During those first few weeks of life, newborn babies sleep a lot. Unfortunately, they don’t necessarily sleep when we want them to.
Sleep deprivation is a common complaint of parents, especially those of newborns. A common question of new parents is “when will my baby sleep through the night?” According to pediatrician Dr. Peter Strachn, “the average baby will sleep through the night at 6 or 7 weeks of age, however, there are many exceptions. Some babies may not sleep through until they are 3 or 4 months and other may manage at 2 or 3 weeks.”
The reason your baby is having trouble sleeping through the night isn’t because he or she is a night owl, rather it’s because babies simply don’t know the difference between day and night. But there are things you can do to help teach your baby that night time is sleep time. Sleep specialist Dr. Shelley Weiss recommends that at night time when a mother is feeding a baby she should make it a quiet, unstimulating and short feeding period and then put the child back to bed in a dark place. “In the daytime,” says Dr. Weiss “when she’s feeding the baby she should make it a more fun, nurturing awake time to try to give the child the clue that at night you go back to sleep and that during the day it’s okay to be up.”
Dr. Weiss adds that until about three to four months of age it is difficult for newborns to put themselves to sleep and that parents should rock, nurture and cuddle a child to help them fall asleep. “After three or four months of age you should start to teach your child to learn to fall asleep,” says Dr. Weiss.
Rest assured, in time your newborn will begin to sleep through the night. In the meantime, try to prevent sleep deprivation in yourself by doing what so many experts recommend for those first weeks and months an infant’s life…sleep when your baby sleeps!
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.
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