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Health & Parenting

Baby Sleep: Expert Q & A

Should you wake your baby for feedings? How many naps does baby need? Our expert answers some of the most common baby sleep questions.
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It’s also helpful to know that once babies get to the point where they’re eating more in the daytime they don’t need to wake and eat at night. But don’t overfeed the baby to encourage her to sleep through the night. Some parents try to push more formula, breast milk, or baby food on the baby right before sleep and that can backfire because the baby might not settle in well, just like you when you’ve eaten too much at Thanksgiving dinner. Wait until your baby settles into a pattern where he naturally eats more in the daytime.

Should I let my baby cry himself to sleep?

It depends on the baby and it depends on the age. The method of crying it out has been the most studied and it works for many babies, but you should talk to your pediatrician about whether it’s right for yours. Some babies get tired and go to sleep after crying, but some just get angrier. So, where crying it out works for many babies, it doesn’t work for all of them. And there’s some babies who just need to wake up and feed and then they’ll go back to bed. Instead of denying the feeding, and having the crying, it’s best to feed them.

Generally, after four months or so you’ll find that the baby probably won’t need to eat as much at night, so if they're waking up and crying and falling asleep as soon as they get the breast or bottle you’ll know they’re not hungry, but if they’re waking and ravenously finishing the breast or bottle they still need to be fed at night. A rule of thumb: If it’s been one or two hours since you put them to bed they probably don’t need to be fed, but if it’s been more than three or four hours they probably are hungry.

Is bringing my baby to bed with me -- co-sleeping – safe? 

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