have more difficultly drifting to sleep. Ask any parent who has been able to increase their little ones hours of sleep, they tell you the sparkle in their eyes is back, their joy is longer lived and they have less difficulty settling back for the next sleep.
The actual hours are interesting, but more importantly, if you think YOUR baby is not as content as you think they could be, just chat with someone about their sleeping.
Perhaps all your baby or toddler needs is to develop the ability, with your support, to be able to link sleep cycles together so at least they can sleep for longer periods.
The NourishBaby - Guide to Babies - is an online program that you can view in your own time. The Guide to Babies helps you to understand and care for your baby and covers key milestones, sleep and settling advice and baby development. There is a section on real parents sharing their experience of adjusting to parenthood.
Many parents have reduced sleep when a new baby arrives. The Safe Sleep Space website has a variety of resources and supports to provide tips and advice on how to assist your baby with sleep. You can also book a phone consultation to speak with a Sleep Consultant.