As new parents, we all question, “Is that normal what the baby is doing right now while he/she is sleeping?” Usually there is a Mom or Dad there to comfort you or perhaps even a baby nurse that can calm your nerves…or you might be the type to rush to the doctor, only to be relieved that it is all part of a child’s sleeping habits. Here are some baby sleeping habits decoded and hopefully help give you peace of mind. And although you can never really predict a baby’s sleeping habits because all babies are different, there are some rough estimates of what parents can expect.
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Head Banging in the Crib
Seeing your baby hit his head against the crib mattress or rails as he’s dozing off can certainly be upsetting. Fortunately, it’s usually normal. According to Parents.com, “Up to 20 percent of children are head-bangers, and boys are much more likely to do it than girls. It typically starts at around 6 months and slows or stops by age 3. The exact reason for head banging is unknown, but experts generally believe that it’s a way to self-soothe.”
“In utero, a fetus is constantly being jostled to and fro, so a baby may be soothed by the rocking motion of head banging,” says Rahil Briggs, Psy.D., a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City. So there’s no need to pad the crib with bumpers or pillows — after all, placing soft items in the crib increases risk of suffocation
Don’t be surprised if your sleeping baby sometimes kicks her legs and punches her arms. She’s not having a nightmare. Babies have a very immature nervous system, and it’s hard for them to control their reflexes and responses to environmental noise and temperature – a.k.a. this means that those unpredictable movements are involuntary and usually harmless.
Although we like to think that only parents snore, babies can produce the sound effect too. Snoring is usually the result of air passing through your little one’s narrow nasal cavity or the back of the throat. The noise may happen because a baby has a cold or because his nasal passage is clogged with milk or baby food — which can get pushed upward when he spits up. Use a suction bulb or saline drops to clear the nose.
You can help your baby to sleep better and longer by teaching good sleep habits and establishing a good bedtime routine. That means sticking to a regular nightly bedtime and nightly routine—maybe it’s playtime followed by bath time followed by reading a book and cuddling. The baby will get used to the nightly routine and sleep better each night. Every baby has different needs and a different schedule, so don’t expect every baby to fall into these categories. Figure out what works for your baby, and do your best to make sure she’s getting all the sleep she needs—and that you are, too. Sleep when the baby sleeps they say!