So You Can Sleep Like a Baby


Haven't had a full night's sleep since the baby was born?

There are ways to encourage babies to sleep through the night, says Dr. Barton Schmitt, a Denver pediatrician and author of "Your Child's Health: Parents' Guide to Symptoms, Emergencies, Common Illnesses, Behavior and School Problems."

Schmitt offered some tips in a recent issue of Child magazine. Among them:

* Place your baby in the crib when drowsy but awake beginning on the first day at home. Your baby's last waking memory should be of the crib and mattress, not of you or of being fed.

* Don't let the baby sleep in your bed. If you want the baby near you in the early months, keep a bassinet next to your bed, and cover the railing with a blanket. At 2 months, move the crib to a separate room.

* "Wear" your baby in a front carrier for at least three hours daily to reduce crying at bedtime.

* Don't let baby nap more than three consecutive daytime hours.

* Make middle-of-the-night feedings brief and boring. Feed your newborn on demand during the day, or about every 90 minutes. When the baby is a month old, keep daytime feedings at least two hours apart. Eliminate the 2 a.m. feeding at about 4 months, when baby does not need to be fed more than four times a day (five times if breast-fed). Give the last feeding about 10 p.m.

* Ease separation anxiety, which may disrupt sleep at 6 months, by giving baby a soft toy at night.

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