4 common questions parents ask about newborns’ sleep habits

Anyone who has spent time around infants knows this: They rarely sleep through the night. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults, and they fall asleep as easily during the day as at nighttime. If you’re curious about what to expect when your baby arrives or you’re not sure if your newborn’s sleep habits are typical, here are the answers to some common sleep-related questions.

No. 1 – How much should my baby sleep?

Infants sleep A LOT. In fact, they spend more time sleeping compared to other activities. The average newborn sleeps around 16 to 18 hours a day. As they grow, their need for sleep gradually decreases to 11 to 14 hours by age one, although every baby is different.

No. 2 – When will my baby start sleeping through the night?

Until your infant is four to six months old, he or she will probably sleep only two to four hours at a time. Around four months of age, your baby should begin sleeping for longer periods but will most likely not sleep through the night until the six-month mark.

No. 3 – Should I put my baby on a sleep schedule?

Establishing a bedtime routine can help your infant fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. Beginning about six to eight weeks of age, help your baby relax before bed with a warm bath, lullaby or story.

No. 4 – What if my baby wakes during the night?

Babies wake up for a lot of reasons – hunger, a dirty diaper, too hot or too cold. React just as you would during the day. If your baby is simply fussy, try these techniques to coax him or her back to sleep. If you are concerned you may not hear your newborn during the night, place a crib or bassinet in your room so that you are close by. Do not share a bed with your infant as he or she could fall off or suffocate.

To help your newborn sleep safely and soundly, follow the ABC’S of Safe Sleep. Visit http://www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep/ for the details.

Always speak with a medical provider if you have questions or concerns about your baby’s health and well-being.

How infant mortality affects you

Since 2009, 135 babies have died in six Bootheel counties in Missouri. That’s 135 children who never got to celebrate their first birthday or attend their first day of kindergarten. Hundreds of families will forever have a hole in their lives, and entire communities are affected by the impact of infant mortality – including YOU.

Even if you do not have children or your children are grown, a high infant mortality rate affects the entire community. Here are three reasons you should care:

  • Community health: Infants’ health reflects the overall health of a community. A high infant mortality rate is often a sign of inadequate access to healthcare or poor health throughout a community.
  • Employers: A high infant mortality rate and premature births result in 10 times higher healthcare costs for employers compared to uncomplicated births. Further, businesses will potentially have a decreased workforce in the future due to infant mortality.
  • Taxpayers: The economic impact of infant mortality directly affects your wallet. More than $600 billion in taxes have been spent for services related to infant mortality.

You can make a difference for infants in your community by helping us spread the word about infant mortality and safe sleep habits. Learn more about how you can help: http://www.bootheelbabies.org/contact-us/

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

The No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your infant’s risk of SIDS

The possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the scariest things a parent can face. SIDS usually occurs during sleep, and experts aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Fortunately, they have been able to identify risk factors, meaning you can do more than just keep your fingers crossed.

The best way to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS is by creating a safe sleep environment. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Select a safe crib with a firm mattress. Cribs manufactured after 2011 comply with strict federal safety standards, making them more sturdy and durable. Check out this blog post to learn about three signs a crib is unsafe.
  2. Use only a fitted sheet. Although it’s tempting to decorate your infant’s crib with cute bumper pads, blankets and stuffed animals, these are suffocation hazards.
  3. Make sure your baby sleeps in his or her own crib. Infants can fall off couches, chairs or regular beds. And an adult may roll on top of an infant during sleep, so it’s best to put your baby to sleep in his or her own crib.
  4. Put your baby to bed on his or her back. Choking is more likely if a baby sleeps on his or her tummy. Sleeping infants breathe easier on their backs.

To learn more about safe sleep habits that reduce your infant’s risk of SIDS, visit http://www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep.

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.