Expert Sleep Advice
-Sleep is critical. As everyone knows, I look at life through the lens of sleep. Of course, I think it's the most important thing in the world, but really it's just like everything else. It's just like good nutrition. It's just like good parenting. For our babies to function at their best, they need a good night sleep. Newborns, when you bring them home from the hospital, they're gonna be sleeping anywhere between 10 and 18 hours a day. Huge differences and how much each newborns going to sleep. There is also going to be very little difference between night and day, which is very hard on parents because your newborn will be awakened and slept all different times of the day. By around 8 weeks of age, you're gonna see some predictability with your newborns sleeping at more predictable times. By 6 months of age, most babies are sleeping a total of about 14 hours a day. And that's gonna continue at 1 year of age and even at 3 years of age, their only dropping down to about 13 hours a day. The other thing is gonna change is naps. Your 3-month-old is probably taking 2,3, even 4 short naps a day. By between 6 and 9 months, most babies had switched to a morning nap and an afternoon nap. Now, that's gonna keep changing by 18 months of age. Most toddlers have started to give up their morning nap, although some toddlers are still taking 2 naps a day even at 20 or 21 months. There's no reason no rush it. Most young children when you put them to bed, in their bassinet or in their crib, they're gonna fall asleep right away. However, there are some children who need a transition time. They need sometime to play or to talk or babble to himself. You may have your 2 year old who likes to sing to themselves for a while. Dad is totally fine. Your child doesn't need to fall asleep right away. Sleep problems are one of the most common problems that parents face. Every study no matter what country it's been done in has found that 25% to 30% of babies have problems sleeping. The two most common problems are waking at night and difficulties falling asleep at bedtime. A recent National Sleep Foundation/Sleep in America Poll found that 69%, more than two-thirds of parents wanted to change something about their child's sleep. To establish good sleep habits, parents need to do 3 things. And if they do these 3 things, they're gonna have a baby who's a fantastic sleeper. First thing you wanna do is have a set bedtime. Your baby should be going to bed at the exact same time every night. You also don't want it to be too late. You put your baby to bed too late, they're gonna be over tired, they're gonna have a harder time falling asleep and amazingly, they're gonna wake more often during the night. The second thing is the bedtime regime. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in just a moment. And the third thing is putting babies down to bed drowsy, but awake. You want your baby falling asleep on his or her own. And the reason is that all babies wake during the night. Research shows that babies' wake anywhere between 2 and 6 times per night. And if your baby gets help falling asleep at bedtime like being nursed to sleep or rock to sleep, they're gonna need the same in the middle of the night. Babies who fall sleep on their own, then put themselves back to sleep when they naturally wake during the night. Another thing that parents are often concerned about are nighttime feedings. After 6 months, most babies were growing and developing normally are no longer going to need nighttime feedings. So if your baby is 9 months or a year and still feeding at night, make sure you talk to your child's healthcare provider to see if they still need that feeding. Another thing that parents can do to help their baby develop good sleep habit is just start to learn their signs that baby is sleeping. If your baby is rubbing her eyes, staring often to space, pulling on her ears, that's gonna single you that it's time to put your baby down for a nap or at bedtime. From a very young age, even 3 or 4 weeks, she wanna start developing a bedtime regime for your baby. You wanted to be about 3 or 4 activities or the exact same every single night. Interestingly, Johnson's just did a study that looked at a 3-step bedtime routine. That bedtime routine was a bath, a massage, and quite activities with lights out within 30 minutes of the end of the bath. And what we found was that babies fell asleep easier and slept better through the night. The results of the study were amazing. Babies fell asleep almost 30% faster and at night they're awake 50% less time. And what I think what's most important was that babies were sleeping for longer stretches. They went from sleeping 7 hours straight to 9 hours straight. And last, we also found that moms did better, that moms felt less tense, less anxious and less fatigue once they were instituting a bedtime routine with their baby every night. If you're concerned about your baby sleep, absolutely, talk to your child's healthcare provider. Your child's healthcare provider will help you figure out why your baby may be having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. In addition, there's an excellent resource available to parents online that was developed by Dr. [unk] and myself. The Johnson's customized sleep profile will give you information about how your baby sleeps compared to others her age. In addition, that will give you sleep tips to help your baby fall asleep easier and sleep better through the night. What you're gonna find is if you get a good night sleep, you're gonna get more done during day, you're gonna be more efficient, and you're gonna be happier. We wanna make sleep authority for everyone in the family. We also wanna give the gift to sleep to our newborns and young children because they're gonna end up being a much happier baby.