Sleep Problems: Prevention
Believe it or not, sleep problems are fairly easy to prevent. If you want your newborn to be sleeping through the night by 3 or 4 months of age, consider the following guidelines:
- First: When your baby is crying, by all means hold her and comfort her.
- Second: When she is drowsy but not crying, put her in the crib before she falls asleep. Her last waking memory needs to be of the crib, not of being rocked or fed. In this way, your child will learn how to self-comfort and self-initiate sleep. Your child will need this skill to return to sleep following normal nighttime awakenings.
- Third: Keep daytime feeding intervals to at least 2 hours for newborns on formula and 1 hours for those who breastfed. More frequent daytime feedings (such as hourly) lead to frequent awakenings at night.
- Fourth: Make middle-of-the-night feedings brief and boring. Don't turn on the lights. Feed your child quickly and quietly. Provide extra rocking and playtime during the day.
In summary, it's up to you to teach your baby that nighttime is a special time, a time for sleeping. If you have other questions about sleep problems, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.