Parents whose babies have started to crawl are in for more sleepless nights, as a recent study released by Israel’s University of Haifa and featured on reveals that children under 11 months who have started exploring this newly acquired physical ability are more likely to wake up at odd hours.

Researchers led by Dr. Dina Cohen and supervised by Prof. Anat Scher worked with 28 normally developing babies, checking on them once every two to three weeks in order to record their motor growth and sleeping habits from four to five months to 11 months old. Data were collected with the help of parental reports, video feeds, and a device called ActiGraph, which provides automated evaluations on each baby’s sleep patterns.

Results showed that, on average, babies who started crawling at seven months experienced increased nocturnal wakefulness. Based on ActiGraph calculations, babies woke up 1.55 to 1.98 times a night and stayed awake for around 10 minutes each interval. These awakenings were more common in those who started crawling earlier than in those who did so later.

But parents don't need to worry, as the baby will eventually settle back to regular sleeping patterns in a span of three months.

With that in mind, here are a few important reminders: when a child starts crawling, parents should always remember to baby-proof the house. There will be a lot of tugging and pulling, so remove unsecure or detachable objects that your little one can reach such as tablecloths and long drapes. Padding sharp corners of furniture is also a must to avoid accidents.

During nighttime awakenings, it’s okay to lull the baby back to sleep until he or she is around seven months old. Typically by then, the child would start learning to go back to sleep on his or her own. If not, parents will need to be a little more patient in finding out what causes the little one’s anxieties.

(Photo by Bradley Gordon via Flickr Creative Commons)

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