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* Newborns need between 16-20 hours of total sleep each day and most only sleep 2-3 hours at a time

* At 6 months old, babies should be able to sleep 5-6 hours at a time.

* The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies be placed on their backs to sleep. They also recommend that babies wear war, blanket-type pajamas rather than being covered with blankets/comforters that pose a risk for suffocation or strangulation.

* Since doctors have been recommending that babies sleep on their backs, fewer babies have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (SIDS)

*If your baby is only sleeping an hour or two at a time, this may be related to her falling asleep before she finished her feeding. Here are a few things you may want to try: breastfeeding 10-15 minutes on one side, burping him and continuing to feed on the other side. Or you can try encouraging your baby to stay awake until he has finished 3-4 ounces of formula.

* Always lay baby on a firm surface, never on a pillow or waterbed. Remove stuffed animals, pillows and other soft objects from the sleeping area/crib before laying your baby sown to sleep.

* Place your baby’s crib away from window blinds, curtain cords, or other things your baby could get tangled in

* If you have an old crib, be sure the slats are not more thank2-3/8 inches apart. If the gaps are bigger, your baby’s head could get stuck between them.

* Some older cribs have been painted with lead paint. If your baby chews on this paint, it could cause damage to his brain.

* When your baby begins to pull himself up, lower the crib mattress to 22 inches from the top bar. Check to see if the movable side of the crib is in proper working order. You can always find more information about crib safety by contacting your health provider or public health department.

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Helping Babies Sleep

Tips for helping babies to sleep:
* Put your baby to sleep, for naps and at night at the same time everyday
* If you would like your baby to go to sleep earlier at night, try putting her down 15 minutes earlier every dew days until you reach the desired time
* Create a bedtime ritual/routine. Every night before the baby goes to bed, do the same things in the same order like: Bath, massage his arms and legs, next tell/read a story, say a prayer or sing a quiet song, then put him down and say “good night”
* Give you baby a special blanket, piece of cloth or soft toy to sleep with
* Make it bright and playful during the day with lots of fun stuff, but at night keep it soft, quiet, dark, and relaxing

Tips for Helping Babies Go Back to Sleep in a Crib
By 7 months, most babies do not need to eat during the night, unless your doctor advises you differently. So if your baby wakes during the night, instead of feeding her, try waiting for 5 minutes to see if he falls back to sleep.

If He Keeps Crying:
* Go to him and gently tell him it is time to sleep. Help him lie down and give him his favorite sleep object (blanket, doll, etc.), or pacifier. Do this quickly and leave.
* If he does not calm down quickly, let baby cry for up to 10 minutes (if he is not sick)
* Repeat above each time baby wakes or does not stop crying.
* Sometimes it works better for fathers or another family member to do these things when baby wakes up at night. Some babies get more upset when they their mothers, so it is harder for them to get back to sleep.

Following these suggestions consistently will help most babies learn to sleep through the night within 1-2 weeks.

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last updated 07/14/09