When it comes to babies and sleep everyone will have an opinion for you that they are sure will be the answer to your sleepless nights. This is one of those times that you will have to be firm and make your own decisions about what type of sleeping routine and schedule you are going to have.
There are baby experts out there who will tell you that you should never let your baby cry as he is trying to fall asleep. The next expert will tell you that you should never give in to your crying baby once you have put him to bed. Which method is right and which is wrong? It all depends on your needs and the needs of your baby.
The guidelines in this chapter on sleep are simply that: a variety of tips and ideas that you either can or cannot attempt to incorporate into your bedtime routine.
Before you make the decision about what to do with that baby that won’t sleep is where is that baby sleeping. Some parents insist that your baby sleep in his own crib in his own room. Still other parents want their baby in their bedroom. Neither is right or wrong and there are advantages to both.
If your baby sleeps in her room you will likely get more rest for yourself since you won’t be disturbed by the snufflings and other sleeping noises that newborn babies make. Your baby may wake less often if she is in her own room but this is not always the case. If your baby is sleeping in the same room as you are, you might find it less disturbing and easy to be able to attend to your baby’s needs right there.
If you not only have your baby in the same room as you but also in the same bed, you should be aware of some of the dangers of sleeping in the same bed together. Baby experts are completely divided over the issue of sharing the same bed with your baby. You will have to research the safety versus the emotional issues and decide for yourself if you are going to be bringing your baby into bed with you.
You will likely need more sleep than your new baby. New babies most often are not able to sleep through the night until they have at least doubled their weight. This usually happens when your baby is between four and five months old. The following table shows the amount of sleep that babies should be getting. Keep in mind that this is just a guideline and don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t fall within the norm.
Total Hours of Sleep Needed Per Day (including naps) by Age.
1-15 days – 16-22 Hours
3 weeks – 16-18 Hours
6 weeks – 15-16 Hours
4-6 months – 14-16 Hours
9 months – 13-16 Hours
1 year – 12-15 Hours
Once you have decided how you are going to handle where your baby sleeps and just how much sleep the charts say she should have, you will want to think about getting into some sort of a routine whether or not she is going to sleep any better because of it or not. A sleep routine can be a soothing and comforting part of your baby’s nighttime ritual.
It is a way for you and your family to incorporate sleep into the daily routine without it becoming a battle of mind over baby. As your baby grows she will understand that bedtime comes after bath time and may start to settle down if she is comforted by the bedtime routine.