When you first bring home your newborn baby, you know you’re in for a lot of late night feedings, changings, and rocking sessions. It’s all part of what goes along with having a baby. For many parents, these night time parenting sessions are one of the best parts of parenting, a chance to bond with your little prince or princess in a special way. Other parents have a tougher time with it.
In either case, though, we all manage to live through it. Whereas newborn babies tend to wake up every two to four hours at first, by the time they are three to four months old, they are starting to sleep for longer periods of time.
Of course, that idea is small comfort to a young mother or father who has worked all day, taken care of the baby all afternoon and evening, and, when she finally lays down to sleep, baby wakes up and needs to eat. This can be especially hard on nursing mothers, because their partners are unable to handle half of the feedings.
To make that matter worse, breastfed babies need to be fed more often because breast milk digests quicker than formula. Typically, formula fed babies eat every four hours, and breastfed babies eat every two to three hours.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t breast feed, of course. Breast milk is the healthiest thing to feed your baby, and most experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of your baby’s life. It is to say that you’ll need to expect that baby will need to eat more often.
During the first three months, it’s important for parents to catch some sleep while they can. You’re not going to be able to sleep for more than three or four hours at a time between taking care of an infant, so it’s important to take as many naps as you can while baby is asleep. Fortunately, your baby will be asleep most of the day (albeit in short spurts).
Most babies have very little trouble sleeping at this age, but if your baby has a difficult time dozing off, try rocking her, singing to her, or providing some white noise. White noise CDs are available which simulate the sounds inside a mother’s womb and soothe babies. Alternately, many babies relax and fall asleep very well to the sound of a fan, a vacuum cleaner, or the dryer.