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Sleep & Naps

Getting your little one to sleep like a baby can be a lot easier said than done. Huggies has compiled articles, advice and answers on how to get both you and your newborn snoozing soundly.

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The 4 Hour Schedule At 4 Months That Helped Us All

By:Andrea Howe

Right around the time my son turned four months old, we started to notice a bit of a change in him, in particular to his sleeping and eating patterns. I tried to be very loose and laid back about his schedule from the get-go, and didn’t force a strict timeline to our day, but a rather consistent routine developed anyhow. He would get really sleepy and ready for a nap every 1-1.5 hours, and then nap for roughly 1.5-2 hours, so he naturally was eating about every 3 hours. His schedule for the most part was very “textbook”. At about 4 months old though, as I said, he started to change. Here’s how a slight adjustment to his routine made for a smoother day (and night).

When Hayden turned four months old we noticed that after 3 hours he just wasn’t that hungry and was starting to eat less and less, but seemed hungrier more often throughout the day, and he was also waking up more at night, starving and taking full feedings. We also noticed that he wasn’t really sleepy and ready for a nap anymore after being awake for an hour or so. He was starting to fight his naps a bit more. He was definitely changing.

One of the parenting books that I followed quite closely when I was a new mom dedicated an entire chapter to baby’s development and growth during the fourth month of life, and talked in detail about how important it was to change their routine a bit to account for this growth. I briefly remembered this so revisited the topic and sure enough, it stated that at four months, babies are growing so much that they can handle being up for longer, and need a bit more stimulation and awake time to get them properly tuckered out for a nap. In terms of feedings, they are also starting to be ready to eat more per feeding, and less often. The idea is to stretch out their feedings so that they are hungry enough to take a full feeding and not just snack. It seemed clear at this point that Hayden was snacking throughout the day, and by night time was ravenous because he wasn’t getting enough calories during the day.

So we gradually over the course of about 3 days started to stretch out his feedings to every 3.5-4 hours. We also then kept him up a bit longer, more like 2 hours, before we put him down for a nap. By the end of the transition he had dropped a feeding completely, but he was eating much more at those feedings than he was before. He also dropped a nap.

His schedule now looks roughly like this everyday:

Wake 7 am and eat.

Nap from 9-10:30/11 am

Eat at 11 am

Nap from 1-3:30/4 pm

Eat at 4 pm

Catnap from 5:30-6

Eat and bedtime by 7:30

Eat again at 10:30-11pm

Sleep till about 4:30 and eat again

Up for the day at 7:30 to start again!

Moving from a 3 hour routine to a 4 hour routine definitely helped all of us. Hayden is happy hanging out with us a bit more during the day and is less hungry between feedings and at night. We’re happy to be waking up less, although the routine is by no means perfect. Just last night he was up about 4 times just wanting to hang out with us! But for the most part we are all doing great now that we are on a 4 hour schedule.


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Sleeping baby on white blanket

6 Simple Things That Helped Our Baby Start Sleeping Longer

Getting babies to sleep can definitely be a bit of a challenge. As I first-time mom, I spent days upon days of my life fretting over how to make sleep happen and worrying about why it wasn’t happening soon enough. With my second baby, I have learned to go with the flow a bit more. I am thankful to have had some perspective this time around, so that when I had those moments of feeling like the sleepless nights were never going to end, I knew that it wasn’t actually true.

But while I’ve realized that babies do start sleeping more eventually, but I’ve also realized that sometimes they need a little bit of help in getting there. Everyone has their own approach when it comes to babies and sleep, but sleep training techniques aside, we found a few things that helped our little one begin to sleep.

1. Moving to his own room

For a long while, I thought that room sharing was the best option for us to get extra sleep. Since our baby was waking 4-6 times each night to nurse for a good long while, it made sense. Around the time he was 6 months old though, I began realizing that this might have been more out of habit than actual hunger. We moved him to his own room and he ended up sleeping much more soundly – maybe because our noises weren’t waking him anymore!

2. Blackout shades

I cannot say enough good things about having a blackout shade. With the sun staying out longer each evening and rising earlier each morning, our baby had taken to waking with the sun and taking awhile to fall asleep as well. A blackout shade has helped remedy the problem, and we’re getting 1.5 to 2 more hours of sleep each night now — not to mention the fact that nap times are so much easier as well!

