Questions Parents Ask About Sleeping - Woodmam

1. Every time I put my sleeping baby down, he’s up and yelling in minutes. Why?

Even though your baby is asleep when you put him down, he still has some awareness of his surroundings. To him there’s too big a difference between your arms and a quiet, still bassinet.

Try using the 5 “S’s” to help your baby make the transition to his crib. Swaddling, white noise, and swinging lessen the abrupt change from your cuddle to his cradle and can eliminate one or two night wakings.

2. When my baby falls asleep after a feeding, should I burp him and risk waking him up?

Yes. You should burp him, to keep him from spitting up in his sleep, and change his diaper too, to prevent a diaper rash. After a feeding, most babies feel a little “drunk” and usually go back to sleep quickly, especially if you’re using the 5 “S’s.”

By the way, it is also a good idea to put ointment on your baby’s bottom at night to protect his skin from any pee or poop that comes out while he’s asleep.

3. I worry about overbundling my baby in the warm weather. How can I tell if he’s getting overheated at night?

It’s quite easy to know if your baby is overbundled: feel his ears and toes. If they are red, sweaty, or very warm, he’s too hot; if they are cold and bluish, he’s too chilly; and if they feel “fresh” (not hot, not cold, but a tiny bit on the cool side), his body temperature is just right.

Even on the hottest summer days, your baby will benefit from swaddling. Dress him in a diaper only and wrap him in a very light cotton blanket.

For summertime, Talia’s grandmother made some ultralight blankets by cutting a sheet in quarters and hemming the edges.

4. Can a baby have trouble sleeping because he’s going through a growth spurt?

Yes. Babies grow tremendously fast during the first few months, doubling their weight in about six months. Some babies do all this growing at an even, steady pace, but many babies grow in fits and starts (growth spurts and plateaus). In the midst of a growth spurt, your baby may wake up more frequently and yell for a meal. (That’s really demand feeding!)

5. Will my baby sleep better if he takes both breasts or just one, so he gets the hindmilk?

Unlike formula, which doesn’t change from the first drop to the last, breast milk changes greatly during the course of a feeding. The milk that spurts out for the first five minutes is loaded with protein and antibodies, and it’s more watery to satisfy your baby’s thirst. By the time the breast is almost empty (after ten to fifteen minutes) the milk slowly dripping out is as rich as half and half. This creamy, sweet dessert is called the hindmilk.

Some experts tell mothers not to switch their breasts during a feeding. They worry that feeding just a few minutes on each side will deprive a baby of the hindmilk, which they consider nature’s way of making babies satisfied and sleepy (like the drowsiness we feel after a heavy meal).

Other experts believe babies get more milk if their moms switch breasts during a meal. They advise mothers to feed for about seven minutes on one side and then, after that breast has released its quick, easy milk, switch to the other side, which is full and waiting to be emptied.

I recommend this to my patients: Experiment to find what’s best for you and your baby. If one breast keeps him happy for two hours in the day and sleeping four hours at night, then there is no need for switching. However, if he feeds too often or is gaining weight too slowly, try giving him seven minutes on one side and then let him suck for ten to fifteen minutes, or longer, on the second side (that’s enough for him to fill up with the early milk from both breasts and still get the hindmilk from the second side).

6. Why does my baby always get up at the crack of dawn?

Even when babies are asleep they still feel, hear—and see! For many babies, the early-morning light filters through their closed eyes and thin skull and acts like an alarm clock. Fortunately, many of these babies can be coaxed to sleep a little longer by using blackout curtains to shut out the sun’s first rays; white-noise machines to help obscure the early-morning sounds of birds, dogs, traffic, and neighbors; or, by bringing them into bed with you for some cozy time.

Parents who can’t charm their infants back to sleep are often forced to wave good-bye to their warm beds and take their little “rooster babies” out for an early-morning constitutional. (Believe it or not, these strolls may become some of your most treasured memories of when your baby was little.)

7. Is it wrong to let my baby get used to sleeping in his infant carrier?

It’s almost impossible to keep your baby from falling asleep when you tote him around outside in an infant carrier. That’s because putting your baby in a carrier or a sling and taking him for a walk gives him three of his favorite sensations: jiggly motion, cuddling, and the rhythmic, soothing sound of your breathing. These devices are great ways to treat our babies to a sweet reminder of the fourth trimester.

So, don’t worry about accidentally teaching him bad habits. After the fourth trimester ends, your four-month-old baby will be able to entertain himself and it will be relatively easy to get him used to less contact—if that’s what you really want. (Truthfully, by then many parents love their carrier so much they want to “wear” their baby more and more.)

8. Is it okay to let my baby sleep on my chest?

In general, I don’t recommend this position. I once had a couple call me in the middle of the night when their four-week-old baby fell off his father’s chest and hit the wall next to the bed. (The exhausted duo had slipped into a sound sleep.) Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, but a fall like that could have caused a serious injury.
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