Sleep and Your Newborn

Adapted from Sleeping Through the Night: How babies, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep by Dr. Jodi Mindell.

Between the ages of three and six months, your baby will start to be able to sleep for long stretches at night. She is now at a stage where her 24 hour clock is beginning to understand the difference between night and day. This makes it a perfect time to help her understand a nighttime routine. If you haven't already, start creating a familiar sequence of calming events that unfolds night after night and clearly says, "It's time to settle down and go to sleep."

How Much Sleep?
Your baby will sleep between 13-15 hours each day. It's important to realize though, that every baby is different and some babies need much more sleep and others need much less. Your baby will also be napping from two to four times a day. To help ensure that your baby is getting the sleep she needs, build a consistent naptime and nighttime sleep routine that you and your baby enjoy. Bathing your baby, giving her a massage, changing into pajamas, telling a story, singing a lullaby, cuddling in a quiet, darkened room - all are great ways to help your baby relax before sleep.

Massage to relax your baby
Massage is a great activity for this age. Because of her increased mobility, she'll find it very relaxing. To begin, use an allergy tested lotion, cream or oil that's mild and made especially for babies to reduce friction. Both JOHNSON'S® BEDTIME® LOTION , containing NATURALCALM™ essences, can help calm and relax your baby before bed when as part of a nighttime routine. You can also use JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil with Lavender for a calming, moisturizing massage.

You may also enjoy the aroma of JOHNSON'S® BEDTIME® LOTION for youself! It leaves your skin feeling touchably soft and smooth and is clinically shown to moisturize all night long.

To massage your baby, begin with a quarter-size amount of cream, lotion or oil in your palms. Rub your hands together to distribute. Start with your baby on her tummy. In long, fluid motions rub your hands from the top of her head to her neck, then from her neck across her shoulders, from her upper back to her waist, from her thigh to her foot and up her thigh again on each leg, and from her shoulder to her hand and back to her shoulder again on each arm. Then gently turn your baby over onto her back and repeat the movements on her front.

Bathtime is a Relaxing Time
You can also help your baby relax before bed by including bathing into her nighttime routine. Warm water and a lullaby can help soothe your baby into the land of nod. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser suited for your baby. A nightly routine that includes a warm bath with JOHNSON'S® BEDTIME® BATH, a massage with JOHNSON'S® BEDTIME® LOTION, and quiet time is clinically proven to help babies fall asleep easier and sleep through the night better. Both bath time cleansers are made with the exclusive NO MORE TEARS® formula, so they're as gentle to your baby's eyes as pure water.

Sleep Routine, Sleep Schedule
In addition to establishing a calming bedtime routine, make sure that the routine is not too long or too impractical to stick to. For example, if you fall into the habit of rocking your baby to sleep, you may end up doing the same when your baby wakes up naturally during the night. You should also begin establishing a sleep schedule with a set bedtime, a set wake time, and set naptimes. A consistent feeding schedule will also help set a more general daily routine.

Drowsy but Awake
The most important aspect of getting a baby to sleep through the night is having your baby learn to soothe herself to sleep. So put your baby down to sleep when she's drowsy but awake. Babies need to be able to fall asleep independently, since all babies wake naturally throughout the night. If your baby can soothe herself to sleep at bedtime, she'll be able to do the same when she wakes for a moment in the middle of the night. Don't let habits, such as rocking to sleep or nursing to sleep, develop now that you may not want to be doing six months from now, or two years from now! Keep the sequence of events basically consistent even with caregivers or when away from home. It can also be helpful to take turns with your partner when putting your baby to bed.

Enjoy your baby's bedtime routine. When you include massage and a bath, it becomes a wonderful time to unwind together and to bond. When your baby sleeps better, your whole family sleeps better, so start now to establish good sleep habits for the rest of her life.