3. White noise

I procrastinated using white noise for our baby for quite some time, since he seemed to be able to fall asleep just fine without it. It had become something our older daughter was dependent on until she was nearly three, so I was hoping to keep our sleep routine more minimal this time around. The problem is though, little noises would often wake him and with an older sibling around, sleep disruptions from loud noises occur pretty often. We added white noise to the mix and the sleep has been a lot better ever since.

4. Using a wearable blanket

We had never used a wearable blanket for my daughter, so I didn’t really think to use one for my son, but someone gifted us one and it was brilliant! Not only does it keep our boy cozy and warm, but the mere sight of it serves as a sleep association. He’s so used to it as part of our nightly routine that he starts nodding off almost as soon as I put it on him! This Dumbo one from Disney Baby is a really cute option.

5. Daddy going in to comfort instead of Mommy

Because I nurse, I had always been the one to go in to soothe our little man in the middle of the night. In the past couple of months though, we made the switch so that my husband is now the one to go in and soothe him during middle-of-the-night wake-ups. After a week or so, he was hardly waking up in the night anymore, because he knew that it wasn’t time for a midnight snack. He still wakes up sad occasionally and a quick snuggle from Daddy seems to do the trick quite nicely.

6. Huggies Overnites

Changing diapers in the middle of the night is a bit of a pain and ever since our boy started eating solids and drinking water in earnest, the diaper changes have been a lot more frequent. Switching to Huggies Overnite diapers made a world of difference. I swore by them with my daughter, and I still think they’re the bee’s knees. No more early morning wake ups just for a diaper change!

Helping your little one find more sleep makes a world of difference on everyone’s outlook. Well-rested parents and babies are happy parents and babies! It may take a bit, but with time and a bit of trial and error you’ll find that sleep together.

Image : Disney Baby

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Baby sleep: Helping baby sleep through the night

If you haven't had a good night's sleep since your baby was born, you're not alone. Sleepless nights are a rite of passage for most new parents — but don't despair. You can help your baby sleep all night. Honestly!

Developing a rhythm

Newborns sleep 16 or more hours a day, but often in stretches of just a few hours at a time. Although the pattern might be erratic at first, a more consistent sleep schedule will emerge as your baby matures and can go longer between feedings.

By age 3 to 4 months, many babies sleep at least five hours at a time. At some point during a baby's first year — every baby is different — he or she will start sleeping for about 10 hours each night.

Encouraging good sleep habits

For the first few months, middle-of-the-night feedings are sure to disrupt sleep for parents and babies alike — but it's never too soon to help your baby become a good sleeper. Consider these tips:

  • Encourage activity during the day. When your baby is awake, engage him or her by talking, singing and playing. Stimulation during the day can help promote better sleep at night.
  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Try relaxing favorites such as bathing, cuddling, singing, playing quiet music or reading. Soon your baby will associate these activities with sleep.
  • Put your baby to bed drowsy, but awake. This will help your baby associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and clear the crib or bassinet of blankets and other soft items.
  • Give your baby time to settle down. Your baby might fuss or cry before finding a comfortable position and falling asleep. If the crying doesn't stop, speak to your baby calmly and stroke his or her back. Your reassuring presence might be all your baby needs to fall asleep.
  • Consider a pacifier. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. In fact, research suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Expect frequent stirring at night. Babies often wriggle, squirm and twitch in their sleep. They can be noisy, too. Unless you suspect that your baby is hungry or uncomfortable, it's OK to wait a few minutes to see if he or she falls back asleep.
  • Keep nighttime care low-key. When your baby needs care or feeding during the night, use dim lights, a soft voice and calm movements. This will tell your baby that it's time to sleep — not play.
  • Don't 'bed share' during sleep. This can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. Bed sharing might also increase your baby's risk of SIDS. If you'd like to keep your baby close, consider placing your baby's bed in your bedroom.
  • Respect your baby's preferences. If your baby is a night owl or an early bird, you might want to adjust routines and schedules based on these natural patterns.

Keeping it in perspective

Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a worthy goal, but it's not a measure of your parenting skills. Take time to understand your baby's habits and ways of communicating so that you can help him or her become a better sleeper. If you have concerns, talk to your baby's doctor.


This article was from Mayo Clinic Health Information Library and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

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3 Ways I Got Through Sleep Deprivation as a New Mom

One thing that I heard several times during my pregnancy with my first was to “sleep before the baby comes, because you won’t sleep for a long time after.” I always laughed at the statement. How bad could losing a little sleep be? It wasn’t until the first night home with her that I laughed at myself for thinking that. Getting up every two hours and then not having a baby that wanted to go back to sleep was completely and totally exhausting.

