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You and Your 7-Week-Old Baby

Sleep and the 7-Week-Old Baby

Right about now, one of two things is happening more often. Either your 7-week-old infant is starting to sleep for longer intervals at night, or you are starting to wish he or she would.
 
Some babies can take awhile before they get used to your awake-day/sleep-night schedule. Often during pregnancy, babies get used to an opposite schedule to mom -- during the day when you were moving around a lot, your baby was lulled to sleep; during the night time, when you relaxed, it was time for your baby to be awake (sound familiar?).
 
Some babies will continue to wake every two to four hours to be fed for months. Others seem to embrace the idea of settling in for a long stretch at night.
 
To try to get your baby to go for those longer sleep stretches, you may want to try to keep your child awake more through the day, or at least for the evening hours. Doing this might build up their need for some quality sleep.
 
You can also try offering more feeding opportunities as bedtime draws closer (known as "cluster feeding"). By providing more feedings in a cluster around bedtime, you are giving your baby the chance to "stock up" before settling in for the night. You might find that doing this allows your baby to sleep longer and for deeper stretches at night.
 
You can also work on limiting the length of time they are awake for those middle-of-the-night feedings. Some things you can do to help your baby get back to sleep quickly are:
 
  • Keep the lights as dim as possible.
  • Don't talk as much to the baby as you would during the day.
  • Try to make the necessary diaper changes as quick as possible.
  • Read his cues and respond quickly. If you let your baby work himself into a crying tizzy, it may take longer to get him relaxed and back to sleep.
     
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