How Long Will My Baby Sleep
Because babies this age are more awake, alert, and aware of their surroundings during daylight hours, they’re more likely to be tired at night and sleep. But the range of normal is still very wide.
Infants up to 3 months old should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Many will have settled into a daily sleep routine of two or three naps during the day, followed by a longer “sleeping through the night” stretch after a late-night feeding.
Baby Sleep Tips Thatll Help Baby Sleep Longer Stretches
Sitting on the couch with my swollen legs propped up on pillows, I looked over at the stack of newborn baby sleep books on the coffee table. Over the course of several hours, I devoured each book, skimming through the pages.
I was determined to learn how to make a newborn sleep.
Thenmy son was born.
And.he didnt sleep.
Imagine that. A baby not sleeping the way a book says
I fumbled through it the first six weeks. I was so unsure of myself.
Thankfully, we pulled ourselves together, armed ourselves with some key infant sleep facts, developed a plan and implemented it.
We stuck with it, and at 4 months old, our son was sleeping 11-12 hours at night and naps extended to 1.5 to 2 hours. Woohoo! Weve experienced sleep regression, sleeping on the go, sleeping through teethingand so much more!
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Look Out For Tired Signs
Babies will show signs when they are getting tired such as grimacing, yawning, grizzling, frowning, sucking, staring, snuggling in, jerky movements, becoming over active, clenching fists, rubbing eyes, fussiness or crying. Responding early to these tired signs prevents your baby becoming distressed and makes it easier for them to sleep.
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Helping Your Baby Sleep Alone
Once youve determined the likely reasons your baby is stuck to you like glue at night, you can start trying to fix the problem.
Some of the issues are easy to handle. If your baby is overfeeding or taking naps too close to bedtime, all you have to do is adjust their feeding and sleeping schedule to hopefully see improvement.
We know its hard when they reach out their bitty arms and cry for attention, while all you want is to close your eyes for a few hours. If adjusting their various schedules doesnt work, it might be time to start looking into sleep training or self-soothing techniques.
Give Yourself A Break
“If you listen to your best friend, a cousin, or a neighbor talk about how their baby was sleeping through the night at 2 months, you’ll just get stressed. Tune out the unhelpful comparisons as much as you can. To solve your own baby’s sleep issues, you’ll need a bit of observation, a bit of trial and error, and a lot of flexibility. It’s so easy to feel as if sleep will never get better, but it does constantly change. Just because you have a terrible sleeper at 2 months does not mean you’re fated to have a terrible sleeper at 2 years.” Palmer
Listen to Parents “That New Mom Life” podcast for expert advice on breastfeeding, the emotional highs and lows of motherhood, sleepless nights, and more!
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Let A Friend Or Family Member Watch Your Baby While You Take A Nap Even If This Means Your Breastfed Baby Will Take Some Meals From A Bottle
Lactation experts often discourage breastfeeding mothers from bottle feeding babies for the first 3-4 weeks. The worry is that supplemental feeds will lead to a decreased milk supply and endanger successful breastfeeding in the long-term.
But you need to balance this against the negative effects of severe sleep restriction. Lack of sleep puts parents at increased risk of illness and postpartum depression, which is bad for parents and babies. If you are at the end of your rope, get help.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Night sleep develops first, so typically the first portion of the night is the longest stretch of sleep, says certified pediatric sleep consultant Tracie Kesatie, MA, of Rest Well Baby.
Kesatie recommends implementing a relaxing routine, such as taking a warm bath or reading a few pages of a book before bed, plus turning off electronics at least 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
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Lay The Baby Down Awake But Drowsy
The most important way to encourage your newborn to sleep in the long run is to teach him to fall asleep independently, which is essentially the beginnings of teaching independent sleep.
Babies, like adults, will naturally wake up during the night. Without knowing how to get back to sleep, a baby will cry out after waking regardless of actual need, resulting in night waking droning on for much longer than is actually necessary.
Once a baby gets older, falling asleep independently enables a baby to drift back to sleep after waking in the night, ultimately helping your baby sleep better in the long run.
You can start by settling your baby into a drowsy state with your newborn baby routine, then lay your baby down in their safe sleep space. If needed, place a gentle but firm hand over your babies chest while he drifts off.
