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Establishing Good Sleep Habits

Month 3, Week 2

What's Going On with My Baby Now?

Your baby has a lot to say! He may not be able to form words yet, but he's making more and more sounds and using his tone of voice to tell you how he's feeling. 

You may notice these growing signs of language and social development:

  • Your baby enjoys playing with you, and may tell you he's mad by crying when the game stops.
  • He's begun to babble! These simple sounds are the building blocks of his first words.
  • He's learning that smiling at you makes you smile back, and will smile at the sound of your voice.

You might wonder about:

  • Colic. If your baby has colic -- frequent periods of uncontrollable crying -- that should be coming to an end about now.
  • Your child's temperament. As he grows, you're learning that he has a definite personality. And it may be different from yours! Remember, even as a baby, your child is a person all his own.
  • Relationships with caregivers. Your baby needs to learn to develop close and trusting relationships with others. Let him get comfortable being held and talked to by someone else while you're around.

Establishing Good Sleep Habits

"Sleeping through the night" is a misleading phrase. Your 3-month-old may be sleeping through the night by now, but that can mean six-hour stretches of sleep. So if he goes to bed at eight, he may be waking you up at two or three in the morning! 

Even if a full night's sleep is weeks or months away, it's never too soon to teach good sleep habits. Here are suggestions:

  • Establish a routine. At the same time each night, wind down with the same rituals, like a bath, pajamas, lotion, a bedtime story, and perhaps a soothing song.
  • Put baby to bed while he's drowsy but still awake, so that he can learn to fall asleep on his own.
  • If you need to feed or change baby during the night, keep the lights low and talking to a minimum. Too much stimulation can make it hard for him to settle again.
  • Lengthen your baby's awake time during the day with talking and playing. By three months, your baby should be getting about two-thirds of his sleep at night.

Weekly Tip Set

  • Remember: Back to sleep, tummy to play. Back sleeping is the safest position for baby.
  • To avoid developing a flat spot on your baby's head, vary his position when he's awake and alternate which direction you place your baby's feet in his crib.
  • Don't let your baby overheat. Make sure his pajamas are light, and use a sleep sack or wearable blanket for safety.
  • Give your baby at least two or three "tummy time" sessions for at least 3-5 minutes a day. Don't leave him on his tummy unsupervised.
  • Never put your baby down to sleep on a couch, chair, waterbed, or cushion.
  • Don't let your baby sleep in a stroller, swing, or bouncer for extended periods of time -- unless it's the only way he'll sleep.
  • For safety, keep soft bumpers, stuffed toys, blankets, and sleep positioners out of the crib.
  • By now, you've probably learned your baby's "witching hours" -- times when he's fussy or fitful. If rocking and soothing doesn't work, try distracting him with something different, like making funny faces or taking him outside.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on December 21, 2013

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