Baby Sleep: Where Parents Go Wrong: December 3, 2011

Putting baby down for the night puts many parents at wit’s end.

“Henry’s five months,” says mother Kress Good.

Kress loves bonding with her bundle of joy, especially during his nighttime feedings.

“I would walk in the room and he would hear me first and then he’d kind of look around for me and then when he’d see me I’d sort of get like his eyes lighting up.
He looks most intently at me when I breast feed him.”

But many parents make the mistake of nursing their baby back to sleep.

“Basically we’ve fed the baby to sleep so the baby’s going to need to be fed to sleep again in the middle of the night and we don’t want that,” says Dr. Martin Sherman, a pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.

Instead, parents need to make a habit of putting their baby to bed with eyes still open.

“Babies need to go to bed awake. They need to be able to transition to sleep. They need to know how to put themselves to sleep,” says Dr. Sherman.

A quiet activity can signal it’s time to get ready for sleep, but the overall key to your baby getting some good shut-eye is staying on a schedule.

“The routine turns out to be a very important thing, so parents who try to put the baby down one night at five o'clock and the next night at eight o'clock and the next night at seven o'clock; they're going to have some trouble,” says Dr. Sherman.

With your baby on track, everyone has a peace of mind.

“In creating structure, and in creating limits and allowing a child to feel comfortable they have that guidance and love behind them we can feel a little bit better about helping them sleep,” says Dr. Sherman.

Because a well rested baby, means a well rested family.