We always hear the phrase “slept like a baby”, but even though babies typically sleep 16 to 17 hours a day, they rarely stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time during the first few weeks after birth. One of the main concerns new parents have is lack of sleep once the baby arrives. By helping your baby establish good sleep habits, you can look forward to getting more sleep as time goes on. Babies will start sleeping less during the day and more at night as they get older. By 4 to 6 months of age, most babies are able to sleep for a stretch of eight or more hours during the night. Here are ways to help your newborn sleep better.

1. Watch for signs baby is tired

It’s important to watch for signs that your baby is ready for sleep. For the first several weeks, most babies can’t stay up much longer than two hours at a time. If you wait longer than that to put your baby down, he may become overly tired and have trouble falling asleep.

Signs that your baby is ready for sleep include:

  • Yawning
  • Rubbing Eyes
  • Fussing
  • Looking away

2. Play during the day

When your baby's alert and awake during the day, interact with him as much as you can, keep the house and rooms light and bright, and don't worry about minimizing regular daytime noises like the phone, music, or dishwasher. Some ways you can play with your baby include singing, reading, dancing, cuddling, listening to music, and just holding and loving him.

3. Calm down at night

At night, don't play with your baby when he wakes up. Keep the lights and noise level low and don't spend too much time talking to him. Before long he should begin to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping

4. Start a bedtime routine

It's never too early to start trying to follow a bedtime routine. It can be something as simple as getting your baby changed for bed, singing a song, reading a book, and giving him a kiss goodnight.

5. Try letting your baby fall asleep on his own

Some experts suggest putting your baby down when he's sleepy but still awake. They recommend not rocking or nursing your baby to sleep, even at this young age. However, some parents choose to rock or nurse their babies to sleep because they consider it more natural, because they enjoy it and their baby is sleeping well, or simply because nothing else seems to work.

Allowing your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own will teach them to self-soothe when they wake up during the night. They may not need you every time they wake up and will soon be able to put themselves back to sleep.

To find a pediatrician in our area call (208) 227-2778.