The needs of an infant, in terms of sleep, are all dictated by their nutritional needs.
Meaning they need to wake up to eat. Every 2 to 3 hours, babies need to wake up because their tummies are small. They need to fill their tummies up, and then in 2 or 3 hours, they’ll wake up again because they’re telling you, “I’m hungry.”
So they’re going to sleep according to what their body really needs. You don’t want to think about your newborn sleeping through the night. They’re not supposed to.
How you might know that maybe your baby can sleep a little bit longer is by keeping in close contact with your pediatrician because your pediatrician will tell you if he or she is gaining enough weight and that your baby is developing normally.
During the first 3 months of life or so, make sure that you are encouraging and welcoming the fact that your infant is waking up. I know you’re tired as a parent, of course, but it’s exactly what your household needs to look like. Babies need to wake up to eat.
How long it takes for a baby to adjust to sleeping through the night will vary depending on the baby and the baby’s age. You as a parent need to have patience and stay committed. Sleep patterns do not change immediately.
Quiet time needed.
Before they can fall asleep at night, babies – as well as adults – need to slow down their brain activity. In order to do this, they need some quiet time before bed. Turn down the lights and turn off the television or radio. Keep your voice low. Perhaps read to them in a soft voice.
It’s very important to keep a routine at bedtime.
As much as possible, put the baby to bed at the same time each night. Keep feeding times regular. Babies and children respond to routines – knowing that one thing follows another.
Routines should be followed every night before bedtime. Read to your child or pray or say final words – the same thing every night (“Sleep tight,” etc.).
Transitional objects definitely help.
Transitional items should be introduced to the baby early – before he or she is able to sleep through the night. Whether it’s a special stuffed animal, blanket or pacifier (check with your pediatrician about a pacifier). Hold the item while you feed the baby. Keep it nearby so that the baby will associate that item with you.
By three or four months, most babies will be able to roll over and grasp the item. When they are able to do this, place the item in the baby’s crib. The baby will associate this item with the mother or father. It helps to make the baby feel secure.
Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor
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