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How do I know if my baby is sleeping the right amount of time?

Babies may seem to sleep a great deal initially. They should be waking on a regular basis for feeding. If your baby has his days and nights mixed up, it is best to minimize the stimulation during the night feeding time. The following are ways you can do this:

  • Use only a night-light when getting up to feed the baby.
  • Change your baby before feeding.
  • Talk very minimally and softly during the time you are up with him.
  • If you normally rock your baby after feeding, do so for only a very short time. The baby will begin to learn to settle himself.
  • If your baby is fussy, swaddle him by wrapping the arms and legs snugly in a blanket.

It is very important for newborns to be positioned on their backs for sleeping. Studies have shown a decreased occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when babies sleep on their backs. In the NICU, many of the babies need to sleep on their tummies while they are premature because this helps with their breathing. Once your baby is ready to be placed in an open crib, the baby will need to sleep on his back. When your baby is awake he should be placed on his tummy to help muscle development. Your baby may need to sleep in a different position if ordered by your doctor.