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Sleeping Dos and Don'ts

Do

  • Put Baby to sleep on his back. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends this position because it reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Dress her so she is cool but comfortable; her hands and feet should be cooler than the center of her body. Keep the baby's room about 70 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night.
  • Create a dark environment. When an infant is between 3 and 6 months, his internal body clock starts responding to light and dark.
  • Realize that waking at night is normal. All babies wake about four or five times during the night; problems arise only when they can't get back to sleep on their own.

Don't

  • Rush in at the first sound your baby makes. "You want to give a child a chance to learn to return to sleep on her own," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a sleep specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Likewise, don't keep your monitor at the loudest volume; your baby's every amplified rustle and sigh will keep you from getting any rest.
  • Rely on a pacifier to get your baby to sleep, unless you want to fetch it continually during the night. In addition, pacifier use may contribute to dental problems; recent studies have also linked pacifiers to ear infections.
  • Put toys, pillows, or quilts in the crib; they could suffocate an infant.
  • Use the crib for play, punishment, or mealtime. "Your baby should associate his crib with one thing -- sleep," says Daniel Glaze, M.D., of the Texas Children's Sleep Laboratory, in Houston.