Sleep 101 from Dr. Deena

by Dr. Deena Blanchard


Sleep, it may be the one thing that new parents crave most. With three boys, I have definitely seen my fair share of sleepless nights. As a pediatrician and mom of three, you can bet I get asked A LOT of questions about sleep. Below are some of the more common questions.

How can I create a safe sleep environment for my baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends creating a safe sleep environment for your baby. A safe sleep environment is one where a baby is placed on her back to sleep on a firm mattress. Having a breathable and firm mattress like The Newton Crib mattress is a plus! There should be no bedding, pillows, blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals in the crib. The room should be kept between 68-72 degrees F and it is important to not overheat your little one. One light layer more than you are wearing is perfect. It is important not to place wedges or sleep positioners in the crib with your little one.

Why is temperature important for sleep?

The ideal sleep temperature is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Overheating can be a risk factor for SIDS and makes sleep less comfortable. Using a breathable mattress will help in the air circulating and avoid your little one getting a sweaty head which can interfere with sleep.

When will my baby sleep through the night?

Every child is unique and there is not a one size fits all answer to this question. In addition, every family is different and therefore the choices that work for your family may be different than other families. These difference are okay as long as children are sleeping in a safe sleep environment.

Newborn and young infants will wake frequently at night to eat. Most babies will feed every 2-3 hours in the first 6-8 weeks of life. As a general rule of thumb, if your baby is gaining weight well and has regained their birth weight, you do not need to wake them up from sleep to feed them.

Around 6-8 weeks of life most babies will start to sleep one 4-5 hour period without eating. Keep in mind, it may not be the time you hoped for. It may be 7pm-11pm. After that most babies will feed every 3 hours for the rest fo the day.

Somewhere between 4-6 months of life your little one will be able to sleep for even longer periods. Perhaps only waking once a night to feed. Most babies can sleep 10-12 hours at night after 9 months old without waking to feed.

What is a sleep routine and how and when should I create one?

I always say it is never to early to create a sleep routine. However, it is important to have realistic expectations about how long your little one can go without eating. Around 6-8 weeks of age your baby is starting to know the difference between day and night but they are still developing sleep patterns. Help your little one by looking for sleep cues and trying to help them settle before they are overtired. Try to place your baby down drowsy but awake to help them practice and learn to fall asleep.

My baby has started rolling over! Should I keep going back in the room and turn them over?

You should always put your baby to sleep on their back. If your little one can roll, you do not need to keep going in and flipping them back onto their back. Having a breathable sleep surface, like the Newton Crib Mattress, will allow your little on to get the air they need and comfortably adjust themselves for sleeping, and give you the peace of mind to let them settle on their own and get great rest as well.