Sleeping Accommodations: Staying With Your Child

Parenting in the Early Years

Sleeping Accommodations: Staying With Your Child

A newborn's longest stretch of sleep averages about 4 to 5 hours. By 4 to 6 months of age, most babies will sleep through the night.

Your baby's sleep patterns may be quite irregular the first few days and weeks. Some babies are very sleepy at first while others change rapidly, being alert one minute and falling asleep the next.

If he seems to have days and nights mixed up, interrupt the daytime napping. Limit naps to three hours. During night feedings minimize stimulation. Simply feed him and put him back to bed. Your baby will soon get used to sleeping at night and being up during the day.

Current recommendations are to have babies sleep on their backs on a firm mattress. Lambskins, waterbeds and big pillows should definitely be avoided. These have been linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Do not place soft stuffed toys in the crib while the baby is very young.

Create a smoke-free zone around your baby. Help to give him the cleanest air to breathe that you can.

The baby's room temperature should be at a temperature in which you feel comfortable.

Do not be afraid to carry your baby. Carrying has been shown to reduce fussiness. You cannot spoil an infant during the first three months of life.

Tip for Helping Your Infant Fall Asleep

It is a good idea to put your baby to bed while somewhat awake. This will allow him to adapt to the security of the crib, and allow him to learn how to settle himself. He may not go immediately to sleep. It is quite typical for babies to fuss for 10 minutes or so before drifting off to sleep. It is helpful for him to learn that he can go to sleep without you. His last waking memory should be of the crib. This same method should be used at nap times. Learn more about sleep problems and solutions.