Ask Amma

EC – baby losing sleep?

In Yes / No on 17 February 2012 at 5:21 pm

Our son communicates as soon as his diaper is wet, even in his sleep. But once he is awake, he is hungry again. Should we worry about the fewer number of hours of his sleep?

– mother of a 2 month old in Maryland

No, you should not worry. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than we do, and what is normal for your two-month old may seem like frequent waking to you. Though advertisements for disposable diapers make much of the "all-night sleep" that baby will enjoy thanks to the absorbency of the diaper, is all-night sleep really good for infants? On the contrary, Dr. Sears says that "nightwaking has survival benefits" (See 8 Sleep Facts).

Is this pattern of waking and getting changed, fed, and helped back to sleep happening in the daytime as well? Babies take time to adjust to the difference between night and day since in the womb they were in reverse (rocked to sleep by Mama’s movement in the day, woken up when Mama rested). It is like newborn jet-lag. I am wondering if along with feeding, he is expecting to play when he wakes up at night. As he becomes more active in the day, he will come to treat night as sleep-time and fall back to sleep more easily after taking care of business, and may also nurse without waking up.

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