Breastfeeding and Sleep Patterns



Your baby’s sleep patterns are affected by a number of factors. There is your baby’s temperament, of course, as some babies will be more restless than others. Your baby may be sensitive to noise and wake easily. The comfort of your baby’s bed can impact how he sleeps, too.

One of the most significant factors in how your baby sleeps, however, is whether or not she is breastfed.

According to researchers, babies that are breastfed tend to wake up more often during the night than babies that are bottle fed. In fact, breastfed babies are 66% more likely to wake during the night than bottle fed babies.

Realistic expectations

Part of the problem is that many parents simply expect that, within a few weeks or months, their baby will sleep through the night. While that’s true of many bottle fed babies and some breastfed babies, many other breastfed babies may not sleep through the night until the age of one year.

This is completely normal, and it doesn’t mean there’s a problem with your baby. Breastfed babies simply have more frequent feeding schedules than bottle fed babies.


Breastfeeding your baby is a decision that you need to make on your own (probably with your partner’s input). There are a number of health advantages to breastfeeding including a strengthened immune system and lower incidences of asthma later on.

However, breastfeeding is a commitment. You have to provide your baby’s nourishment. That often means pumping breast milk at work, for example, so that your baby can feed while you’re away during the day.

It may also mean using pumped breast milk to let your partner do some of the nighttime feedings, as well.

It’s a commitment many women feel is worth it.

Routine matters

There’s another factor in whether your baby sleeps through the night that may be even more important than breastfeeding, however: routine. Some research suggests that babies who have consistent naptimes and bedtimes tend to sleep through the night sooner than babies whose schedule is more flexible. This was true both of bottle fed and breastfed babies.

If you have concerns about your baby sleeping through the night, you can talk to your pediatrician to rule out potential causes and to get some ideas on how to encourage her to stay asleep.

Bath Time and Basic Skin Care for Baby

Your baby depends on you to take care of all of her needs, and skin care for baby is no exception. Your baby’s skin is delicate, and there are many substances that can wind up irritating baby’s skin. It’s important that you understand how best to care for baby’s skin, especially when it comes to bath time.
The first time
Here’s what you need to know about your newborn’s skin and how best to care for it:

  • Your new baby will be ready for his first bath around six hours after she’s born.
  • Daily baths aren’t recommended for newborns; instead, every other day should be bath day.
  • On days when it’s not bath day, you can wipe your baby’s face and skin down using a slightly damp washcloth. You’ll also want to wipe your baby’s eyelids, moving from the inside corner out.
  • When you bathe your baby, you should immerse the baby’s entire body up to but not including the neck. This allows your baby’s body temperature to stay stable during bath time.
  • Support your baby while she’s immersed, using only a few inches of warm water.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Farenheit or below.
  • Newborns are particularly susceptible to skin irritations and infections. Using plain warm water is best.
  • Make sure you change your baby’s diapers between two and four hours, and after your baby has a full diaper.
  • The best thing to use to clean the diaper area is warm tap water and a soft cloth.
  • If you choose to use baby wipes, pick some without any alcohol or lanolin.
  • It’s best to let your baby’s diaper air dry at least once a day.
  • When your baby gets diaper rash, you can use zinc oxide to help protect the skin from baby’s stool and urine.
  • If a baby’s diaper rash doesn’t clear up in a day or two, you should consider a trip to the pediatrician.

Baby’s skin is delicate at this stage, and you need to take special care to avoid infections, rashes, and other conditions that will cause your baby discomfort.

Parenting Advice for New Dads

Sleepy dad

Sure, billions of guys before you have become fathers. That doesn’t mean you’re not freaking out a little bit about that new baby on the way. While you’re of course concerned for the welfare of your partner and the health of your new baby, you’re probably a little bit nervous about yourself, too. Do you have what it takes to be a good dad? Will you make mistakes that will scar your child for life? Is this really something you can handle?

