Just when you think that getting more shut-eye is a far-off dream, your baby will
begin to sleep longer stretches at night. Baby's sleep cycle is getting closer
to yours, and your little one may be feeding less often at night.
But don't assume you'll be hitting the snooze button just yet. At this stage, "sleeping
through the night" is considered to be a stretch of only 5 or 6 hours.
How Long Will My Baby Sleep?
Because babies this age are more awake, alert, and aware of their surroundings
during daylight hours, they're more likely to be tired at night and sleep. But
the range of normal is still very wide.
Infants up to 3 months old should get 14–17 hours of sleep over a 24-hour
period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Many will
have settled into a daily sleep routine of two or three naps during the day, followed
by a longer "sleeping through the night" stretch after a late-night feeding.
How Should Babies Sleep?
The American of Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing
without bed-sharing for or at least the first 6 months or, ideally, until a baby's
first birthday. This is when the risk ofSIDS(sudden
infant death syndrome)is highest.
Room-sharing is when you place your baby's crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet
in your own bedroom instead of in a separate nursery. This keeps baby nearby and helps
with feeding, comforting, and monitoring baby at night.
While room-sharing is safe, putting your baby to sleep in bed with you
increases the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths.
Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:
Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, not on the stomach
or side. The rate of SIDS has gone way down since the AAP introduced this
recommendation in 1992.
Use a firm sleep surface. Cover the mattress with a sheet that
fits snugly. Make sure your crib,
bassinet, or play yard meets current safety standards.
Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush
toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper
pads out of your baby's sleep area.
Avoid overheating. Dress your baby for the room temperature,
and don't overbundle. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling
hot to the touch.
Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. But if your baby rejects
the pacifier, don't force it. If the pacifier falls out during sleep you do not have
to replace it. If you're breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is firmly established.
Watch out for other hazards. Avoid items with cords, ties, or
ribbons that can wrap around a baby's neck, and objects with any kind of sharp edge
or corner. Look around for things that your baby can touch from a seated or standing
position in the crib. Hanging mobiles, wall hangings, pictures, draperies, and window
blind cords could be harmful if they are within a baby's reach.
Helping Your Baby Sleep
If you haven't already, start a bedtime routine that will be familiar and relaxing
for your baby. Bathing, reading, and singing can soothe babies and signal an end to
the day. Some babies like to be swaddled (wrapped in a light blanket), which can be
done until they start to roll. Be consistent and your baby will soon associate these
steps with sleeping.
If you rock your baby to sleep before bedtime, your little one may expect to be
rocked to sleep after nighttime awakenings. Instead, try putting your baby into a
crib or bassinet while drowsy but still awake. This way your baby will learn to fall
asleep on his or her own.
Some babies squirm, whine, and even cry a little before falling back to sleep on
their own. Unless you think that your baby is hungry or ill, see what happens if you
leave your baby alone for a few minutes — he or she might settle down.
If your baby wakes during the period that you want him or her to sleep, keep activity
to a minimum. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk
to your baby. Change
or feed your baby and return him or her to the crib or bassinet.
If your baby is waking early for a morning feeding, some small changes may allow
a slight shift in schedule. You might try waking your baby for the late-night
feeding at a time that
suits your sleep schedule:
For instance, if your baby sleeps after a 7 p.m. feeding and wakes up at 2 a.m.
to eat, try waking the baby to feed at 11 p.m. Then, put your little one down to sleep
until an early-morning feeding at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.
It may take a few nights to establish this routine, but being consistent will improve
your chances of success.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Some infants at this age will start sleeping through the night, but there is a
wide range of normal. If you have questions about your baby's sleep, talk with your