Every day for the next few months, I felt like a walking zombie. The lack of sleep was really getting to me, and sometimes I just begged for a quick five-minute nap. You know it’s bad when you just want to close your eyes for five minutes.

Six years later, I get a little bit more sleep than I did, but now I’m used to the lack of sleep that comes with motherhood. Thankfully, there were things that I’ve done over the years that have helped with the sleep deprivation.

  1. Ask for help.
  2. This is probably the best thing you can do for yourself, especially if you are exhausted. Ask a family member to come over between feedings so you can catch some zzz’s. If you don’t have family nearby, ask a friend to do the same, or even think about hiring a babysitter. There is no shame is asking someone to help you with your baby. In fact, I recommend it to every new mom I know. It’s a lifesaver, and you will be so surprised what just one extra hour of sleep will do for your morale and your energy.

  3. Never underestimate the power of baby gear.
  4. One of the reasons I never got any sleep when my kids were newborns was because they had no interest in sleeping in their cribs. Every time I’d lay them down (even if they were already asleep), they’d wake right up the second I put them in their crib. It wasn’t until I tried a swing like this Minnie Mouse Bows and Butterflies Baby-to-Big Kid Rocking Seat, or a bouncer, like this Geo Pooh Bouncer, that my kids immediately fell asleep. I remember putting my daughter in the swing for the first time and then laying on the couch next to her. As soon as I saw her eyes close, I immediately closed mine and was asleep within minutes. On those days that I couldn’t get them to sleep, baby gear like a swing or bouncer really saved me and allowed both my baby and I to catch up on our much needed sleep.

  5. The stuff can wait.
  6. We always hear the saying “sleep when baby sleeps,” which sounds nearly impossible. But the truth is, you need to do it. I used to think that when my baby was sleeping was the perfect time for me to catch up on things around the house. I’d clean, do laundry, wash dishes, catch up on emails, etc. But once when baby woke up, I found myself even more exhausted. Realistically, most of the things I did when my baby was sleeping could have waited for later when she was content and playing on the floor. I needed sleep and I definitely should have taken advantage of the time she was sleeping. Let your brain take a break for a while and use that time when baby is sleeping to catch up on sleep for yourself too.

Sleep deprivation can get the best of you. It’s exhausting to be a new mom. And you never really truly know the depths of lack of sleep until you live through those newborn days with your brand new blessing. Use these tips to help get your sleep back on track so you and your baby can spend many more awake and happy magical moments together.

Image: DisneyBaby

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Baby sleeping with a teddy bear

FAQ Sleep Questions

The key to helping your little one fall asleep is creating a comfortable and safe environment. We polled several sleeping experts to find out what essential must-knows can help your baby boy or girl finally calm down and enter the Land of Nod.

How can I help my baby fall asleep?

“The best thing you can do to help your baby fall asleep at night is to create a great sleep environment,” says Haleigh Almquist, Certified Lactation Counselor, Advanced Certified Newborn Care Specialist, Post-Partum Doula and Founder and CEO of Hush Hush Little Baby Newborn Care.

How to create a comfy sleeping space:

  • Make sure the room is completely dark.
  • Have a source of white noise (a fan, pointed away from baby; a white-noise machine, or a radio set to static all work well).
  • Adjust the room temperature to 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your nighttime routine can also help baby fall asleep. “Create a routine that prepares your child to unwind, settle and let go of the day,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.”

For a healthy and helpful bedtime routine, try the following:

  • Give baby a bath.
  • Give baby a massage.
  • Cuddle with baby and read a book or sing a song.
  • Put baby to bed slightly awake.
  • Introduce a transitional, self-soothing object like a pacifier.

How much sleep does my baby need and when will my child sleep through the night?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), newborn babies from birth to 3 months require 16-18 hours of sleep each day. By 4 months, your baby should be able to go eight or more hours without eating, and should be ready to sleep through the night. And, by 5 months, baby should only need about 10 hours total of sleep (often spread throughout three sleep sessions daily: two naps and nighttime sleeping). “Sleeping through the night means something different for each family. I consider a period of 6-8 hours of continuous sleep a success. Some babies sleep through the night at 4 months, but for others it may take up to a year,” says Almquist.

How many naps should my baby have — and when?

“Newborns spend more time asleep than they do awake,” Almquist says. “But after 4 months, they should maintain two or three scheduled naps spread throughout the day.”

How do I keep my baby safe while sleeping?

