Sleep (1 to 4 months)

Every child has unique sleeping patters, but as a parent make sure you know the basics.

Your infants sleep may not be on any particular schedule for their first six weeks. According to Michigan State University Extension, this may happen because they can’t decipher between day and night. At about 6 weeks, their total sleep time should be around 16 hour per day, including 4-6 hours during the night. This is only a guideline; every child is unique in their own sleeping patterns.

Here are some ways to soothe a baby to sleep:

  • Have quiet time with low lights (low stimulation).
  • Swaddling your baby securely in a blanket.
  • Letting the baby suck on a pacifier, bottle, hand or wrist. They are beginning to soothe themselves.
  • Gentle rocking or swinging your baby.
  • Giving her a gentle and soft massage.
  • Light soft music or singing to your baby (they don’t judge our singing skills).

We need to be aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is also called crib death. There are things we can do as parents and caregivers to reduce the risks. They include:

  • Always putting your baby on their backs to sleep.
  • Keeping all toys, blankets, pillows or stuffed animals out of the crib to prevent choking and/or suffocation.
  • The mattress and bedding should be firm, flat and fit into the crib without gaps between the crib walls.
  • Do not place your infant to sleep ever on a soft surface such as a waterbed, sofas, soft mattresses, pillows or comforters/blankets. These items can smother your baby.
  • Dress your infant in as many layers of clothing as you would wear to be comfortable. Also keep the room temperature in the baby’s room to where you would be comfortable.

Be patient when it comes to your child’s sleeping patterns. Again, remember that each child can have unique sleeping habits. Some children may need more or less sleep. Try to take it easy when your child is sleeping or even better yet take a nap yourself. An infant can take up so much of our time caring for them, we need rest time also. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from family or friends when you need extra rest. This is a sign of strength when we ask for help. We are than taking care of our own needs so that we can than take care of our baby’s needs.

For more information on your child’s development, visit born learning.  If you have any concerns about your child’s health, contact your pediatric doctor’s office.

This is the first article in a Michigan State University Extension series on sleep. See also: Sleep (6 to 36 months).

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