Your Baby's Sleep: Answers to Your 8 Most-Asked Questions

4. My baby is sleepy: How can I wake her for a good feed?
When a newborn is very sleepy she can get into a cycle of not being fed as often as she needs to be. The less she is fed, the sleepier she becomes. It can become a vicious cycle. In those early weeks especially, it's important to watch for your baby's hunger cues. Allow her to rest where you can see and hear her. When your baby starts moving around a little, making soft sounds, and bringing her fingers or fist to her mouth, it is a good time to feed, first undressing her, except for her diaper. Lying skin-to-skin is stimulating for babies and helps them to stay awake for a good feed. Learn more.

5. Is it true that nursing babies are often night owls?
Some studies have shown that breastfed babies do wake more frequently than their formula-fed counterparts. One reason babies wake at night is to be fed. Babies consume up to one-third of their calories at nighttime feeds. A newborn's stomach is very small -- about the size of his closed fist -- and cannot hold a large volume of milk. Because breast milk promotes rapid digestion babies do need to be fed more frequently. Frequent feeds may have other important benefits, such as decreasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and controlling maternal fertility, giving her body a chance to rest and heal before the next pregnancy. Learn more.

6. Sleep training: Is Ferber or another method best for my baby?
Contrary to popular opinion, the method developed by Richard Ferber does not simply advocate "crying it out." Whether you choose the Ferber method, or try something else, your success is largely be determined by your own comfort and confidence in the chosen approach and its fit with your baby's temperament. If you are cued into your baby's needs, she will respond to your calm and confident message that she can fall asleep on her own. Learn more.

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