As new parents often find, no one in the house sleeps if the baby doesn’t sleep. It’s very common to have sleep troubles with a baby, especially as new habits and routines are being developed.
Newborns and babies should get the recommended amount of sleep based on their age. These recommendations are only guidelines and not every baby will follow them:
Birth to 6 months:
9-12 hours at night (waking through the night to feed)
2-8 hours during the day
6 months to 12 months:
10-12 hours at night (usually sleeping through the night)
2-5 hours during the day
What if my baby has trouble sleeping?
The following are some helpful tips for establishing good sleep habits for your baby:
• Newborns do not have a set night or day schedule for the first several weeks of life. It is best for a newborn not to sleep longer than 5 hours at a time in the first 5 to 6 weeks as their small bodies need frequent feedings.
• Older babies should have a nap time and bedtime schedule. Put your baby to bed at the same time each night.
• Babies should not be put to bed with a bottle. It causes problems with tooth decay and ear infections.
• At bedtime, include quiet activities your baby likes, such as a bath, a story and a last breastfeeding or bottle. Avoid playing with and stimulating the baby.
• Answer your baby’s cries on a schedule. Wait a few minutes longer before each response on a single night, or before every response on succeeding nights. Your baby soon will learn to fall back asleep on his or her own.
• Swaddle your baby. Swaddled babies often sleep more deeply, are startled less often and fall back to sleep more easily. Learn how to swaddle your baby.