The good news is that you can, indeed, handle it. Keep calm, carry on and all that. Here are some of the best parenting tips for men who find themselves with that first brand new bundle of joy:

  • Listen to all of the advice. Notice we didn’t say follow all of the advice. Everyone will tell you exactly how they think you should parent. Consider it all, and choose the advice that fits with your own best judgment.
  • Make mistakes. You don’t really have a choice here; it’s going to happen. The good news is that children are amazingly resilient, and the odds that a single mistake is going to scar them for life is pretty small.
  • Take turns parenting. Give your partner a break sometimes, and make sure to ask for a break when you need one, too.
  • Trust your child’s appetite. Left to his own devices, chances are he’s going to eat enough. Help her develop not just healthy eating habits, but a healthy view of food, as well.
  • Spend time with your child. Even though your infant isn’t going to remember you rocking him to sleep at night or teaching him to walk, you’ll remember. And you can’t trade those memories for a million bucks.
  • Enjoy each new skill your child learns. Your child is going to have milestone after milestone. Savor each one; they won’t happen again.
  • Don’t stress about milestones, either. Unless your child is terribly behind – which is something your pediatrician will help you decide – it doesn’t matter if she’s a couple months late with walking or talking.

A child can be the most intense source of joy (and sometimes pain) you’ll ever have. Savor every moment, and do what you believe is best for your child.

Nighttime Parenting is For Tag Teams


It doesn’t take long to figure out that baby doesn’t exactly sleep on your schedule. That’s OK. She shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, if babies sleep through the night before they’re at least three or four months old, it’s not a good thing. Newborns need to eat at least every two to four hours. Anything less than that is unhealthy.

Unfortunately for those of us who only need to eat three meals a day (and a snack here and there…who are we kidding?), the need for eight hours of sound sleep is trumped by the baby’s needs. There really isn’t an easy way to deal with that as a parent. You’re going to lose some sleep, and there’s really no getting around it.

Two are Better than One

The best thing you can do as parents is to tackle night time parenting together. You’re still not going to get eight hours of uninterrupted rest (and probably won’t for a year or more), but you’ll both get more rest if you work together.

If you bottle feed, this is relatively easy (we’re not advocating bottle feeding over breastfeeding, but this is one of the few benefits). You simply take turns waking up to take care of feedings and other nighttime parenting duties.

Working Together When There are Some Jobs He Just Can’t Do

If you breastfeed, this becomes only slightly more difficult. Obviously, dad is limited in what he can do to help with nighttime feeding (he simply doesn’t have the equipment for it). That’s not to say dads can’t help. There’s still plenty dad can do to help mom out. Even if dad doesn’t do anything to help with feedings, though, there are still plenty of nighttime parenting responsibilities he can take care of, including:

  • Diaper duty. If she feeds the baby, it’s only fair that he changes the baby, right?
  • Rocking. Or rubbing baby’s back. Or singing, swinging, or whatever else helps soothe a fussy baby who has already been fed and changed.

Since most of baby’s waking times (at least during the first few months) are about getting something to eat, a good division of nighttime parenting for breastfeeding families may be to have mom handle the nighttime feedings and dad handle all of the other nighttime parenting needs. In addition to be relatively fair, it’ll give dad lots of time to bind with the baby.


What is SIDS?

SIDS, short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a cause for concern for parents of newborns. This particular condition does not have any one particular cause and parents, doctors, and researchers are all on the lookout for what could potentially cause SIDS. Generally, it is believed that SIDS is a condition that some babies are born with that makes handling some of the daily events that occur stressful. SIDS is not higher among any race or class, but spread out evenly. SIDS usually occurs in infants from one month to one year old that otherwise appear completely healthy. This condition causes an unexpected death and most deaths occur between 2 and 4 months of age. Babies that die from SIDS usually do so in their sleep and there is not usually any sign of suffering. Also, most deaths occur during the fall and winter months. More male infants die than females with a ratio of 60 to 40 percent. SIDS is diagnosed after every other alternative has been ruled out.

SIDS Risk Factors

The risk factors for SIDS do not mean they are the cause of SIDS or that babies with these risk factors will die from SIDS. The behavior and health of the mother during pregnancy is one thing that is looked at for babies who die of SIDS as well as the health of the baby en utero. Maternal risk factors include young mothers younger than 20, smoking during pregnancy, low weight gain, illegal drug use, poor prenatal care, anemia, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and the like. These risk factors may be undetected, but cause a prenatal environment that is not what the developing baby needs.

SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies one month to 1 year old and it is believed that one out of every 1000 babies dies of SIDS. Mothers should do their best to create an excellent prenatal environment for their baby and after birth babies should be breastfed, kept cool and away from cigarette smoke. Over bundling baby may be a factor in SIDS, too, that should be considered.