Let Sleeping Babies Sleep!


Never wake a sleeping baby...let sleeping babies lie. We've all heard these old sayings, but think twice before dismissing these! So yes, LET YOUR SLEEPING BABY SLEEP! Sleep is one of the most critical basic needs, beginning at birth and continuing throughout our lifetime.


What you do during these first six months will shape your baby's future sleep patterns, adaptability, and brain development. You can help your baby's brain develop by helping her get the sleep she needs and developing good sleep habits. This means keeping track of when she is asleep and awake, noticing her drowsy signs, and learning ways to help soothe your baby. Unfortunately, this may also mean telling friends and family to let your baby sleep. Remember, standing up for what your baby needs is worth an uncomfortable moment today because the benefit is a happy, healthy baby!


Readings and Resources:

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, M.D


Sleeping at 2 months

Sleeping at 4 months

Brain Science for Your Baby


Sleep is a biological need required to nourish our growing brains. Providing your baby's brain with sufficient sleep improves "brainpower". This helps her to develop concentration and improves alertness while also helping her to become physically relaxed and ready to learn. Your baby's brain is growing and developing very quickly. Just like these changes are occurring, your baby's sleep patterns and rhythms are adjusting as well.


Your baby's body tries to adapt to her biological needs and has systems in place that help regulate sleep and send her body cues or signals about what the body needs. For example, if sleep patterns are disrupted, her body sends signals that she needs more sleep (i.e., homeostatic control mechanism). She has a second system (the circadian timing system) that acts like her internal clock and sends signals to her brain that it is the right time for her body to sleep. These systems help your baby's body adjust to changes as her brain develops. However, your baby needs you to understand what her body needs (sleep) and help her sleep at the right times so she can be healthy, happy, and alert. 


Babies who "sleep at the right times" spend more of their awake time in a "quiet alert" state. This is when babies have open, alert eyes that are looking around at their environment. They are also quiet, calm, and relaxed. This relaxed state is a great time for learning. 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Help your baby develop good sleep habits early. 


Limit the time your baby is awake:

During the first three months, your baby should only be awake for 1-2 hour periods.


Keep track of when your baby is awake and when she is sleeping.


Notice signs your baby is sleepy and help soothe her to sleep when you see these signs of sleepiness.


Cues that your baby is sleepy:
Quieter, calmer
Not as interested in what is going on around her
Yawning, droopy eye lids
Decreased activity or sound


Babies need about 14-18 hours of sleep a day.


Help your baby fall asleep when she is getting drowsy or starting to get sleepy. Do not wait until she is overtired!


Cues that you baby is overtired:

Fussy or cranky
Rubbing eyes
Difficult to sooth
Arching back

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Sleep when the baby sleeps! 


This is another important saying not to dismiss. To be a good baby buffer, you need your rest as well. Like baby, you will be more alert, responsive, and patient when you are well rested. Tips for "sleeping when the baby sleeps":


Accept help from others. Rather than helping with baby, encourage friends and family to help with housework, laundry, or answering calls while YOU and BABY are napping.


Prioritize your napping. Resist the urge to get things done while your baby is sleeping. Take a nap as soon as baby falls asleep and tackle housework or other activities after your nap if baby is still sleeping.


Share a bedtime with your baby. Get yourself ready for nighttime so that as soon as your baby falls asleep you can start resting as well!





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Gene's Research Tip!

A study on infant sleep machines in the journal Pediatrics, tested 14 devices at 3 different distances.  The devices are made to attach to a crib, about 1 foot away or to be placed distantly, up to about 6 feet away.  Now, recommended sound wave levels in baby intensive care units are less than 50 decibels.  At maximum volume, all of the machines were over this level, when tested at 1 foot and 3 feet from the testing device. At 6 feet, only 2 of the units were in the safe range when cranked up to maximum volume.  Read More

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Barbara Unell

With a grin on her face, my friend, Sara, once told me the following sarcastic comment that her mother, Martha, made after Sara's daughter was born:

"You will spend the first two years of your child's life teaching her to talk, and the rest of her life trying to get her to be quiet!"


Although many moms tell me that they wish that their children would be less talkative, as Martha did, I didn't have this attitude about my children's verbal skills. I loved listening to them learn how to use words to express themselves, from infancy on. Why? Doing so strengthened the bond between us and helped me understand my children as they were growing up. I continue to delight in our conversations, as my now adult children tell me daily all about their jobs, friends and feelings! Read More

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