The AAP recommends the following:

  • Always put babies to sleep on their back, never on their stomach.
  • Only put baby to sleep on a firm surface, and remove any objects from inside the crib, particularly crib bumpers.
  • Put newborn babies to sleep in the same room where you will be sleeping, within arm’s reach.
  • No smoking.
  • Let baby sleep with a pacifier. If you are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is going well before offering a pacifier.

How can I help my baby fall asleep?

  1. Shushing: Also, the womb is 80-90 decibels (louder than a vacuum cleaner) thanks to the whooshing of maternal blood flow,” says Melissa Gersin, a maternity RN and infant crying specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Health..“‘Shh-ing’ or white noise (can help), as these mimic the comforting sounds of the womb.”

  2. Rocking and swaying: Rocking or swaying baby mimics the gentle motion of the womb, and can act as a sleep aid.
  3. Sucking: A pacifier or nursing before putting baby down for the night help your little one relax and prepare for a nice, long rest.

About Our Experts:
Dr. Fran Walfish is a Beverly Hills, California-based child, parenting and relationship psychotherapist, and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.” Haleigh Almquist is a Certified Lactation Counselor, Advanced Certified Newborn Care Specialist, Post-Partum Doula and founder and CEO of Hush Hush Little Baby Newborn Care (hushhushlittlebaby.com/). Melissa Gersin is a maternity RN and Massachusetts Department of Health infant crying specialist.

Photo: ThinkstockPhotos.com

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The Basics of Newborns and Sleep

Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day!

This may come as a surprise to any new parents who feel like their newborns need them every minute of the day. These 16 hours, however, are broken up into periods of 3-4 hours.

Newborns normally don’t (and shouldn’t) sleep through the night. Their digestive system is so small that they need to eat every few hours, and they should be woken and fed if they haven’t eaten for 5 hours.

In the beginning, you should try to get as much sleep as you can while they are sleeping. Grabbing an extra hour or two during the day will help combat sleep deprivation from all sleep interruptions at night.

Be sure to remove all fluffy bedding, quilts, stuffed animals, and pillows from the crib to ensure that your baby doesn’t get tangled in them while they sleep.

Your child should start sleeping through the night at around three months of age. In fact, 90% of 3 month olds sleep 6-8 hours a night. If your infant is not yet sleeping through the night, don’t worry. Some babies just take a little more time to develop their own sleep cycles.

Image: Getty

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Sleeping Through the Night

With a little bit of know-how (and a lot of luck), a full night's sleep might happen sooner rather than later. When can you expect your baby to start sleeping through the night? It depends, since sleeping through the night means different things at different ages:

  • For a newborn (especially a breastfeeding newborn), three hours is about as long as you can expect him to sleep, since newborns need to refuel often.
  • For a two- or three-month-old, sleeping for five- or six-hour stretches is what you can expect. While there may be babies who start skipping that two a.m. feeding by the third month, most three-month-olds still need a feeding (or two) during the night, especially if they're nursing.
  • By four months, you can expect your baby to sleep seven or even eight hours at a stretch. That’s because most four-month-old babies have reached that magic weight of 11 pounds, which means, metabolically speaking, they don't really need a nighttime feeding (though they may well demand one!).
  • If your baby is still waking to eat into his fifth or sixth month, you can be pretty sure he's not really hungry. He's just used to his midnight snack and the sweet dose of Mommy that comes with it.

You don’t have to wait until your baby hits his half-birthday mark to start encouraging longer nighttime snoozes. In fact, at around three months old you should be able to (slowly) cut down those middle-of-the-night feedings with the ultimate goal of (drum roll, please!) — sleeping through the night. You can take the first (baby) steps toward that holy grail by following these dos and don’ts:

DO wake your baby up before you go down.

Just before you’re ready to turn in for the night, try topping him off with a late-night nibble. Even if he’s too sleepy to eat much, a few sips might be enough to give all of you an extra hour or two of sleep. But if this tactic prompts your baby to start waking more often — and it might — ditch it. In that case, do your best to give your baby a heaping helping during his last feeding before bed. If he nods off before he’s taken in a decent amount of milk, try rousing him (burping may do the trick) and offering him another shot at the breast or bottle. He’ll be more likely to fill up before he turns in and you’ll have a better chance of your baby sleeping through the night.

DO stretch out the feedings.

While newborns need to eat every two to three hours or so, by the time babies are three or four months old, you can start stretching the times between feedings. At nighttime, introduce this concept gradually by adding a half hour or so between feedings every other night. With any luck, you’ll stretch out the feedings to the point that your baby is sleeping through the night.

