Newborn Sleep Training?  What exactly does that mean? 

Newborn Sleep Training?  What exactly does that mean? Many families call to ask for help “newborn sleep training” their baby.

Truth be told, it is really just a term many families use when seeking advice to help their baby sleep better/longer/easier. Each parent has a different need.

It may be to transition them to their crib, or their room, or out of the swaddle, or to get them thru the night. (which is 11 PM – 5 Am BTW)

Most cases with infants we aren’t talking about scientific issues ie. circadian rhythm disorder.  Mostly we are talking about undoing bad habits, teaching the baby to be on a schedule and to learn the routines that parents need to instill.

Here’s a breakdown of sleep with all babies-

 

Age Hours of Sleep Naps
1 Months 20+ all the time
2 Months 16-20 4+
3 Months 15-18 4
4 Months 15.5 3 to 4
5 Months 15 3
6 -9 Months 14.5 2 to 3
10 -15 Months 13-14 1 to 2
2 years 12 1

 

 

When a baby ( 2-3 months)  is ready, they can sleep as long as they like after the last feed of the evening. (only when the pediatrician gives the go-ahead) Typically not more than a 4-hour stretch (which is way better than the 1-3 hours stretches they gave parents just a few weeks ago.)

As the baby gets bigger, they can take in more each feed (breast milk or formula) allowing for overnight sleep to really increase. As the baby’s tummy grows the majority of their calories will be in the feedings during the day.

So if this is the case, then why do so many parents have baby’s that “don’t sleep well”

It’s probably about the bad habits that every parent starts?

We all have the best intentions, but as a parent who has a job, other kids, family responsibilities, a desire for a reasonably manageable day, they will do ANYTHING to get their baby to sleep.

Rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep, sleeping on them, in their bed or in a carrier?  Eventually, these tactics are not sustainable.

Whatever you do once, plan on doing that for a year!

When parents rush in at the sound of a peep, squeak or faint cry, the baby learns.  Parents just want it to stop so they can get some sleep.

Sure, for that instant it may give them an hour or two which is way better than every 30 minutes.  BUT, tending to the baby every two hours for more than a few weeks is torture

They then make the call.  Usually seeking a sleep trainer.

After a short conversation, I can help them with breaking bad habits.

Maybe it is sleep training, but the training is with the parents.

First, I need to understand what happens during the day?

Sleep begets sleep

So, if I hear that the baby only sleeps 30 minutes all day, I know that they are overtired.  Their nervous system can’t handle being overtired.

Or if I find out that the baby didn’t eat enough during the day, I know that they’ll wake due to hunger.

Roughly a baby should have 2.5 times their weight in 24 hours. A basic rule of thumb is to divide that number by 8 bottles, 7 if they are older and can manage a larger amount.

Ex. A 7 lb. baby should have 17.5 oz in a day (24 hours)

If they eat every 3 hours that means they need to have bottles of around 60 Mls.  As the baby grows and can handle a bigger bottle, then the need to wake during the night will go away.

What won’t go away is if a parent picks them up every time the squeak and feed them.