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Our 4-month-old baby regularly sleeps for 10+ hours at night. I know this isn't normal (and we feel pretty blessed for it), but is it okay? Are there any health problems or downsides to this?

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Related question - parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/2385/… –  babiesRyummy Oct 16 '11 at 5:26
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@babiesRyummy: I think that makes my question a duplicate. –  JustinY Oct 16 '11 at 5:58
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That related question does not discuss "health problems or downsides", only eating. Do you want to have this Q closed as a duplicate anyway? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 16 '11 at 17:21
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun: Not particularly –  JustinY Oct 16 '11 at 17:34
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No problem! It remains open :-) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 16 '11 at 18:35
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

At KidsHealth.org, growth spurts are listed as a reason for increase in sleep patterns.

Most infants, when going through a growth spurt (usually around the ages of 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, and 4 months), will nurse or want a bottle more often, and may even sleep less throughout the day. But most babies will sleep noticeably more (overall) during these growth periods because of the intense need to conserve energy.

However, Dr. Sears explains how excessive sleep can deprive a child of what is needed to thrive.

But it's possible for excessive sleep to keep an infant from thriving. "Thriving" means more than just getting bigger, it means that your baby is developing to his fullest potential; physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Babies are born with attachment-promoting behaviors (e.g. crying) that cue their caregivers to the quantity and quality of touch and feeding they need in order to thrive. Infants who sleep too much may not initiate interaction, so you have to do it (as you've been doing when you wake him up to feed).

We suggest that you continue to schedule your baby's feedings at least every three hours during the day, but let him wake you at night. Be sure to have him weighed frequently by your doctor to be sure he is gaining enough weight . Because they are not demanding babies, heavy sleepers often do not get enough to eat. This is why you are wise to take charge of the feeding routine and continue to awaken your baby for meals every three hours during the day.

In addition to insuring that your baby gets adequate food, it's also important to make sure he gets enough touch. Demanding babies often cry if somebody doesn't hold them, but easy babies often sleep right through potential holding times. One way to address this is to wear your baby around the house in a baby sling at least a couple hours a day to provide touch and stimulation.

I believe that his concerns are valid and are worth considering. Otherwise, enjoy your easy keeper!

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We were told by our pediatrician that before 2 weeks, you shouldn't let your baby sleep for too long. After that, enjoy your blessing of a full night's sleep!

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This answer would be more useful if you quoted your ped's reasons saying so. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 17 '11 at 6:01
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My daughter is almost 6 months and she sleeps 11-12 hours at night in addition to one 45 minute nap in the morning and a 2-2 1/2 hour nap in the afternoon. The more they sleep, the better they sleep and the more active they will be during the day.

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Adding a shameless plug here: It's really difficult to keep track of how many hours your baby is sleeping every day, especially if he/she wakes up several times throughout the night. To solve this problem we have developed an app for the Windows Phone called Sleep Stats (www.sleepstats.com) You simply press a button every time the baby sleeps and another with he/she wakes up, and the app does the rest. You can even save the data as a spreadsheet for your own records and your number crunching pleasure. Check it out! –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Nov 21 '12 at 3:02
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From what I've read and heard, 4 months is exactly when babies start sleeping through the night. There is a big difference between a newborn and a 4 month old. Yeah, a 2 week old shouldn't sleep for 12 hrs at a time, but at 4 months that's amazing! My 4 month old sleeps 12 hrs at night with one wake up at 3am and I can't wait for her to drop that feed.

So yeah, totally OK and totally amazing!

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4 months is when babies sleep patterns start to mature (there is additional maturation at 6 months as far as I understand from Marc Weissbluth) so that they drop into deep sleep first. Other than that, I don't think 4 months is when all babies are supposed to sleep through the night. There are cultural variances in when "normal" for starting to sleep through the night is. –  justkt Dec 11 '12 at 17:41
    
I agree. My 4 month old doesn't sleep through the night. But I've read that 4 months is when a lot of babies do. I was just trying to be reassuring that nothing is wrong. –  Ferk Dec 14 '12 at 16:54
    
4 months is also the time of a major sleep regression for many babies related to Wonder Week 19 and some babies stop sleeping through the night (or begin to sleep more poorly) at this age. –  justkt Dec 18 '12 at 13:58
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