DO shorten nighttime feedings.

Another way to wean your baby from a nighttime feeding is to gradually put a little less in his bottle or spend a couple of minutes less on each breast during his night wakings. Keep decreasing the amount of milk (or the nursing time) over the course of a week or so until your baby’s ready to give up this meal.

DO start establishing a bedtime routine.

Nope, it’s not too early to start telling tales and singing songs before bed. A bedtime routine sends your baby the signal that it’s time to drift off to dreamland for a solid night’s sleep. Some tried-and-true sleepy-time strategies to prime your baby to sleep through the night include a bath (warm water is soothing — and sleep-inducing), a story, and cuddles.

DON’T rush to feed him at night.

When your little one wakes crying, wait before offering the breast or bottle. He might even doze off again or entertain himself for a while. If he starts protesting loudly, try soothing him with a quiet song or gentle caress first. The sooner you teach him that night wakings won’t result in feedings, the more likely he’ll be to sleep through the night. (Eventually, you’ll be able to nip those night wakings.)

DON’T skimp on calories during the day.

Your baby will be less hungry at night (and better able to sleep through the night) if his tummy gets filled during the day. Try nursing a bit longer (or adding an ounce or two more to his bottle) during those daytime feedings.

DON’T put cereal in his bottle or be tempted to start solids too early.

Not only won’t it help him sleep through the night, it could also be detrimental to his health. Introducing solids too early may trigger food allergies, plus there is a danger that your infant could gag or inhale the thickened mixture into his lungs, which could cause pulmonary trouble. What’s more, adding cereal to the bottle can lead to overfeeding. Babies instinctively know how much milk they need based on volume (not calories), so if you up the calories in your baby’s bottle, you’ll be forcing him to ingest larger amounts of calories than he normally would.

DON’T do diapers in the middle of the night.

Unless your baby is an absolute mess, skip middle-of-the-night changes. Diapering him will wake him right up (the last thing you want when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep through the night). If you really need to tackle a dirty diaper at night, do the deed with the lights dimmed, and with as little talking and interaction as possible. That way, your baby won’t get the message that it’s time to wake up and party.

DON’T keep him as close anymore.

If your baby is sharing your bed or your room, this might be a good time to consider an amicable parting. The very nearness of you (and the sweet, baby-enticing aroma of your body and boobs) might be why he’s waking so often. Of course, if you’re still committed to co-sleeping, skipping this piece of advice is totally fine.

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Working Around Baby's Nap Schedule

The first year of Baby’s life revolves around very few things other than eating, playing, and (hopefully) lots of sleeping. Of course the ‘sleeping through the night stage’ is the end goal for all new parents, but napping during the day can be just as important in creating a calm and happy environment for Mom and Baby. If your baby does indeed nap, it can sometimes leave you feeling house-bound in order to preserve the nap time schedule. Here are a few tips to help preserve a nap routine, and also allow you to get out of the house.

Typically a consistently good napper will have at least one nap that is better than the other — for instance Baby will sleep for a longer and more sound stretch in the morning than the afternoon. If this is the case, schedule your activities around the one “good” nap, staying home so Baby can sleep in his own bed, and then venture out for the afternoon and possibly sacrifice the nap that usually isn’t as good. This will ensure Baby gets at least one good solid stretch of sleep during the day.

Plan outings closer to home so that if Baby starts getting fussy, you can make it home rather quickly…and before Baby falls asleep in the car. Ask just about any veteran mom and she’ll tell you that the car to crib transition doesn’t always go smoothly, so keep an interesting toy or book with Baby to keep them awake on the short ride home.

If the plan is to have Baby sleep in the car during nap time because of a road trip, or timing issues, plan on playing music softly in the car as to not disturb Baby too much, and always keep a book or magazine with you in case you arrive at your destination and Baby is still sleeping. Sometimes an extra 15-20 minutes added on to a Baby’s nap makes all the difference in their mood, so it can be worth it to sit back and relax a bit while you wait for Baby to wake.

If visiting a friend or family member for the day, plan ahead. Instead of rushing through your visit, bring a portable crib with you and set up a nursery away from home for Baby, complete with favorite blanket, pacifier and favorite book. Keep your nap routine consistent and try to settle Baby down for a nap on-the-go so that you don’t have to cut your visit short. While this doesn’t always work, it’s at least worth a try. The added bonus is it gets your baby used to sleeping in other environments, which is especially great if you plan to travel with Baby.

