Sleep Tips for Baby from Birth to Six Months

3 Tips for Safe Sleep

  1. Research has shown that the safest way for a babies to sleep is on their backs. Every time you lay your baby down to sleep, lay him on his back!
Safe to Sleep® campaign, for educational purposes only; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,; Safe to Sleep® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This picture does an incredible job of showing what happens when your baby spits up when lying on his back. While on the back, gravity will help the liquid drain into the esophagus, the tube that leads to the stomach. If on the stomach spit up could drain down the breathing tube, causing baby to choke and stop breathing.

 After your baby can roll over, don’t be surprised if you put baby to sleep on his back and you find him on his stomach. No need to put him back on his back as he is old enough to move well on his own. 

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play!”

When your baby is awake and adults are in the room, baby will need some time playing on his tummy, trying to lift his head, reaching for toys, and practicing rolling. Some babies like tummy time more than others. Smiling, cheering, and playing with baby makes it more enjoyable. There is not a set time for the amount of time to play on the tummy, but it’s a good idea to offer tummy time several times a day.

2. In areas that have malaria it’s important to remember that mosquitos that carry malaria are out mostly at night, so everyone should always sleep under a mosquito net.

3. It’s also important that babies are alone in the bed with a firm surface without pillows and blankets.  If a crib or baby cot that meets safety regulations is available, it is safest for baby to have their own crib.  In some countries sleeping with mom, to promote nighttime breastfeeding and be under the family’s mosquito net is the best option for baby.  It’s still necessary to not have blankets or pillows around baby and to have space around the baby so someone doesn’t roll on him in the night. This article is helpful for those cases when co-sleeping is preferred

Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep expert, Dr. Jack Stevens from “Solving Sleep Problems- PediaCast” offers the following 

3 Global Principles for Promoting Healthy Sleep:

  1. Put the child to bed when the child is drowsy, but still awake.
  2. The ability to self-soothe is one of the greatest gifts a parent can help a child attain.
  3. Make the child’s world boring to promote sleep. 

Infants need 12 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.  A newborn was used to being rocked to sleep as you walked around through the day, so they are on a bit of a different schedule than the rest of the family at birth.  It will take some time for him to adjust to day and night sleep patterns. You’re all a little sleep deprived, so it’s best for mom to nap during the day whenever her newborn is sleeping too.  (For my patients that are seasoned travelers, it’s like jet lag.)

During the day, you can naturally establish a pattern that promotes healthy sleep

As soon as baby wakes up from a long night of sleep or a lengthy nap feed your baby, then play, and then lay baby down to sleep when he gets drowsy, but not yet fully asleep.  This allows your baby to fall asleep on his own without needing to be fed and prepares him to self-soothe.  This sleep, feed, play pattern will also protect your baby from falling to sleep with milk in his mouth. When teeth come in, babies shouldn’t fall asleep for the night while feeding, because the sugars from the milk resting against the teeth all night can cause teeth decay. 

At night your newborn baby will need nighttime feeds.  Nighttime breastfeeding can increase the milk supply because prolactin, the hormone that tells the body to produce milk, is produced at night and is stimulated by your baby’s feeding.  Older babies just need to be fed at night if they wake up hungry.  When you feed at night, try to keep the environment as boring as possible so that your baby will learn that nighttime is not for playing, but sleeping.  By six months of age a baby is able to sleep through the night without needing nighttime feedings and can be taught to sleep through the night.

%d bloggers like this: