Nighttime feeding and sleep are hard to cope with, especially in the first weeks. The Baby’s Sleep section provides an overview of common infant sleep patterns – most newborns sleep often but for short periods of time. Breastfeeding or expressing milk generally matches this pattern, with infant feeding occurring every few hours or more, around […]
Babies need care during the night and parents need sleep. There are always trade-offs between infant and self-care.
It’s important to know that infant waking is normal and developmentally appropriate. However, this part of parenting is hard! Some people think that infants can and should “sleep through the night” in the first days, weeks, or months of life. However, sleep cycles differ as we age. The total amount of time and the length of each sleep varies across our lives. Babies wake after relatively short periods of sleep in the 4th Trimester and beyond because they are ready to eat, they are seeking comfort, or just because they aren’t tired. Understanding this can help inform responses to infants.
For adults, sleeping for short periods can feel very hard and it affects our bodies and minds. Frequent infant waking is normal…and it is challenging for families.
Family sleep and nighttime parenting more generally should be an ongoing conversation with parents and their health care team. However, this topic often is avoided in clinical appointments. As with any health issue, families share their truths when it feels like doing so will lead to helpful guidance or other support. When a personal issue like sleep is met with judgment, no one is better off.
Understanding of safe and healthy sleep is influenced by culture in addition to research studies. Considering your needs and preferences is important while also recognizing that babies are different from each other (and respond differently to parenting approaches and environments). Finding what works for you and your baby is a journey – which should be shaped by full information and respect.
Finally, sleep is even more challenging when multiple babies are involved! Here is a link to a great resource for parents of twins.
Topics in Baby Sleep
Sleep and safety around sleep arrangements is important for everyone in the family. There are steps you can take to making sure that baby’s sleep environment is as safe as possible. The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends that babies sleep safest alone (on a separate surface from their parents, siblings, or pets), on their […]