Most people know that sleep is vital to the existence of all living creatures. A good night’s sleep is essential to your mental and physical health, and overall well being. Most people are aware that the average adult requires between 6-8 hours of sleep a night in order to maintain good health. Infants, however, require a full 10-12 hours of sleep a night in addition to several naps throughout the day. Sleep is a time of restoration for the human body and it uses these hours to regenerate fingernails, hair, and even skin cells. For an infant, sleep is a crucial time for the development and growth of limbs, muscles, and bones. As your baby matures he will require less sleep until he begins to follow the sleep patterns of a normal adult. Until such time, a baby will require several periods of rest throughout the day and 10-12 hour periods of nightly sleep to help grow into a healthy child.
There are many factors that can help contribute to a healthy night’s sleep for your baby. The most paramount of which is the baby’s comfort level. No matter how tired an infant may become, if his or her sleeping area is not comfortable, then achieving a good night’s sleep will be almost impossible. Choosing the proper sleeping arrangement for your baby is one way to help insure that your child will be comfortable and able to fall and stay asleep.
Choosing the right crib and mattress should be a top priority. You want to be sure that your baby’s crib is safe and has passed all necessary safety tests before you leave your baby in its care. Most cribs will proudly display a certification sticker to let you know that it has been rigorously tested with your baby’s safety in mind.
A crib’s mattress is also one of the most important factors in the preparing for your baby’s sleep. A crib mattress should be firm, but not too firm. You want to make sure you baby is comfortable, while also ensuring that it is not so soft that it becomes a safety hazard. If a mattress is too soft your baby may shift in the night, which can run the risk of him or her suffocating in the night. Obviously, you should monitor your baby often by both physically checking on them and also with the use of an electronic baby monitor. There are also baby tracking services and products, that can help take the worry out of parenting your newborn.
Lastly, a baby’s bedding should be comfortable, but more importantly safe. Soft bedding items like quilts, blankets, pillows, and even plush toys can be harmful to your newborn when left unsupervised. The most important thing is to make sure that your baby’s head remains uncovered at all times. If you absolutely must use a baby blanket, tuck it into the crib mattress at chest level to help protect against suffocation and other breathing issues. Also, any soft or plush items like toys or quilts should be removed from the crib as a safety precaution.