So, you have a baby who is a sleeper and you are wondering whether you should wake him up more often?
You should know that sleep is very important for a baby's development (physical and cerebral) and that usually if he is sleeping a lot it is because he needs it. That's all.
However, in some cases, waking up your baby can be useful (for example, to feed him and get him into a routine).
So let's take a look at whether or not you should be waking your baby, and how to do it.
Should I Wake Up My Baby?
As a general rule, if a newborn is sleeping a lot, it needs to. On average, a newborn sleeps 19 hours a day. Why so much? Well, it’s because all those hours of sleep will help him or her to develop properly.
An infant's sleep allows him to:
Regulate his emotions and moods. The better your baby sleeps, the more likely he is to be in a good mood;
Continue his development (psychological, linguistic, motor, etc.).
That means that there's no point in trying to wake him up just to wake him up.
Babies Over 4 Months Old
However, after the age of 4 months, it's okay to start giving your baby some time cues, and feeding times are one of those cues.
Once it's time for a feed (or bottle), you can try to gently wake your little one up.
How to Gently Wake up a Baby
It's time for your baby to eat and you want to wake up your baby?
Here's how to do it:
Start by leaving the door to his room ajar and talking to him gently;
If you find that he is deeply asleep and not waking up, walk away and wait a few minutes before coming back to see him;
In the meantime, everyday noises will probably wake him up;
The most important thing is to avoid waking him up too suddenly (who likes that?);
If he wakes up, you can go in and give him food;
If he doesn't wake up, it's probably because he needs more sleep;
So, apart from special cases (premature babies or very small ones), there is no need to force the matter.
Is My Baby Sleeping Too Much?
The need for sleep can vary from one baby to another. As with adults, there are babies who only sleep a little, and others who sleep a lot. Knowing this, you should first try to understand what your baby's needs are, and what his sleeping style is.
To find out if your baby is sleeping too much (or not enough), start by observing his behavior:
If he seems active, is having fun, is in a good mood, and is interacting positively with you, he has probably had a good amount of sleep;
Conversely, if you sense that he or she is quiet, seems unhappy, cries a lot for no apparent reason, and/or falls asleep during meals/play sessions, it's probably because he or she is sleep deprived;
If he sleeps more than 2-3 hours than the average for his age and shows symptoms of hypersomnia (fever, pallor, heavy snoring, stunted growth, or breathing problems), then he may be sleeping too much. In this case, you should consult a doctor to be on the safe side.
In addition to your baby's sleeping style, his or her needs may vary according to age:
After birth, a baby sleeps an average of 19 hours;
This average decreases to 14 hours at the age of 1 year;
It reaches 12-13 hours at 3 years old;
This will vary until it settles in adulthood; the average adult sleeps 7-8 hours per night.
Feel free to take a look if you need anything.