It is natural for infant's to not sleep regularly for the first few months after they arrive home. They have all new surroundings to become familiar with and must be fed and changed often. Mothers who have just bought a new baby home are all familiar with them frequently waking at night and sleeping in short spurts. Even though this is common, infants like everyone else can have sleep disorders.
When should a parent be concerned about their child's inability to sleep? This can be hard to determine because every child is different and adjusts at different rates. On average, a new baby needs to sleep around sixteen hours a day and this gradually decreases as they get older. How many times they wake to be fed and changed also becomes less. Infant sleep disorders can be hard to detect by both parents and doctors because many of the symptoms are experience normal for infants.
Night terrors are a parasomnia that some infants can experience. A night terror will happen approximately ninety minutes after they have fallen asleep. These occurrences are much different than a regular nightmare. Children will wake from a nightmare and be able to give some details of the dream. Terrorers happen when the child is in a semi-conscious state and the fear is displayed by screaming, groaning, and kicking. When they wake, they are confused and do not remember what happened or why they were scared. Most children experiencing night terrors are hard to console and it may take thirty minutes or more to get them calmed back down.
Apnea is a more serious sleep disorder that occurs in infants. This condition causes the child to snore and breathe through their mouth. The mouth breathing occurs due to normal breathing stopping. The baby will wake crying and irritable. When the condition is more severe, an infant can stop breathing. Any symptoms that could link to this type of conditions should be brought to the attention of the pediatrician. They may recommend the child being evaluated by a sleep clinic for proper treatment.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is more than just a sleep problem and is a major focus of health professionals. An infant with this condition actually stops breathing while they are sleep. They do not begin breathing again on their own and need help. The cause of this condition is still unknown but some doctors believe environmental factors can make it more possible for an infant to develop SIDS. They recommend that devices are used to ensure the baby sleeps on their back and that no items are left in the crib that could cause complications.
Other issues such as bed wetting can be apparent in children of various ages. As a parent, you should become familiar with these types of infant sleep disorders and be aware of the symptoms to look for. This will help you detect any sleep problems early on so you can seek medical help. You pediatrician should be able to go over any symptoms you are seeing and determine the best way to treat the sleep issues your baby is experiencing.