Sunday, April 29, 2007

Baby Sleep and Daytime Feedings, The Connection

As a parent, it is important that you establish good sleep habits for your baby. All babies experience a transition period during which they adjust from sleeping with their mothers to sleeping by themselves. You can facilitate this process and help your child to develop better sleep habits.

Your efforts will also let you get some more rest yourself! Parents should keep in mind that no recommendations about a baby's sleep should be viewed as a hard-and-fast rule. Your instincts as a parent should guide you. As a new parent, you may feel insecure about the decisions you make, but it is important that you think about any baby sleep advice in terms of your own parental instincts.

Your baby's feeding routine is one of the first things to consider when attempting to encourage better sleeping habits in your baby. Often, a baby will be active and busy during the day and not feed much. This means, however, that the baby will wake up over and over during the night to be fed.

Therefore, one method for getting your baby to sleep at night is to make sure that regular feedings occur during the day. Try feeding the baby every three hours. This ensures that the baby's hunger is relieved, and it also works to create a stronger association with feeding during the daytime. If your baby does wake up in the night to be fed, try to encourage him or her to take a full feeding the first time he or she wakes up.

This method keeps the baby from waking up every few hours for snacking. These recommendations are only meant as guidance, not as rules set in stone. Generally, you want to establish daytime and sleep-time associations for the baby. You want the baby to know that feeding and play are things that occur during the day, while baths, lullabies, and sleep are things that happen at night.

Encouraging these associations means that the transition between waking and sleeping is easier. If your baby doesn't want to feed every three hours, of course, don't think that you must force him or her to do so. Additionally, don't feel like you must force a full feeding on the baby when he or she wakes at night. Consider the overall goal, which is to create general associations and habits that will result in healthy and quick sleep-pattern development.