Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sleep: The Ultimate Goal






Getting Baby to Sleep through the Night

            Having had six babies in fifteen years I can understand new mothers' desperation to
find a way to get her baby to sleep through the night.  Sleep becomes a precious commodity for both mother and baby. As a new mother, I wondered how old a baby needed to be before I could expect them to sleep through the night. This was followed closely with "What is the best way to get your baby to sleep through the night?"
            According to Charles Pohl, M.D. director of the Network of Apnea and Pediatric Sleep
Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia “They (babies) have what we call disorganized, or fragmented sleep.” You cannot expect your baby under three months to sleep through the night unless you are one of the lucky ones.  Babies are just not hard wired to sleep through the night at that age. But take heart, because by the time your baby is 4 to 6 months old, you can expect your baby to sleep six to eight uninterrupted hours. By this time in their development their stomachs are a little bigger and they can “tank up” for the longer period between feedings.
            By 4 to 6 months most babies should be able to fall asleep on their own, in their
own crib without having to be nursed or fed to sleep.  This was true for most of my six children.  But what do you do if your baby will not sleep through the night?
           
The most popular method for training a baby to sleep through the night is called
the Ferber Method.  The goal is to teach the baby to learn to fall asleep by themselves in their crib.  


Here is a brief summary:


1.      Put the baby in their crib and say a brief good night and then leave the room.  If the baby starts to cry, let him cry for about 5 minutes.  Then go back into the room and briefly comfort the baby without picking him up and leave.  If the baby cries again you are to wait 10 minutes before going back into the room and repeating your behavior.  If the baby cries again you are to wait 15 minutes, until he falls asleep.  Your goal is to let the baby know that you are still there for him and that he will
be okay.


2.      Repeat with the same behavior every time he wakes up during the night.

3.      After the first night you are to add 5 more minutes to each interval.
This method should only take 3 to 7 days to work for most babies.The baby will begin to associate being in his crib with falling asleep.  This method, while effective was very difficult on me as a mother.  It is hard to wait during the allotted crying periods but it is worth it in the end. Whatever method you choose to get your baby to sleep through the night is up to you.  What works for one baby might not work on another.  The best advice I can give to new mothers is try different methods until you find the one that works for your baby and in the meantime sleep when your baby does because sleep is vital for both of you.



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