Babies’ sleep isn’t always peaceful. They sometimes moan, groan, whimper, rock and bang their heads in their sleep – which can be concerning to new parents. We look at four weird baby sleep habits and why you don’t have to worry about it.
Head banging and rocking
“About 5 – 10% of children, usually boys will bang or roll their heads before falling asleep,” say authors Megan Faure and Anne Richardson in their book Sleep Sense. This type of behaviour typically starts around 6 months and slows or stops at around age three.
In the book, Faure and Richardson explain that some babies use this movement to self-regulate when they feel overstimulated and overtired.
Your little one’s head is quite tough, so while you might be concerned that his habit can hurt him, rest assured that he’ll stop on his own if the banging becomes too painful.
You may notice that your baby sometimes stops breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. This is normal. Babies usually have a period of rapid breathing followed by a period of slow breathing, then a brief pause of up to ten seconds. According to www.whattoexpect.com, a newborn’s normal rate of breathing is about 40 breaths a minute while he’s awake, but this may slow by half once he’s asleep. “Or, he might speed up the pace, taking swallow, rapid breaths for 15 to 20 seconds followed by a total pause in which he stops breathing entirely.” This happens because the part of your baby’s brain that controls breathing is still developing.
As long as your baby seems comfortable and he isn’t gasping for air, and his fingernails and lips don’t change colour, don’t worry. His sleep-time breathing pattern will become more regular as he gets older – usually by 4 to 6 months.
In some cases, sweating is nothing to worry about, but sometimes it can be a sign of a serious condition.
We all sweat during the transitions between different sleep stages, but babies sweat more because they sleep between 16 to 18 hours every day and their sleep cycles are shorter. According to www.livestrong.com, some babies are prone to profuse sweating during very deep sleep, to the point where they wake up completely drenched. If this is the case with your baby, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
Be careful not to bundle your baby too warmly at night and make sure that his room is not too hot either. If you’re feeling too hot, your baby is probably too.
If the house is cool and your baby is dressed lightly and still sweating, talk to his paediatrician.
Snoring and snorting
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that you always mention your child’s snoring to his doctor, just to be on the safe side. But, if your little one only snores or makes snorting sounds occasionally, it’s probably nothing to worry about, especially if his snores have a steady rhythm.
Many babies snore when they have a stuffy nose while others snore because of allergies. If you are concerned about your little one’s snoring, ask your paediatrician to check for any problems.