Kids are active and moving around all the time, non-stop. This is how they grow and explore the world. As much as they need it, they also need a good rest. Good productive sleep is very important not only to replenish baby's energy, but also to help it develop physically and mentally.
Peaceful Nights - a Blessing
My baby was sleeping in my room for 6 months. For about 12 first weeks it slept very well in a little bassinet and I fed him as soon as he woke up, usually every 3-4 hours.
Following my doctor’s advice, I swaddled the baby tight keeping its hands folded not to disturb itself during the sleep. I was also trying to stretch out the time between night feedings and was pretty much successful. My baby slept during the night 5-6 hours easily.
But after 3 months of age everything changed.
How Can he Sleep Well while Moving?
As soon as the baby started to turn around, he started to move in his sleep too, and my magic swaddler did not work anymore.
He was falling asleep as usual, but every two hours he was crying awake again and again, as his head, hands or feet were bumping into crib walls.
I was watching my baby in its sleep for long nights and noticed that after sleeping peacefully for about two hours, he started tossing and even pulling himself until he reaches the bars. Of course, he will demand for help.
Babies have same stages of sleep as we adults do. During the first stage after falling asleep, for about 90 min, the baby can move and shudder a little bit. Then it should fall into deep stage, when baby stops tossing, but still can turn around occasionally.
If the baby in its sleep is moving a lot and cannot fall into deep sleep, it may not get full rest.
How to Put the Baby back to Sleep?
I usually take him up and cradle peacefully in my hands. I am trying not to make any sounds: no lights, no diaper change and no food, if it is not within our schedule.
In these conditions, baby returns back to its sleep pretty quickly, though I cannot do it at once. But what worried me the most at that time: was anything wrong with his tossing in the sleep.
A little later, I found out that the baby can go back to sleep by itself after a brief wake ups during the night. So, if my baby was making noises but not crying, I was waiting for some time and did not bother him taking up from his crib.
And wow! It worked, he went back to sleep without my help.
At the age around 6 months I moved my baby crib to another room, as I was sure at that point that it can fall asleep by itself during his brief waking episodes.
Baby Sleep Patterns
To help the baby stay calm and sleep well during the night, we set up our mutual regular schedule and tried not to break it, no matter what.
Newborns usually sleep most of the day, around 16 hours, with short regular intervals for feeding.
Later, at the age of 12 months the baby started to sleep 10 to 12 hours during the day with one or two day naps from 30 to 90 min. Day naps are simply crucial for baby’s well-being and rest. I try to never miss any signs when the baby is tired.
Night. It is very important that the baby do not mix up day and night. I trained it for night sleeps with the ritual bathing, calming down the environment and shutting down the blinds. Sing or play for him lullabies and cradle songs. Those sound sleeper apps are just magic!
Why Is My Baby Moving A Lot While Sleeping?
When your baby is moving a lot during the sleep, something can be definitely bothering it. There can be several reasons that you need to be aware of.
1. Baby is Simply Exhausted
Baby’s fragile psychic cannot cope with all the entertainment you provide during the day: loud people and music, even watching TV and computer, which is completely forbidden for baby’s eyes for more than 12 months.
If it is still a part of you daily life, you just need to give your baby some time out for one and a half hours before going to bed.
2. Walking Outside and Day Naps
Regular walking outside in a stroller may not only become a good source of oxygen and rest. For me it was almost the only way I could put my baby for a day sleep. But again, watch the time as day naps should not be too long.
3. Sleeping Environment
I always check my thermometer/hydrometer to keep baby’s room comfortable. Baby’s night clothes and diapers should not disturb tender skin.
Also, during the night not only the baby is making sounds, but we also do. This might be disturbing for your baby’s sleep as well.
After 6 months, you will probably better start to prepare your baby to learn how to put himself back to sleep and move him out of your room.
4. Feed the Baby before Going to Bed
If a 7-month baby wakes up more than once during the night, it is more likely hungry. I know for sure, when I feed my baby well before it goes to bed, it will sleep the whole night without waking up.
If you breastfeed, make sure you have enough supply for that time. If your baby eats solid foods, regular porridge or yogurt or noodles will feed him alright. But note, that fruit and vegetables are not good for long nights.
Other distractions of your baby’s sleep you cannot prevent, though you can be prepared for them and react accordingly.
5. Baby’s Stomach is not Coping with New Foods
When baby is tossing a lot, you might hear gas bubbles irritating its stomach and also see some changes in his poop. In his sleep, baby will prefer lying on his belly pulling his knees to the stomach. You can also massage its belly to let gas out.
And you should also stop eating or giving your baby foods causing bloating, until it comes down. By the way, I go only with homemade foods to feed the baby.
Kids do not have sleepless nights as adults do, and we should try to support them with anything we can to make their sleep safe, sound and productive.
Baby tossing and turning a lot during the night should be considered seriously. There might be a reason for that. You or your doctor should be able to analyse it and help your baby sleep deeply during the night and get a full rest.