For a newborn, there’s no day or night. Only feeding time. Her tiny tummy can only hold enough food to keep her content for about three hours, so she needs to be fed around the clock for the first few weeks. Read below for some advice for new moms.
Will I Ever Sleep Again?
By the second month or so, some babies sleep longer at night. Their stomachs are bigger now, so they can take in more food. You may be able to skip the middle-of-the-night feeding. By three months, your baby may even sleep 7-8 hours without waking up. If you're one of the lucky ones, know that this too can change. After establishing a baby sleep schedule, some babies suddenly get their nights and days mixed up again. Fortunately, this can change again quickly.
Helpful Hints for the Sleep-Deprived
- Make sure your baby has a cozy sleeping area with subdued lighting.
- Set a routine. It may begin with a bath, followed by a little quiet story time. Your baby will probably want to be fed then too.
- Wrap your baby in a small blanket to make her feel secure. Make sure her mouth and nose are exposed, so she can get plenty of fresh air.
- Play some soft music. Even background noise, from the TV on low volume, comforts many babies.
- Try to keep the interruptions to a minimum.
If your baby mixes up her days and nights, try these tips:
- If you need to get things done, put your baby in an infant seat or bassinet. Then you can carry her around your house while she sleeps and you do a load of laundry.
- During the day, see that your baby naps for no longer than 3 hours at a time.
- When you feed your baby at night, keep things calm. Don't turn on the lights. Change her quietly before she eats. Then put her back to bed without playing with her.
Back to Sleep: The AAP Says
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has determined that placing babies on their tummies or sides to sleep can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Although SIDS is likely related to multiple conditions and initiating events, it is believed that when a baby falls asleep face-down, carbon dioxide levels can rise. The normal response is to wake up, turn the head slightly, and breathe. There is evidence that some infants that die of SIDS do not respond to high carbon dioxide levels and do not become appropriately aroused when sleeping in a position where they can rebreath their own air.
The AAP recommends that babies sleep on their backs for every sleep.
Of course, babies should have plenty of "tummy time" when they are awake and alert. Ask your baby's doctor if you have any questions about the safest sleep position for your baby.