Sleep and Your Baby: 10 Common Questions Answered
For some parents, putting a baby to bed is a nightly source of anxiety—how much sleep does your child need, can she sleep with a blanket, are stuffed animals OK? Find the answer to these questions and more.
How do I know when my child is ready to go to sleep without a bedtime bottle or nursing?
“There are two separate issues in this question,” says Dr. Sadler. “The first is the need for food before sleep. Most infants ‘fill up’ before sleep, which enables them to maximize their night sleep stretch. A small pre-bed snack is appropriate right through the toddler years as part of a bedtime routine.”
Using a feed to get to sleep is a separate issue, says Dr. Sadler. “After 3 to 4 months of age, when a child can usually sleep a six- to eight-hour night, it becomes important not to inadvertently teach a child to rely on a bottle or the breast to fall asleep.” She recommends that children be fed, then put in their cribs sleepy but still awake. “This way, when they awaken at night, they won’t demand a feed to transition back to sleep which disrupts the night for parents.”
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