very common for babies to wake up in the night and cry but their awakenings
always leaves parents in a dilemma - should the baby be left to cry itself back
to sleep or should they rush to comfort the child? A new study agrees with the
Marsha Weinraub, a professor of psychology at the Temple University says that
it is better to let babies "self-soothe" and fall back asleep on their own!
Weinraub, along with her colleagues, studied nighttime awakenings in babies
between the ages of 6-36 months and revealed that the babies could be
classified into two groups -sleepers and transitional sleepers.
average, most babies sleep through the night by about 6 months of age and wake
their mothers only about once a week. But the study reveals that all babies do
not follow this pattern of development. Like adults, most babies go through a
sleep cycle where they wake up once every one and a half to two hours and then
fall back asleep. Some children cry when they wake up but this should not be
considered as an indication that they are "not sleeping through the night!"
team of researchers took information from the parents of more than 1,200
infants regarding their baby's awakenings at 6, 15, 24 and 36 months.
It was discovered that 66 percent of the
babies - classified as sleepers - either did not wake up, or awoke just once a
week by the time they were six months. The remaining 33 percent woke up every
night during six months. This frequency was reduced to waking up only two
nights a week by the time they were 15 months old which again, gradually
tapered to one night a week by the time the baby was 24 months old!
also found that most of the transitional sleepers who tended to wake up and cry
were males. These babies were also found to have a difficult temperament and
were found to be easily distracted or irritable. Majority of these babies were
breast-fed and their mothers were more likely to be sensitive and depressed.
problem acts as an indicator to genetic or constitutional factors having gone
awry. If the sleep problems persist for more than eighteen months, the parents
must consult a doctor.
advice for mothers with babies who have sleep issues is to put them to sleep at
a regular time each night, allow them to fall asleep on their own and refrain
from rushing to respond to their night time awakenings.