3

Our 13-day-old has not been sleeping well at night, but she sleeps fine during the day. She is breastfed and apparently in perfect health. One theory was for my wife to cut out dairy, but there has been no noticeable difference since the. Is it too early to sleep train and keep her up more during the day?

  • How old is she? What is her sleep schedule now? How often does she feed during the night? Is she being breastfed exclusively? Etc. We need much more information; we can't begin to guess if it's appropriate or not without knowing something about the baby. Please edit in these details and flag for moderator attention. Thanks, and welcome to the site. :) – anongoodnurse Mar 1 '18 at 15:40
15

Is it too early to sleep train and keep her up more during the day?

In brief: Yes, it is far too early.

Parents and children have a circadian rhythm that is governed by hormones like cortisol, melatonin (especially), and others. That means basically that you sleep at night and awake in the morning. It's a fine tuned cycle, and it varies with individuals.

While the baby is in the womb, it is subjected to the same hormones as mom. However, once out, that's gone. The baby seems to sleep randomly and wakens often at night.

In fact, the major circadian rhythm hormone (melatonin) doesn't start being secreted until about 12 weeks and takes a bit longer to kick in; cortisol lags behind in circadian rhythm contribution by a couple of months. So, normally, babies don't sleep most of the night until about five months of age.

I don't want to sound harsh, but trying to force your baby to stay awake during the day so they will sleep during the night is a terrible idea for many reasons, chief among them is that it would be depriving your baby of critical sleep periods (akin to doing sleep deprivation experiments on you) during a critical time of brain development.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends formula feedings at 1 month of age to be 2-4 ounces 6-8 times/day. You can't cram that into a 12 hour period while you keep the baby awake. (It would be a nightmare of a crying, fussy, refusing to eat baby.) At 2 months, infants require 5-6 ounces 5-6 times/day, and at 3-5 months, they need 6-7 ounces 5-6 times/day. Breastfed babies will require (usually) more feedings than this depending on how much milk is being produced, when, and how much the baby consumes before it stops feeding. Sometimes less, but usually more at first.

Infants will let you know when they need (and want) to feed. Every baby is different, but the above represents the average baby, and babies don't vary much in their physiological needs from one country to another, though expectations do.

The take away is that in having a baby, you committed yourself, knowingly or unknowingly, to many weeks of getting up at night. Accept it. That is what a baby needs.

People around the world have developed ways to cope with it, from co-sleeping (not recommended), to sleeping in the same room (recommended) to something in between (jury out.) But there's no way around it. You can't train an infant to sleep during the night. A baby, yes, after a certain age.

Please, please have a discussion with your doctor about this, and do not take the advice of a random stranger on the internet telling you "I succeeded in getting my baby to sleep through the night at two weeks."

Feeding Guide for the First Year

  • 1
    Thank you for this. I told my wife what I asked and she informed me sleep training was the wrong word to use. All very helpful insights. Thank you. – Jonathan Muse Mar 3 '18 at 14:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.