Is It Safe To Stop Cosleeping
Safety-wise, theres nothing that you should be worried about. The most important thing that you have to consider if you want to enable your newborn to start sleeping on their own is how comfortable they and you are. It can be emotional for both of you when you choose to stop co-sleeping, so if you have decided that this is best for your family, dont be afraid to start slow.
If you are sharing a bed, move babys crib into your room by your bed and lay them in there. Once he or she gets used to that sleeping environment, you can slowly introduce them to the new world, which would be a separate bedroom, when you are ready.
Baby monitors can help you rest a bit easier once you make the move. You will be able to check on them and be aware of whats going on whenever youd like.
Want to know more? Read our safe co-sleeping guide here.
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Dont Play The Blame Game
Brooding about the situation will make it harder for you to fall asleep when you are given the opportunity. And its wrong-headed, too: You might be doing everything you can to get more sleep, and still be stuck with a baby who sleeps less than average.
Research suggests that the amount of sleep we get at night is strongly influenced by genetics , and, as mentioned above, there is a lot of individual variation among newborns.
Why Is Stomach Sleeping Dangerous
SIDS is more likely among babies placed on their stomachs to sleep than among those sleeping on their backs. Babies also should not be placed on their sides to sleep. A baby can easily roll from a side position onto the belly during sleep.
Some researchers believe that stomach sleeping may block the airway and hurt breathing. Stomach sleeping can increase “rebreathing” when a baby breathes in his or her own exhaled air particularly if the infant is sleeping on a soft mattress or with bedding, stuffed toys, or a pillow near the face. As the baby rebreathes exhaled air, the oxygen level in the body drops and the level of carbon dioxide rises.
Infants who die from SIDS may have a problem with the part of the brain that helps control breathing and waking during sleep. If a baby is breathing stale air and not getting enough oxygen, the brain usually triggers the baby to wake up and cry to get more oxygen. If the brain is not picking up this signal, oxygen levels will continue to fall.
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Don’t Give Up On Swaddling
“It’s the first piece of advice I give to new parents, and they often say, ‘I tried swaddling, and my baby hated it.’ But sleep changes so rapidly in those early weeks and that what she hates at 4 days might work at 4 weeks. And you’ll get better with practice too. It’s common to swaddle to loosely the first few times or feel flustered if your baby is wailing. Believe me, it’s worth another shot, as long as she is still too young to roll over. Try different styles of swaddles, like the Miracle Blanket, which wraps snugly around, or the Swaddle Up, which lets your baby keep her hands up by her faceand maybe make it a little tighter to leave one of her arms out.” Linda Szmulewitz, a licensed social worker and founder of The Chicago New Moms Group and Sleep Tight Consultants
Why Wont Newborns Sleep Alone
Newborns cant communicate their needs or understand the world around them yet youre all they know and want. Hungry and tired might be the two default settings of any newborn baby! Despite this, your little one is a complex little bundle!
There are many different reasons why newborns like being held and rocked to sleep.
Fortunately, understanding why a newborn wont lay down on their own can be relatively easy to figure out, when you know what to look for.
A few different reasons that a newborn may be unable to sleep alone could be:
Understanding your babys need for your closeness, and their inability to sleep alone is a matter of practicing patience and understanding. With trial and error, you can work towards better understanding your baby and their needs.
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Expect A 4th Trimester For Newborns
The first 3 or so months is all about adjusting to the world outside of the womb for infants. Just think of it, your little one was in a quiet, dark, warm spot for their entire existence! Now contrast that with the world outside of that cozy spot.
To adapt to the outside world babies need fully developed reflexes, senses and movement. Instead you have newborns that have a startle reflex, are immobile, cant stretch out their arms and legs fully and dont have a full eyesight. This all contributes to what they need to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Babies like to be bundled up. White noise or shushing is soothing. Being rocked or held close lulls them to sleep. These actions all mimic what they had while inside their mom. This is what the 4th trimester is all about, spending the first couple of months replicating the womb while babies adjust to their new world.
Put Your Child To Sleep In The Same Place
Most babies fall asleep in their strollers or car seats sometimes. Just aim to consistently put your baby to sleep in his crib at around the same time, even for naps, starting when he’s a couple months old. Its important not only to help your baby sleep more soundly, but also to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome .
