baby sleeping in a comfortable bed

Promoting good sleep habits

As adults, parents understand the importance of a good night’s sleep. Without enough sleep, we can be irritable and productivity can suffer, among other things. The same is true for our children, who need adequate sleep each night because they are still developing and maturing. It’s up to parents to teach them healthy sleep habits as babies. Pediatric Partners of Augusta and our clinic for mothers and newborns, Bella Bambino, are here to help ensure your baby – and you – can get a great night’s sleep. Keep reading for tips for sleep training your baby.

How Long Will My Baby Sleep?

Newborns usually sleep 16 to 18 hours daily, including nighttime and naps. By 3 months, babies sleep 14 to 15 hours each day. Babies this age sleep for longer periods, about 5 to 6 hours. By 6 months, most babies will sleep 13 to 14 hours, mostly at night. By 9 to 12 months, they sleep eight uninterrupted hours at night, but not every night.

Learn Your Baby’s Sleep Cues

Babies who learn to fall asleep tend to have an easier time falling asleep and sleeping longer as they get older. Be sure to watch for baby’s cues that they’re getting sleepy:

  • Notice if your little one is rubbing her eyes, yawning, or getting fussy.
  • Start your bedtime routine 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Dim the lights, slow all activities, and reduce noise and stress; keep baby’s bedroom fairly dark at bedtime.
  • Consider a warm soak or gently wash baby’s face and put him to sleep in cozy pajamas, a blanket sleeper, and a swaddle blanket.
  • Feed her but never let baby take a bottle to bed.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises using a pacifier to help her settle and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Swaddle her with a thin blanket or put her into a commercial sleep sack. Stop swaddling once she shows signs of wanting to roll over.
  • Sing or quietly talk to your baby while preparing for bedtime.
  • Play soft music, read a book, or sing songs and lullabies together.
  • Use a fan or other white noise in his room.
  • Make sure the room is comfortably cool, but not cold.
  • Lay baby in her crib or bassinet when she is drowsy but not yet asleep. At 4 months, start to lay your baby down to sleep before she has fallen asleep.
  • Maintain the same routine each night. Be as stress-free and quiet as possible, and your baby will learn to fall asleep without your help.
  • If she cries when placed in the crib, quietly soothe and pat her with your hand, but do not take her out of the crib. Leave the room, wait a few minutes, then return to reassure with patting and reassuring words. Say goodnight and leave again. Return to the room as needed so she knows you are close, but it is bedtime.
  • For night awakenings that are probably not because of hunger (after the first few months), wait a few moments to see if your baby will fall back asleep on his own. If not, follow the same pattern of offering quiet reassurance.

Your pediatrician is an excellent resource for helping teach you baby to sleep. If you are having trouble or just want more information, contact Pediatric Partners of Augusta today.

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