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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Initially, your infant doesn't know the difference between day and night. Her stomach holds only enough to satisfy her for three or four hours, regardless of the time, so there's no escaping round-the-clock walking and feeding for the first few weeks. But even at this age, you can begin to teach her that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime for playing. Do this by keeping nighttime feedings as subdued possible. Don't turn up the lights or prolong late-night diaper changes. Instead of playing, put her back down after feeding and changing her. If she's napping longer than three or four hours, particularly in the late afternoon, wake her up and play with her. This will train her to save her extra sleeping for nighttime.

For many years it has been recommended that infants, particularly in the age range from birth to four months, be placed on their stomachs for sleep. This was thought to be the best way to avoid aspiration(sucking food into the trachea or windpipe) in case of vomiting or spiting up. Recent information, however, indicates the back is a safer position, particularly as it relates to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Therefore, that healthy infants be placed on their back for sleep. The exact reason for this finding is not certain, but it may be related to the stomach-positioned infant getting less oxygen or eliminating less carbon dioxide because she is "re-breathing" air from a small pocket of bedding pulled up around the nose. Although sleep position is probably not the only reason for SIDS, it seemed to be so strongly related that the academy felt obligated to make this recommendation. Please note that there are some expectations to this new recommendation, which your pediatrician can discuss with you.

This recommendation applies to infants throughout the first year of life. However, the recommendation is particularly important for the first 6months, when the incidence of SIDS is the highest.

It also important to avoid placing your baby down for sleep on soft, porous surfaces such as pillows or quilts. Her airway may become blocked if her face becomes burrowed in such surfaces. A firm crib mattress covered by a sheet is the safest bedding.

As she gets older and her stomach grows, your baby will be able to go longer between feedings. In fact, you'll be encouraged to know that more than 90 percent of babies sleep through the night(6-8 hours without waking) by 3 months. Most infants are able to last this long between feedings when they reach 12 or 13 pounds, so if yours is a very large baby, she may begin sleeping through the night even earlier 3 months. As encouraging as this sounds, don't expect the sleep struggle to end all at once. Most children swing back and forth, sleeping beautifully for few weeks, or even months, then returning abruptly to a late-night wake-up schedule. This may have to do with growth spurts increasing the need for food, or, later, it may be related to teething or developmental changes.

From time to time you will need to help your baby fall asleep or go back to sleep. Especially as a newborn, she probably will doze most of easily if given gentle continuous stimulation. Some infants are helped by rocking, walking, patting on the back, or by a pacifier in the mouth. For others, music from radio or a record or tape player can be very soothing of played at moderate volume. Even the sound of the television, played quietly, can provide comforting background noise. Certain stimulation, however, is irritating to any baby - for example, ringing telephones, barking dogs, and roaring vacuum cleaners.

There is no reason to restrict your baby's sleeping to her crib. If, for any reason, you want her closer to you while she sleeps, use her infant seat or bassinet as a temporary crib and move it around the house with you. (She'll be perfectly happy in a padded basket if you don't have an "official" bassinet).


Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this for some time now, cause I feel like my baby's a night person. Thanks for the tips! :)

Joy on November 3, 2011 at 10:49 PM said...

environment is also important, serene and noise free room should be provided for babies to get enough sleep or else they will cry at the top of their voice when distracted :)

Zen on November 5, 2011 at 5:32 AM said...

This is a big help for mommies who need tips for this. How I wish that I have one of my own already.. :)

Gladys | WanderingTandem.com on November 8, 2011 at 4:14 PM said...

great tips for helping the baby to sleep :)

Noel on November 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM said...

Howdy, What a remarkable write-up. keep up the good work. Post more often.. :)

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