Babies’ sleep

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What’s normal? New babies wake up often during the night. This is healthy and normal. After awhile, your baby will begin to sleep for more hours at a time.

If you are the mother of a new baby,
• hold your baby after you feed him.
• let him sleep in your arms for awhile before you put him down.
• breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding helps protect babies from SIDS.
• at night, have your baby sleep near you.
• sleep when your baby sleeps. You will get the rest you need.

Why do we make these suggestions? Keep reading!

Sleep and your baby Your baby has two kinds of sleep. “Active sleep” is a lighter sleep. This is when he dreams. “Quiet sleep” is a deep sleep. Babies start off in active sleep. They move into a deep, quiet sleep after about 20 minutes.

Sometimes when you put your baby down right after you feed him, he wakes up. Have you noticed that? He wakes up because he’s still in the lighter kind of sleep, where he’s dreaming. We suggest that you hold him for awhile after you feed him. Let the baby fall asleep in your arms. He will fall into light sleep. Wait about 20 minutes. By then the baby will have moved into deep sleep. Then when you put him down he will stay asleep.

Sleeping helps your baby! Each kind of sleep is very important. When your baby is in lighter sleep, dreaming helps his brain grow and develop. When your baby moves into his deep sleep, his brain has time to rest.

“Sleep cycles” Have you heard about “sleep cycles”? We all have them, but a baby’s cycles are different from an adult’s. Your new baby starts in active sleep.

Then he moves into quiet sleep. This is a sleep cycle. When the sleep cycle ends, the baby wakes up. Then, the baby falls asleep again. He is beginning the next sleep cycle. In time he will be able to move from one cycle to the next without waking up.

Waking during the night is normal and healthy Babies wake up often during the day and at night. This is not a problem. In fact, it’s healthy.

Keeping baby near you when you sleep It’s important for you and your baby to sleep in the same room. And it’s important that your baby is close to you. That way, you and your partner can hear the baby easily, and respond to him when he needs you. Also you will be less tired when you wake up during the night if your baby is at arm’s reach.

Having baby near you makes night breastfeeding easier. And breastfeeding helps protect your baby from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

More ways to keep baby safe Here are a few tips for ways to keep your baby safe while he sleeps. Always put your baby to sleep on his back. Always put your baby down on a firm sleeping surface. Keep pillows, stuffed toys, and other soft items away from your baby during sleep. Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after the baby is born. There are more important ways to keep your baby safe. Read about safe sleep here>>

Sleeping when your baby sleeps Young babies wake up often. If you sleep when your baby sleeps, you will get the rest you need. Give yourself permission to nap during the day.

And when your baby awakens during the night, remember that waking up is keeping him healthy.

Are you on WIC? Read about WIC services here>>