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Your Top Baby Sleep Questions, Answered…Fast!

Get new baby bedtime tips and all of your baby sleep questions answered from pediatrician and author, Harvey Karp M.D.
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We know you’ve got a lot of questions about your baby’s sleep habits but not much time to read the answers. Voila! Los Angeles pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the popular book and DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block, shares super-quick advice—we’re talking 25 words (or less).

Q. How much sleep do babies need in a day?

A. On average: Newborns, about 16 hours; 6 to 9 months, 14 hours; 9 to 12 months, 13 hours.

Q. What’s the fastest way to get a newborn to calm down for sleep?

A. Wrap your baby snuggly in a blanket—it mimics the close quarters of the womb.

Q. Do babies really need to sleep on their backs?

A. Yes, to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Once baby’s a year old and can roll over, he can sleep on his stomach or back.

Q. Will feeding baby more at night or putting cereal in her bottle help her sleep longer?

A. No. It can actually lead to indigestion, which makes it harder for baby to sleep.

Q. If you keep baby up late, will he fall asleep faster and sleep better?

A. Nope. Being overtired amps up baby’s stress hormones and leads to more night wakings.

Q. Should I be waking my baby up for feedings at night?

A. Possibly—it depends on how a baby is gaining weight. Discuss with your pediatrician.

Q. What’s the deal with crib bumpers—do or don’t?

A. A don’t for newborns, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. They increase the SIDS risk.

Q. Crib aquariums and white noise machines: good idea or not?

A. Good idea: They’re soothing. Also, your baby will associate whooshing sounds with sleep (and sleep)!

Q. When do babies start sleeping through the night?

A. More than half of babies sleep five to eight hours at a stretch anywhere from 2 to 6 months old.

Q. If baby sleeps well in a car seat, is it OK to have him sleep in it at night?

A. No—babies can’t breathe as well sitting up, another SIDS risk. Transfer him to a crib.

Q. How do I get my newborn to sleep nights instead of days?

A. Keep her awake more often during the day and do several feedings in the evening.

Q. How important is it to have a bedtime ritual for babies?

A. They’re key. Routines help even newborns know what’s coming, so they’re more ready to snooze.

Q. How do I discourage nighttime wakings, as baby gets older?

A. Don’t be fun or playful and keep the lights low. Baby will get the message.

Q. When is it time to "sleep train" my baby?

A. Wait until at least 6 months, when baby’s brain has matured enough to establish patterns.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 15reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Great article full of important information I wish I wou read right before my baby was born October 22, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by how do i get my 5 month old to sleep in her crib when i try and put her down to sleep in it she wakes up right away December 16, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by great article..i needed it...my baby is 4 months now and won't sleep throughout the night and i want to start training him but i guess i'll wait until he's 6 months or so October 5, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I found the article to be helpful in some regards. However some of the advice is not realistic. If you have a large family, a job & a busy scheduel sometimes it's VERY difficult to have a soothing sleep scheduel when the activities and time of arrival at home in the evenings vary. Not to mention the inability to have conrol over the "sitters" allowing sneaky naps or over indulgence in activities with the baby & older siblings. Sometimes the baby gets riled up with the other kids enjoyment of a parents' night out. I, however, chalk it up to the cost of "us" time. September 20, 2012
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