This is SUCH hot topic for parents and is sadly largely driven by our "sleep training" culture dating back to the 50s.
However, there hasn't been a lot of recent research looking into what is biologically normal.
What we do know is the expectation on families nowadays is almost unobtainable and therefore sleep is even more precious. This has seen the rise of so many sleep programs which state baby should not be waking in the night by x months and napping at x time. This sadly is very outdated and adds so much extra strain and anxiety...getting your baby to sleep or having long naps/stretches becomes the impossible task and parents then feel like they're failing.
A recent 2020 released study of approximately 𝟱𝟳𝟬𝟬 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗻 (this is a huge number and very recent findings) found that sleep began to consolidate (fancy word for started to sleep longer) during the second year of life! In other words...
𝗜𝗧 𝗜𝗦 𝗡𝗢𝗥𝗠𝗔𝗟 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗕𝗔𝗕𝗜𝗘𝗦 𝗧𝗢 𝗪𝗔𝗞𝗘 𝗢𝗙𝗧𝗘𝗡 𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗡𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗧𝗛𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗦𝗧 𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥 (𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱)!!!
They found that it was NORMAL for babies to take an average of 20 minutes to fall asleep at 6months old. And it was NORMAL for a 2 year old to wake at least once overnight. So rest assured that night waking and taking a while to finally fall off to sleep are BIOLOGICALLY NORMAL for babies.
[Averages mean the majority of babies/children in the study]
Now there is no denying that babies need sleep for growth and development and that for some, day sleep seems to dictate night sleep. But the idea that nap(s) need to be at x time of the day for x length of time has no research to back it up - 𝗖𝗔𝗧𝗡𝗔𝗣𝗣𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗜𝗦 𝗧𝗢𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗟𝗬 𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗘, frustrating at times, but totally normal.
Often changing your perspective is what's needed, rather than trying to change your baby. But I 250% agree it is one of the hardest things to do, especially when family/friends pressure
▪ "is she a good baby"
▪ "does he sleep through the night yet"
▪ "doing that will create bad habits"
So food for thought...Maybe instead of focusing on getting a long lunch nap, or sleeping through the night at 6months, we should instead focus on asking for help (i.e. dishes, washing, cooking), and work out a plan on how we can balance our work/life better (I.e. budgeting advice on where to focus minimal income, frozen meals ready to go). So if baby needs holding for a nap...you hold that baby for a nap.
I know this will be a very controversial topic, and I know not everyone has support - there is no one size fits all model (except for cloth nappies with rise snaps)....But even small changes can help so we're not fighting to get a 4 month old to sleep through the night when biologically that's not the norm. Less stress and anxiety in that first year is a win for everyone...and waking in the night is normal until well beyond a year!! 🙌 I'm all for realistic expectations.
Kekoa's owner Alexis is a midwife and nutritionist and loves to help new parents navigate all that comes with parenting. She regularly presents new topics to help inform you, and always aims for a balanced approach.