Thursday, February 22, 2007

Beauty Sleep

How much is normal for babies to sleep? I found myself asking this question today. I'm not a strict schedule kind of mom, so Zachariah's sleeping patterns vary from day to day and week to week. I do, however, make sure that he takes 2 naps a day (when possible) and gets to bed around the same time each night.

When Zachariah was a baby he wanted to be held a lot. So, he sometimes wouldn't take really good naps. He'd fall asleep in my arms, then I'd lay him down in his little bouncer. He would sleep there for a while, then wake up and watch me adoringly for a while before wanting picked up again. He was like this for about the first 6 months. The only consolation was the he slept through the night at 2-3 months old. And I mean 10-12 hours through the night. I could handle the light naps, since I was getting a full night of sleep. At about 4 months of age, I started making sure he was laying in bed for naps about 3 times a day. This worked well, and then by about 8-9 months old he was needing about 2 naps. The older he's gotten, the better of a schedule he has. And this also meant that he was sleeping longer periods of time for naps.

Now he typically sleeps 12 hours at night, then takes 2 naps of about 2-3 hours each. That's a total of 14-16 hours of sleep. My mom and I were talking about this today on the phone. She said none of us ever slept that much. She thought maybe I should ask his pediatrician about him sleeping that much at his next appointment. I figure this is just my relief for him sleeping less than average babies when he was littler. What I've read is that at this age (he's 11 months) an average baby sleeps 12-14 hours total. Now that's an average, so he just sleeps a little longer than that. Should I be concerned? I guess I'm really not, but it does make me think.

This week has been a little strange for his sleeping patterns. Monday he slept until 10:00AM (he's usually up around 7-8AM). He was up for an hour and a half, then took another nap at 11:40AM. He slept until 4:00PM, and then was still ready for bed by 7:00PM. Strange. I thought maybe it was just a growth spurt or something.

From there he's been on his normal routine until today. Today has been a completely different story. This morning he really slept in. Finally at 11:00AM I thought I'd better check to see how he was. I woke him up and he got up and ate a little bit. He felt warm to me, but I waited to see if it was just from him getting up late.After he ate, he just laid there on me and didn't want down to play. He's usually running as soon as he's done eating. He wants to go and explore and get into things. (He plays hard, which is why I think he sleeps hard.) Anyway, I finally picked up a toy thinking it would make him want to play. He just snuggled up with the stuffed animal and stayed on my lap. He got down for about 3 minutes and played, and then came back and cuddled on my lap for a while. This was unusual for him. I went ahead and took his temperature. It read 101.0 on the rectal thermometer. I called the pediatric nurse at his doctor's office. She said just to give him Tylenol and see if there are any changes. Other than being tired and having a fever, he's not showing any other signs of something being wrong. I feel sorry for the little guy. He went back to bed about an hour and a half after he got up today. And he's been sleeping since then (almost 2 hours later). I'll probably get him up in a while if he doesn't wake up, so I can feed him and take his temperature again. We have been so lucky that, other than chicken pox, Zachariah has been the healthiest baby. I feel really bad that I don't know what's wrong. I just know he's not himself. Well, hopefully he can sleep it off and will be better soon.
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Swistle said...

I think it's always good to ask the pediatrician about anything you're wondering about, if only to get the reassurance that it's fine. And I always ask about stuff my MOM worries about, if only so I can then say to my mom, "Quit worrying, the pediatrician says it's FINE."

Kelsey said...

Each kid is really different this way. My sister and I took naps until we were in kindergarten. Harper, my daughter, is not even two and a half and appears to be giving up her nap entirely (Lord help me!). But until age 18 mos. at least, she slept nearly 16 hours a day, ten or so at night and two naps. Then she was suddenly down to one nap, now maybe none. I agree that it's a good idea to ask the doctor when you have a question. If he's normally sleeping alot, but is alert and happy when he's awake, then it's probably fine. Harper also sleeps more when she's about to grow!