Sleep And Your New Baby

Southern Regional Offers Helpful Information on Baby’s Sleep

Most babies are not capable of sleeping through the night, so you should expect some sleepless nights when you bring your baby home.

Generally, babies will wake up every 2-3 hours because they are hungry. Some will drift immediately back off to sleep after feeding, and others will be more alert. Every baby is different and will establish his/her own pattern of sleep. We recommend that you plan your rest periods around your baby’s sleep.

Mother kissing her sleeping baby

What to Expect With Your Baby’s Sleeping Patterns

During the first week or two of life, your baby will sleep a lot. In fact, sometimes it may be hard to keep him/her awake at all. Don’t worry. This will change. As your babies get older, they become more alert.

By 4-8 weeks of age, you will notice that your baby may start sleeping through one or both of the nighttime feedings, allowing you more sleep. Feeding your baby solid foods will not make him/her sleep longer, so wait to introduce these until around 5-6 months.

The key is to be patient and for you to rest when your baby is resting. We promise that there will be a day when you both sleep through the night.

Sleep Positioning

Recent studies have shown that there is a higher incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants who sleep on their stomachs. We recommend that healthy babies be put on their back when sleeping. Some infants who have malformations or other conditions may need to be placed on their stomach, so be sure and consult with a healthcare provider.

Also, restrain from using a “wedge” or other devise designed to help your baby maintain a sleep position. Many of these sleep aids have not been tested for safety and none have been proven to reduce SIDS.

Preventing SIDS

Here are some important recommendations for preventing SIDS.

  • Make sure baby’s mattress is firm and in a crib approved for safety. Remove all soft pillows, comforters and sheepskins, and do not let baby sleep on other soft surfaces such as waterbeds, sofas or feather beds.
  • Pillows, fluffy toys, comforters, blankets, quilts, etc. can cover you baby’s airways while sleeping. Remove all such items from the crib.
  • Keep baby’s room at a comfortable temperature and dress him/her in as little or as much clothing as you are comfortable in while sleeping. A baby can overheat if overdressed.
  • Make sure that your baby’s face and head are uncovered during sleep. Do not let him/her sleep in clothing that has a hood or is loose around the face.
  • A blanket is not necessary to keep your baby comfortable if he/she is dressed in appropriate sleepwear. If you must use a blanket make sure it only comes up to baby’s waist and is tucked into the sides of the mattress to prevent shifting.
  • Smoking before and after birth can be unsafe to your baby. Ask others around you not to smoke as well.
  • Sleeping in the same bed with your baby can be unsafe. There have been cases where infants have suffocated because an adult rolled over on them in the night. Smoking and alcohol use is also dangerous and can impair your ability to wake up should your baby need you. If you want your newborn nearby, try putting the crib or bassinet next to your bed where you can have close contact, while also ensuring safety.