Initial Sleeping Habits
Very few babies sleep through the night during the first months of life. Try not to make sleeping through the night your number one objective. Also, don’t compare your baby’s sleep habits to your neighbor’s baby as the range of normal varies greatly. With few exceptions, breastfed babies usually feed at least one to two times at night to get adequate calories for growth. Recognize night feedings as normal behavior for infants. Gradually night sleep will lengthen as your baby matures.
Helping Your Baby to Sleep
- If yours is a full-term, healthy newborn, position your baby on his back or side (a blanket roll will keep your baby from rolling), not on the tummy. Sleeping on the tummy has been associated with an increased incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Avoid using any pillows, plastic waterproofing materials or lambskin in the baby’s bed.
- Being snugly wrapped in a receiving blanket helps some newborns settle into sleep.
- The motion of rocking, walking, swinging, or car rides may help your baby relax for sleeping.
- Try music, singing, or a gentle massage for a soothing sleep ritual.
- Continue making your usual family sounds when you bring your baby home. Babies have the ability to "tune out" sounds and learn to sleep through most noises.
- We strongly suggest that you read How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, Simon & Schuster, 1986. Implementing the strategies explained in this book at around 6 months of age will prevent many hard-to-fix sleep problems that commonly develop in infants and toddlers.