Babies have all sorts of quirky behaviors that may startle parents and make them believe there is something terribly wrong with their baby, and some babies like to pull a fast one on any parent who brags they got their baby to sleep through the night at five weeks old. Here are some of common but strange sleeping habits that I had no idea about until my daughter was born:
1. The Newborn Sleep Coma
I was confused during the first two days after my daughter was born. She was incredibly sleepy and rarely woke. I thought, “Wow, I have a good sleeper.” Oh, I was so naive it is almost painful to think about. My doctor told me most babies are exhausted after having been through labor and delivery and need to rest to regain strength. Most parents find they have to counter-intuitively wake their baby up to feed him or her. This should only last a day or two.
2. Rapid Breathing
The first night my daughter came home from the hospital and we laid her in her Pack n Play next to our bed, I must have jumped out of a dead sleep two dozen times because it sounded like my daughter was hyperventilating. Also, she would breathe normally for a few breaths, gasp loudly, hold, and exhale. Was there something wrong with my baby? It turns out this is totally normal — babies are still trying to work out the respiratory control area of their brain.
3. Crying or Whimpering in Sleep
It took me a while to figure this one out, and when I did, it made my life much easier. Don’t rush and pick up your newborn at every noise or whimper he makes in his sleep. While snoozing, babies spend half their time in the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle which causes a lot of restless stirring. Wait a little bit till you are certain your baby is awake and aware. Babies make a lot of goofy noises in their sleep!
4. Sleep Regressions
Never let your guard down. My daughter began snoozing soundly through the night at six weeks old. She slept anywhere between 8 and 11 hours straight. Don’t become too proud or boastful because it will likely not last. Talk to any parent of an older baby and you will learn about the infamous sleep regression. At around six months old, my daughter’s sleep took a turn for the worst. She is eight-and-one-half months old now and her sleep is as terrible as ever. Many parents I have discussed this with correlate sleep regressions to major milestones. Interestingly enough, my daughter learned to crawl at the same time her sleep took a dive. It’s difficult to find any scientific literature on sleep regressions and my doctors have never mentioned it, but talk to any experienced mom and she will tell you how it is.
Whoever coined the term “slept like a baby” must have been a complete nut. Babies have some strange sleep patterns and habits. Never brag about how your two-month-old sleeps through the night to all of your sleep-deprived mom friends because karma will bite you in the rear-end before you know it!