Why It’s Important To Understand Infant Sleep Patterns For New Parents?

Why It's Important To Understand Infant Sleep Patterns For New Parents

Sleep is most important for infants because adequate sleep ensures their growth and cognitive development. Since human babies are the most underdeveloped after their birth, they need extra care from their parents.

Searching online, you will find thousands of pieces of information about the importance of infant sleep. But nobody really talks about why it is essential to understand the sleep pattern.

As parents, you need to understand your infant’s sleep patterns so you can know whether they are getting adequate amounts of sleep or not. This understanding also helps you to settle down your healthy sleeping routine by reducing unnecessary stress.

Let us understand how understanding a newborn’s sleeping pattern can benefit the parents and infants.

Importance of Understanding Infant Sleep Patterns For New Parents

Ensuring the sleeping routine for infants costs lots of sleepless nights for parents. Still, we want the best for our children. So, let us break down why it is so important to decode these tiny sleep schedules.

Health And Development

Infants sleep most of the time in their mother’s womb. This ensures proper physical growth, benefits their health, and develops the brain and other skills. A 0 to 1-month-old baby sleeps up to 18 hours in a 24-hour period. They recharge themselves for the next adventure. As they need to wake up to feed, change diapers, or play.

As a parent, you need to understand this pattern so you can keep track of these developments. Like how much your baby spends in play time or other activities. Check how the muscles grow and whether they have the right weight.

However, the weight is not necessary as long as the baby is healthy. If any of these are not functioning properly, you can consult your doctor.

Parental Well-Being

When you recognize your baby’s sleep patterns, you can also get better control of your own sleep schedule. This means more precious zzz’s for you.

You can know when your baby is going to sleep, and then you can do other necessary tasks or take a nap. This can lead to improving the mood and handling all the tasks properly.

Especially if you are a working mother, knowing your infant’s sleeping routine is crucial.

Establishes A Consistent Sleep Routine

Understanding the sleeping pattern can maintain a consistent sleep routine and sleep train them. This is more beneficial for new parents and working parents. Your baby’s feeding needs, playtime, sleeping needs, or any other need mostly stay consistent. You can know when your baby is going to wake to get fed. Normally, babies take naps for about 2-3 hours during the daytime. But this can differ from individual babies.

However, you also need to know the routine is changeable for the babies. Because as they grow, their needs keep changing.

Reducing Stress And Anxiety For Parents

As new parents, if you are not aware of your baby’s sleeping habits, then it can be stressful for you. Sometimes, it creates more anxiety in mothers as they are already stressed after giving birth.

But if you can predict the sleep patterns, then it will not be an unwanted situation for you. It reduces the anxiety of wondering when they’ll wake up or need to be fed. You can settle down according to baby habits and leave some time for yourself, too.

Creating Healthy Sleep Habits

Once you know your infant’s sleep pattern now, you can work on creating healthy habits. This is also called maintaining sleep hygiene. Children thrive on routines. Also, good sleep hygiene can keep them healthy and regulate good hormone production, which is essential for proper growth.

You can stay consistent with bedtime and playtime to create healthy sleep habits. Teach your baby to sleep through the night, which helps with self-soothing. A whole night’s sleep is more beneficial. A warm bath or some gentle lullabies can work best to get the baby ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. 

For infants, there are many devices that produce artificial sounds similar to that of a mother’s womb. This can be a better option to create a virtual environment around your baby, like their mother’s womb.

Help Parents Plan Feeding And Diapering Schedules

Babies can not express their hunger or any need by saying words. So, whenever they feel the necessity or feel uncomfortable, they cry. Most of the time, parents can not understand why their baby is crying. This is another reason why understanding sleeping patterns is important.

You can keep a good eye on the nourishment of the baby and also keep them dry. Schedule the diapering timing so they do not need to stay wet for a long time. Babies can catch colds or other illnesses if they stay too long in wet diapers.

This also alerts you about their feeding time. The baby’s stomach is tiny. After their bowel movement or urination, they feel hungry and need to feed.

Identify Abnormalities Early On

Lastly, one of the most important points is that you can identify the abnormalities early. You can spot any potential health issue. If there is any sudden change in the sleep patterns, it can be a sign of something wrong. So, early detection can help you take early medical attention for the baby’s well-being.

Also, remember not all changes in sleep are unhealthy or concerning. Babies’ sleeping patterns change over time. Also, do not compare your baby’s sleep time to others. Every baby has their individual pattern and needs.

What are the different alert phases of a newborn?

Babies have their way of communicating, and we need to learn that. This can be possible by closely monitoring their behavior and observing them. Different alert phases in the newborn are also a way of communicating.

Recognizing these states is one way to comprehend their interaction. This is a better way to determine when they are ready for sleep, feeding, or feeling uncomfortable.

There are six phases.

  • Deep sleep
  • Active (light) sleep
  • Drowsy state
  • Awake, alert state
  • Alert but fussy state
  • Crying

Quiet alert phase

Babies enter the quiet alert phase when they wake up after a sleep cycle. During this time, they are awake but very still. They can hear the sounds and their parents’ voices. They mostly focus on the surroundings. They do not move their arms and legs. They gaze at objects and may respond to sounds.

This phase transitions into the active alert phase, where the baby is more attentive. The quiet alert phase of babies is a special time for the parents. They can enjoy the time and see the infant doing things like rubbing the eyes or yawning.

Crying phase

When the newborn feels discomfort, crying is the only way to express the emotion. Most often, the crying phase comes after the quiet alert phase. This time, the infant’s body moves restlessly, and they cry loudly unless the baby is not strong enough to cry loudly. They can also become overwhelming.

The best you can do is hold in your arms and try to calm them. Check if it is their feeding time. Or change the diaper.


Understanding infants’ sleeping patterns is beneficial for both parents and the baby. Sleep is the most important in an infant’s life, as their growth and development depend on it.

So, try to observe your baby’s sleeping pattern closely. By this, you can make a schedule about their feeding needs, diaper changing time, playtime, or any discomfort.

Also, you can make a balance between your life and your baby. Sphere time for your sleep too and doing other work. 

In the end, as new parents, it may feel overwhelming to juggle everything, but once you understand your baby’s sleeping pattern, life will become much more manageable.

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Emily Pham

Infant Teacher

My name is Emily and I am an infant teacher. My aim with this position is to learn how children develop as unique individuals and learn how to support their holistic growth. I am currently a student at San Francisco
State University majoring in Child and Adolescent Development. With this experience, I am hoping to get a sense on whether I want to continue to work in the classroom or if I want to learn the administrative side of education. The experience of working directly with children is gratifying and I wish to create a safe space for children to explore with all of their senses as they develop their own personalities. I hope to be able to help build a strong foundation so that the children can have the confidence and ability to express themselves.