Sleep all Day, Up all Night! Changing Your Baby’s Sleep Habits

Posted by | January 23, 2014 | Most Popular, Pregnancy Health | No Comments
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Babies do not come with a complete set of instructions, especially when it comes to their sleep patterns. Meeting your baby’s needs for adequate sleep promotes healthy growth and development. But what do you do when your baby spends several hours each night looking up at you with those big blue eyes, ready to learn about her world? Identifying her developing sleep patterns can help you get her on a sleep schedule that allows everyone in the house to get the rest they need.

How Do I Identify My Baby’s Sleep Patterns?

Newborns need an average of 16 hours of sleep per day, and this usually comes in three to four hour stretches. According to KidsHealth.org, bottle-fed newborns feed every two to four hours and breastfed babies every two to three hours. This sleeping/feeding pattern will last for at least the first few weeks, and as most new parents know, you will be sleep deprived during that time.  But soon your baby will begin to adapt to life outside the womb and will have longer awake times during the day and longer stretches of sleep at night.

When Will I Notice Changes in Sleep Patterns?

By the time your baby reaches six to eight weeks of age she should be sleeping less during the day. Although most babies this age still need to feed at least once during the night, your baby will begin to stretch her nighttime sleeping into more than four hours at a time. Somewhere between the ages of four to six months your baby is capable of sleeping eight to twelve hours each night.

How Do I Help My Baby Develop Good Sleep Habits?

If your baby still wakes in the middle of the night, pay attention to how often and when she naps. Most babies need a morning nap one to two hours after breakfast and an afternoon nap one to two hours after lunch. But make sure your baby is not napping too close to bedtime so she is tired when it is time to go down. Establish a bedtime routine that includes a warm bath, bedtime bottle or nursing, rocking, singing or looking at a book. These evening rituals signal your baby’s internal clock that it is time to sleep.

When she’s old enough, helping your baby learn to sleep through the night lets everyone be their best during the day.

Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”