To that end, avoid scheduling errands when its babys naptime. If your cutie does fall asleep in the stroller, car seat or swing, be sure to transfer him to the crib as soon as possible.
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How Can Parents Protect Kids From Secondhand Smoke
There are fewer smokers now than in years past. Chances are, though, that someone in your family or someone you know still smokes. But it’s never healthy for kids to breathe in tobacco smoke. Even occasional or brief exposures can take a toll on the body.
These two rules can help protect your kids from secondhand smoke:
Also, don’t hesitate to speak up if someone smokes near your child. Politely ask the person not to, but be ready to move away from the smoker if things get uncomfortable.
Get Sunlight And Avoid Artificial Lighting At Night
Make sure you expose yourself and your baby to bright light during the day. And keep lights outor at least dimmedafter sunset.
As noted above, natural lighting helps influence newborn sleep patterns. But it also helps you keep your own circadian rhythms from drifting, which is important if you are going avoid insomnia and be a source of daytime cues for your newborn.
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Learn More: Sleep Training
Use these tips if youre having trouble getting baby to fall asleep. And remember, the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are effective tools for helping babies sleep better and longer and they could be the key to teaching your little one to self-soothe!
How Does Breastfeeding Affect Safe Sleep
Breastfeeding for at least the first 6 of your babys life can reduce your babys risk of SIDS.
Its OK to breastfeed your baby in your bed. Before you start feeding, move any bedding and pillows from your bed in case you fall asleep. If you do fall asleep, move your baby to his crib or bassinet as soon as you wake up. Breastfeeding your baby in bed is safer than on a sofa or cushioned chair.
Babies often fall asleep while breastfeeding, especially when they get full. If you think your babys asleep and hasnt finished feeding, try to wake him gently by rubbing his back, tickling his feet, burping him or switching him to the other breast. If your babys not latched on correctly, he may fall asleep. You can break the latch by putting your pinky finger in the side of his mouth. Ask your lactation consultant to help you make sure your baby has a good latch. Latch is when your babys mouth is securely attached to the area around your nipple for breastfeeding.
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When Should You Stop Swaddling
Experts say you should stop swaddling by the time your baby can roll. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say to stop swaddling by the time your little one is 2 months old.
Before you commit this bit of information to memory, understand that all babies are different. If you have a little one who is rolling early, youll want to stop swaddling sooner. Be sure to bring up this question with your pediatrician to get more specific guidelines for swaddling with your baby.
Around 3,500 infants die each year in the United States from what are called sleep-related deaths. Some of these deaths are caused by SIDS. Others may be due to unsafe sleep practices.
Here are some tips for how to practice safer infant sleep:
You might also examine your own habits surrounding bedtime and otherwise. Part of safe sleep is staying alert and keeping the home free from smoke and other harmful substances. This means eliminating exposure to things like smoking or misuse of alcohol or drugs.
If you need help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-622-HELP or visit their website.
Establish A Flexible Routine For Newborns
Newborns may not stick to a routine at first. You can introduce them to the concept though. The key here is flexibility! In the first few weeks your life naturally wont follow the same routine day-in and day-out. You can still set the stage though by loosely doing the following:
- Simple Daily Routine: Regardless of waking up at different times you can do the same activities with your infant after the rise for the day. For example you might pick them up, feed, change diaper, get dressed, then play.
- Simple Nightly Routine: While the specific time may vary in those first few weeks the steps in your nightly routine can stay the same. For example nightly, change diaper, swaddle, feed, rock then lay your baby down.
- Simple Diaper Change Routine: Follow the same steps for changing a diaper. May sound silly but this simple step helps your baby catch on to consistency. Here is an easy diaper changing tip that prevents sleep interruption.
- Change the baby before you feed so if she falls asleep you can just put her down. Doesnt matter if they just go #1 because night time diapers can keep baby dry for a long time. Of course if baby goes #2 change them.
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What Is Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is a mix of:
- the smoke coming from the burning end of a cigarette or cigar, called sidestream smoke
- the smoke that a smoker breathes out, called mainstream smoke
When non-smokers breathe in secondhand smoke, it can cause serious health problems. In fact, it is almost as dangerous as if they were smokers themselves.