Getting Sleep After the Birth of Your Baby

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One of the biggest questions asked new parents is “when will my baby start sleeping through the night.” While it is true that newborn babies sleep a lot (usually sixteen to seventeen hours per day), most newborn babies do not stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time during the first few weeks of their life.  Therefore, if you have a newborn at home, you can expect to be up several times during the night feeding and changing your baby. At six to eight weeks of age, most babies start to stay awake for longer periods during the day and to sleep for longer periods at a time at night.  However, most babies at this stage still need to be fed several times during the night.

Most experts believe that healthy, full-term babies are capable of sleeping for eight to twelve hours at a time starting around eight weeks of age.  However, this will vary from child to child.  Some babies may even have this ability as early as six weeks while others may not start sleeping through the night until they reach five to six months of age.

There are some things you can do to help your baby establish good sleep habits including the following:

•  Learn the signs of when he or she is tired and put him or her down at this point.  If babies become overly tired, they may have a harder time settling down to sleep.

•  Establish a good bedtime routine.  This may include giving your child a bath around the same time every night, feeding them for a longer feeding at night prior to bed, listening to music, etc.

•  Give your baby the opportunity to fall asleep on his or her own.  This may require letting them cry for shorts periods of time before they fall asleep.

For more information and tips about how to help your baby establish good sleep habits so you can get the rest you need, talk to your physician or certified nurse midwife today.

Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.
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