Training Baby to Sleep

Probably the worst thing about having a new baby is the number of times mother must get up through the night either to feed or settle the new addition to the family. Sleep deprivation makes everyone feel crabby and unable to cope. It is not so bad if this only lasts for a few weeks, but when it goes on for months life is certainly not enjoyable. So what can be done?

It is natural for the new-born infant to waken during the night hours to be fed, but going back to sleep afterwards should also be part of the pattern. Baby needs to sleep a lot – it means he is content and happy. Lack of sleep means baby will be cranky and not feed or settle properly. To train your baby to sleep properly you need to establish a pattern of feeding, wake/play time and then sleep time.

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Sleep vs. Night Feeding

In some rare cases, lucky mothers find their baby sleeps through the night almost from the time they are brought home. But most are not so fortunate. Nearly all new babies need to be fed through the night; some even require more than one feed.

Since breast milk is so easy to digest, breast fed babies tend to waken for more feeds through the night because they get hungry more quickly. But there comes a time when baby needs to learn to sleep right through the night. Sometimes this happens naturally, but very often mothers must encourage it to happen. Since no one wants to be constantly getting up for night feeds, working towards such a goal is necessary.

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Day Sleeps for Baby

Newborn babies can be expected to sleep most of the time including through the day. They will awaken when they get hungry – and be awake to be bathed and tended to, but for the most part newborns do sleep a lot. Naturally, as the baby gets a little older he or she will be awake for longer periods of time until at about four to six months you can expect them to be mainly awake for two hours and asleep for two hours alternately throughout the day.

Of course, every baby is different and those who have trouble with gas or colic may be expected to be more wakeful due to their discomfort. Also, some babies just seem to be more wakeful and alert than others, but this does not mean they should miss their day sleeps.

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The 411 on Baby Gas Problems

Many babies seem to be disturbed by abdominal gas; they either ingest bubbles of air while feeding or gas forms in the gut as bacteria breaks down undigested sugars. When this problem is really bad it is usually called colic. Two things can contribute to the problem of gas – fast feeding and failure to burp halfway between the feed and after completion. Read More