Yes, babies as young as one minute old can already have strange sleeping habits that may send us researching whether they are normal or not. To cut the story short, most of them are normal up to a certain extent. But as what every parent out there will tell you, always ask your doctor when in doubt.
So what are these strange sleeping habits? Here are some of what I myself experienced and what my friends shared with me during our “parenting Q & A session.” Some of these may be already familiar to you; some may not. But it’s always good to have a backgrounder of what can happen so you won’t go into a tizzy when it happens.
Note that these are only five of babies’ strange sleeping habits. There are a lot out there, but what I’m listing down below is the most common–meaning it happened to me and my friends, and research backs them up too.
Babies’ strange sleeping habits
Ask every parent you know and he or she will tell you her baby smiles when she’s asleep. In fact, in my and my friends’ experiences, smiling in sleep is the very first smile we saw from them.
You see, most parents are very mindful of their babies’ firsts–first word, first walk, and first smile. We would always wait for that moment, having our cameras in our hand just to see capture those firsts forever.
My point here is, smiling at sleep is perfectly normal. Your baby’s not going mad or something. It’s not also because they are dreaming about something pleasant as the old wives’ tale suggests.
In reality, it’s just our little ones’ reflexes like a twitch of something. Their muscles are still being developed and the smiling is just one of the ways to “exercise” them. No need to stop them from doing it.
Another manifestation of our infants’ reflexes in action is their toes or fingers move while sleeping. You may see that one or two fingers or toes go up slowly from time to time. They’re not learning how to count nor are they completely aware of it all. They’re also not about to wake up when they do this. It’s really just reflex in play. That’s it.
What you have to look for is when the arms or legs move because that’s the indication they’re slightly awake. If it’s not time yet to wake up, simply tap their legs or lull them to sleep again.
Eyes half open
It may freak you out at first, but having eyes half open is completely normal, I swear. Even some adults do that, right?
And no, your baby is not sneaking up on you, waiting for you to get up and do your own thing so she can cry then you’ll go back to carrying her. In fact, she can’t see anything at all despite having her eyes half open.
What I would do, because I admit it really looks weird, is to shut them completely using my hands. I slowly push the lids down until her eyes are closed. Be careful not to wake them up while doing this.
You’ve set the AC/heater to the optimal temperature, you’ve dressed her up/down accordingly, yet she still sweats especially on the forehead. The first thing that will come to your mind is that she’s feeling hot. So you turn up the AC, only to find her sobbing and crying because she now feels cold.
Actually, the reason your little angel is sweating is that they don’t move as much as we do when we’re asleep. We, adults, toss and turn because one side becomes too hot or our part or our body feels already numb (such as when our arm is under our head).
Our babies don’t have enough muscle strength to do that, so they stay in the same position almost the entire night. Consequently, our baby sweat a lot.
Regarding the forehead or the top of the head the “sweatiest” part, that’s because our babies have more sweat glands there.
If you’re really worried, try to change your baby’s sleeping position whenever you can. Just be careful not to wake her up.
This one is scary. Like is-my-baby-having-a-hard-time-to-breathe scary. The first time I encountered my baby having long pauses between breathing, I almost immediately called her doctor.
But I decided to check the Internet first, and that’s when I found out it happens to almost every baby. It’s called the periodic breathing.
Periodic breathing happens when our littles ones have fallen very deep in their sleep. It also happens even when they’re just half asleep.
During the periodic breathing, infants have a ten-second pause before they breathe normally again. It may also be followed by rapid, shallow breaths before it goes back to the normal pattern. This is more common in premature babies as their lungs are not fully developed, but it can happen to almost anyone (even adults).
Call the doctor when you see your baby having a hard time breathing, is grunting, or is turning blue. Also, when the pauses are longer than ten seconds and it’s consistent, it may not be periodic breathing anymore.
A sleeping baby is heaven, but at times it may send us through a hell of anxiety if we don’t know any better. So it’s always a great idea to arm ourselves with knowledge on how we can handle every situation correctly and calmly.
On the web, there are a plethora of comprehensive sleeping guides for baby that you can rely on anytime. It contains topics from putting the baby to sleep to a list of babies’ strange sleeping habits.
But don’t forget to keep your mom’s and doctor’s number within reach because sometimes it’s better to have someone explain situations and solutions to us. Also, let’s not forget that each baby is different, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Besides, as Charles Addams says, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos to the fly.”