Understanding the sleep cycle in babies

As a Postpartum Doula and Sleep Educator I believe 100% cotton muslin swaddle blankets are a must have for babies. Swaddling in the first 3 to 5 months can greatly improve sleep as well as facilitate healthy sleep maturation.

There are four basic stages to our sleep cycle:

Non-REM stage 1Non-REM stage 2, and the major two;  Slow Wave and  REM (Repid Eye Movement).

All these stages are very important and necessary for mental, physical and emotional growth. Before babies are born they spend almost 100% of their “sleep time” in REM(Rapid Eye Movement). When they are born, not only do they need to adjust to sleeping in different stages, but also transitioning from one stage to the next while staying in sleep.

Just when they get the hang of transitioning from one stage of sleep to the next, another change occurs. Babies have different developmental needs than adults do, They enter REM before Slow Wave. Somewhere between 3 and 4 months a baby’s developmental needs change and they start to enter into sleep the way adults do – through Slow Wave. This “switch” can be hard on babies as it is a major change to their sleep, not just over time, but from one night to the next.

Swaddling works well to help facilitate these steps in sleep maturation. First, swaddling is a sleep cue – in fact it’s a great sleep cue. Second, it reminds babies of being safe and snug in the womb. Third, it’s continual – What is meant by this is the swaddle is in place from the start of sleep until the end of sleep. This is key for helping babies learn to transition from one stage of sleep to the next and for helping them manage the “switch” more smoothly.

Sleep is so important for everyone, more so for babies. Swaddling can aid babies in sleep making a quality muslin swaddle blanket worth its weight in gold!

For the above-mentioned benefits of swaddling, I like Aura Weavers muslin swaddles. It’s a small, mom built, business, which for me translates into products made with quality and care. I recommend their muslin swaddle blanket because of its quality, breathable fabric and “grow with your baby” size.

Written by:

Elissa Gilbertson PCD(DONA)
Sleep Educator, Certified Postpartum Doula
(408)340-1983   www.iqbaby.org

Maximize the physical, mental and emotional growth of your child.


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