We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
How to establish good sleep habits
Newborns sleep a lot – typically 16 to 17 hours a day. But most babies don't stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time, day or night, during the first few weeks.
As time goes on, your baby will start sleeping less during the day and more at night. At around 4 to 6 months, most babies are capable of sleeping for a stretch of eight or more hours during the night.
Help your baby get there by following these guidelines from the start.
1. Learn the signs that your baby is tired
For the first six to eight weeks, most babies can't stay up much longer than two hours at a time. If you wait longer than that to put your baby down, he may be overtired and have trouble falling asleep.
Watch your baby for signs that he's tired. Is he rubbing his eyes, pulling on his ear, or being more fussy than normal? If you spot these or other signs of sleepiness, try putting him down to sleep. You'll soon develop a sixth sense about your baby's daily rhythms and patterns, and you'll know instinctively when he's ready for a nap.
2. Make daytime playtime
When your baby's alert and awake during the day, interact with her as much as you can, keep the house and her room light and bright, and don't worry about minimizing regular daytime noises like the phone, music, or dishwasher. If she tends to sleep through feedings, wake her up.
3. Keep night time calm
At night, don't play with your baby when he wakes up. Keep the lights and noise level low, and don't spend too much time talking to him. Before long he should begin to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping.
4. Consider starting a bedtime routine
It's never too early to start trying to follow a bedtime routine. It can be something as simple as getting your baby changed for bed, singing a lullaby, and giving her a kiss goodnight.
5. Give your baby a chance to fall asleep on his own
Some experts suggest putting your baby down when he's sleepy but still awake. They recommend not rocking or nursing your baby to sleep, even at this young age. Using this method, if your baby falls sleep at his last feeding, jiggle him gently awake before putting him to bed.
Not everyone agrees with this strategy, however. Many parents rock or nurse their babies to sleep because they consider it normal and natural, because they enjoy it and their baby is thriving and sleeping well, or simply because nothing else seems to work.
Dana Dubinsky is a health and science editor.
advertisement | page continues below