As a sleep specialist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, I’ve dedicated my career to helping kids get the sleep they need to reach their full potential. One of the most difficult times to get enough sleep is after you bring a new baby home.
Sleep is important at every age, but it’s especially important for a baby who is growing and developing at a rate faster than at any other stage of life. It’s also important for the health and well-being of other family members because if baby isn’t sleeping well, it’s likely that nobody else in the house is, either.
From birth to about age 18 months, babies need 10 to 18 hours of sleep a day. To help them — and other members of your family — get the sleep they need:
- Develop daytime nap and bedtime schedules and stick to them.
- Create an enjoyable bedtime routine that you do every night with your child.
- Put infants to bed drowsy, but not yet asleep, to encourage them to fall asleep on their own.
- Establish a safe sleep environment by following the ABCs of safe sleep for babies. This means your baby should be:
- Alone, without any toys, bumper pad, loose blankets, pillows or other people.
- On his or her back. Babies are actually less likely to choke if they are lying on their back when they spit up, rather than on their stomach.
- In a crib.
Learn more about safe infant sleep at chw.org/safesleep. You’ll sleep better knowing your baby is safe.
- Lynn D’Andrea, MD, medical director, pulmanary services, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the only sleep center in the state dedicated solely to the care of children and teens. The center has two locations (Milwaukee and New Berlin) both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by four board-certified pediatric sleep specialists.