Consistency is key in any sleep routine, but the occasional alteration will not veer you completely off course, especially during the first 3-4 months. During this time newborns usually haven’t quite settled into a consistent routine anyhow, so this is the time to be a bit more flexible with your outings and straying from the routine. Once Baby is 4-6 months old though, a solid nap routine usually starts to settle in, so you’ll want to stay on course more than veer off it. Skipping the routine 2-3 times a week is perfectly okay, especially if it helps mom feel better.

Remember that a sleep routine and schedule only works if it works for the entire family. If Baby’s routine is preserved at all costs, at the expense of mom being able to occasionally visit with friends and get important errands done, then it’s not working. But making a few minor adjustments and not being afraid to alter off course every once in a while will ensure a happy, well-rested baby, and a happy, well-rested mom.

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Your Top Baby Sleep Questions, Answered…Fast!

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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Tips for Coping With Long Term Sleep Deprivation

While we were in Ethiopia with Elvie, my husband and I took turns taking the night shift, but once we got home, it became clear that it would be best if I would just do the night feedings every night. Not only did Jarod have to get out of bed at a reasonable hour and have his mind functioning clearly at work, but I tend to hear Elvie before Jarod wakes. As much as I’d love to still be taking turns, it simply makes more sense for me to take the night shift every night.

For awhile, Elvie was waking every hour, sometimes even after just 45 minutes, simply because she was hungry, and her teeny, tiny stomach couldn’t take in enough nutrition to hold her over for very long. Now that she has grown and gained plenty of weight, she doesn’t wake as often, but still needs to eat more frequently than most babies her age due to her birth defect and history of malnutrition. Teaching her to sleep through the night just isn’t an option right now, so I’ve figured out some ways to help make the days go more smoothly and ensure that I’m not a grump to my family 100% of the time. If you’re riding in the sleep deprivation wagon, I’m so sorry, but also: welcome! Feel free to try any of these tips to help you make it through.

Generous Amounts of Coffee

No one wants to get jittery, so I wouldn’t say more is always better, but starting the day with a gigantic cup of hot, delicious coffee not only gives me a little caffeine kick, but also provides a regular starting point for my day. Some days I need a second large cup, and that’s okay.

Make Time for Slow Mornings

If at all possible, I schedule appointments and activities for the afternoon so that we can just ease into our day. We usually just hang out on the big bed until Elvie is ready for her first nap. There’s plenty of space for all of us to read and/or play. I set my coffee on the nightstand, and it’s perfect.

Embrace Unconventional Breakfasts

Normally, I like to make something hot for breakfast, but right now I just need mornings to be simple. Most of the time I’ve got muffins or granola bars and fruit handy, but sometimes I break all the rules and we eat cookies. These pictured have oats and nut butter, so I figure they’re no worse than a chocolate dipped granola bar, and with much better ingredients.

Eliminate or Procrastinate Unnecessary Chores

The bed really doesn’t need to be made if you don’t have the time or energy, and sometimes the laundry can serve as a very comfortable cat bed for an extra day. While I don’t want to live in a trash heap, sometimes it’s worth it to conserve my energy for nurturing and teaching my children as opposed to using it up dusting.

"Make" an Easy Dinner

We can’t eat out every night, but there are a lot of affordable options for the days I am the most tired. I count ordering enchiladas and bringing them home as making dinner. If I didn’t order it, my family wouldn’t be able to eat it, right?

Have a Sleep In Morning Once a Week

If you’re the only one who gets up with the baby in the night, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the other half of your parenting team to wake early on his or her day off so that you can get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. Getting a solid two or three hours of sleep on Saturdays does wonders for my energy level. When I’m getting discouraged during the week, I can always look forward to Saturday and know that I can make it until then.

Feel Free to Just Stay Home Sometimes

As a stay at home parent, I often feel guilty that we don’t get out and do more some days. But it is good for me to have a day that I don’t have to pack everyone up and get them out the door, and it is good for my kids to have a day to relax and just play at home. Committing to at least one play-at-home day per week has made a significant difference in how smoothly our week goes.

Remember That It Won't Be Like This Forever

Babies eventually learn how to sleep through the night, and while the length of time between now and then is uncertain, I know that it will happen. I also know that Elvie will only be little once. So as much as I don’t enjoy the frequent night wakings, I do enjoy have a tiny baby in my life, and I will take the difficult with the wonderful any and every day of the week.

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