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Friday, November 5, 2010

Enemy of Motherhood - Baby Sleep Issues, Pt 2

As I was saying last time I touched on baby sleep issues, I noticed a definite change in Cherith's sleep habits when she reached about 3 months. There was a reason for that. Newborns have a natural instinct to sleep when they are tired. No one has to tell them to sleep, they just fall asleep anywhere... in the swing, in your arms, in their bed, in the car... anywhere. But when they reach about 3 months (calculated by gestational birth date), they lose that natural instinct and are left to learn to put themselves to sleep. Some babies phase into this quite well on their own. Others seem to go into a panic.

Realizing this is, I think, key to young infant sleep issues. As a newborn, your baby will determine when he sleeps. There is really nothing you can do to change that. Have you ever tried to wake a sleeping newborn... ever tried to keep them awake... ever tried to feed a newborn who just couldn't stay awake? You can't determine their sleeping schedule. You can only let them sleep when they need their sleep.

You can however, start right away in assisting your baby to be prepared for the change that will soon descend upon them. More often than not, put him in bed when you notice he is drowsy, and if he falls asleep while eating, go ahead and lay him in bed. Let him get familiar with his room and bed. You will be doing him a favor.

I know I promised to talk about what a typical sleep schedule should look like for different ages, but I guess I sorta took a bunny trail. This post is long enough. So, I guess that will have to wait again.

Also coming up...
  • How to train your baby to put himself to sleep
  • Signs of a sleep deprived baby/child
  • How much sleep a baby/child needs
  • Various problems and stages that arise and how to deal with them


  1. I'm really looking forward to reading your posts on this... I can't complain too much about our boys' sleep habits but I don't really understand a lot of the science behind how good sleeping habits are developed. It's also super-difficult for me when we go through that phase of teaching our babies to go to sleep when it's bedtime and I think it would be easier if I had a better understanding of WHY I need to do what I need to do. =)

  2. I'm looking forward to your posts too. :)

  3. Sounds like you are a woman after my own heart on the sleep issue. There are too many sleep-deprived babies (and mothers!) these days.