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Newborns Sleep and Nutrition Cycles

 Sleep and Nutrition Cycles

Mothers should follow their newborn’s hunger signals and should feed on demand as often as every 1.5 to 3 hours. As your baby matures, the time between feedings usually increases. The ideal cycle is to feed your baby right when he or she wakes up, have awake time and then try to have your baby fall asleep without being held, rocked, patted or nursed. You can swaddle your baby, let him or her use a pacifier and you can snuggle and rock your baby. However, while your baby is drowsy and not yet all the way asleep, remove the pacifier and set your baby down gently. This is called “falling asleep without assistance”.

The act of falling asleep is a learned behavior and if a baby is consistently put to sleep by while being held, rocked, patted, nursed, bottle fed or sucking on a pacifier, he or she will always need that assistance to fall asleep. In the middle of the night when the baby passes through a normal sleep cycle and comes into a moment of awareness, he or she will not be able to put him or herself back to sleep. Your baby will then begin to cry so that it can have you give him or her the help needed to fall back asleep. On the other hand, if your baby has learned to fall asleep without assistance, then when he or she comes into that normal moment of awareness, he or she will know how to fall back asleep.

Learning to sleep without assistance not only helps with sleeping through the night but it also eliminates the risk of developing tooth decay due to falling asleep with milk in the mouth. Of course every baby is unique and care must be customized to the temperament of every single child. So this advice should be considered a general goal and not be considered a mandate for every child.

Here at TLC for Smiles, we support breastfeeding moms as well as moms who nourish their babies with formula. We have had many moms successfully nurse their children until 3 or 4 years old without developing cavities and we believe that nursing should continue as long as both the mother and the child would like to nurse. If your are interested in learning more about this, please call us at TLC for Smiles and we will be happy to schedule your baby’s first appointment.