When the baby spends the whole day irritated and cries even more at bedtime, he may have the homeostatic sleep pressure, popularly known as the volcanic effect.
You know when the little ones are tired and seem to “fight” to sleep? He yawns, scratches his little eyes, rubs his ears or hair and starts crying non-stop?
You know it’s not hungry and you’ve noticed that the diaper is clean but it still looks like an erupting volcano. These sleeping crises can happen until the age of two, but they are avoided with simple attitudes!
How the volcanic effect happens
The volcanic effect is basically due to the lack of naps during the day. The child feels so tired that he can’t relax to rest. The result is a lot of crying and irritation, in a long battle against sleep.
This effect is detrimental to the development of the little ones, as well as affecting the quality of life of the parents, who become exhausted and do not know what to do to calm the persistent crying.
This is because the baby does not sleep at the first signs of sleep and the body releases cortisol, the waking hormone and stress. It’s as if the hormones are fighting a real battle, where the loser is sleep.
“The baby who has accumulated sleep pressure usually has difficulty concentrating, socializing and learning. He cannot feed well and may even have his immunity impaired. Cortisol also works against serotonin, the welfare hormone, and melatonin, the sleep hormone“, warns mother-infant consultant Ariadne Annibal.
Other causes that interfere with this picture are a change in routine, a night’s sleep with many awakenings, diseases and pains.
The importance of napping for babies
Babies’ nap has the function of revitalising, relaxing and increasing the mood of the little ones until they are three years old. It is very important for the baby’s development and cannot be “recovered” during the night.
That’s why parents shouldn’t postpone their baby’s nap from the first sign of sleep. These naps can last on average 50 minutes between the morning, early afternoon and eventually late afternoon. Check the number of naps for each age:
- 0 to 3 months: The newborn baby sleeps between 14 and 17 hours and will wake up several times in the morning because the demand for feeds is still great;
- From 4 to 6 monthsThey are able to stay awake for 2 hours during the day and can take 3 to 4 naps;
- Six to eight months: stay awake for up to 3 hours and can take 2 to 3 naps a day;
- 9 to 12 months: babies can stay up for four hours and take two naps;
- 13 and 18 months: they make the transition to just 1 nap a day (each in his own time), which usually happens after lunch.
Tips to make your baby sleep better
As much as the volcanic effect worries the papals, the good news is that this cycle of sleepless nights can be broken with some techniques, such as
- Stay calm and try not to despair;
- Observe what can soothe your baby, such as caressing, breastfeeding, massaging, quiet music or rocking in the lap;
- Prepare an environment with low light and without much noise;
- Establish a routine for the day’s naps;
- Use a reductive nest, bottom or baby carrier so that newborns feel inside Mummy’s tummy.
“In his routine, the baby does not need rigid schedules, but a routine with naps and outdoor activities, proper nutrition, playing with his parents and everything else that can provide relaxation and security for a quiet sleep,” adds Ariadne Annibal.
With all these tips, it’s much easier to keep that little smile we love all day long!
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