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Question

My son is just about seven weeks old. We work on an eat/wake/sleep schedule during the day. He typically falls asleep eating like most newborns. When he awakens after a few minutes, we have activities like tummy time or on the play mat. After 1 to 1 1/2 hours or so of being awake, I put him down for a nap. He sleeps for a little while and then wakes and sleeps his way through the rest of the nap. At times, he's wide awake. He's rarely fussy. When he wakes up during his scheduled sleep time, should we stimulate him or try to put him back to sleep. I'm afraid stimulating him will throw off his schedule and impact the nights; my husband disagrees and says that if he's up, let him be stimulated until the next feeding. Help!

Answer

Dr. Steven Kairys Replied: 7 week olds are rarely that synchronized. They often have days of more wakefulness and days of more sleeping. If he is up, keep him up and try then to return to the the usual cycle.
Posted On 2007-06-20 12:57:39
Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: The eat/wake/sleep schedule is typical for a 7-week old. Gradually, he'll stay awake for longer periods of time. It's great that you have tummy time because this helps him build his upper body and neck muscles. When he is awake give him attention, nurture, and eye contact. If he gets too much stimulation he'll let you know through body cues such as looking away, becoming fussy, going to sleep, or even crying. Some babies will cry in the evening for a while as a way to equalize their over-stimulated neurological system. When that happens, it's a sign to the parents to lighten the stimulation.
Posted On 2007-03-11 12:18:54
Janet Whalley Replied: In the first months of life, most babies have a sleep/wake schedule for a few days and then the schedule changes. This happens over and over again. I would suggest that you allow your son to set the new schedule and then you and your husband try to adapt to it. You are right to think that that the quality of sleep that your baby gets during the day affects his nighttime sleep. However, this generally means that you should try to allow him to sleep when he wants to sleep during the day rather than trying to set the schedule for him. As babies mature, they usually sleep more hours at night and are awake more during the daytime hours. (This can occur in the first weeks or after several months.) Also, it is common for a baby to have cluster feedings before and/or after a longer sleep period. So my suggestion is: Pay attention to your baby's desire/need to sleep or eat and respond appropriately. This usually makes the lives of all family members happier. Janet Whalley
Posted On 2007-02-27 18:05:43
Trish Booth, MA Replied: You have a great baby! As babies mature, their playing and sleeping times get longer and more organized. Your son seems to be doing well getting himself back to sleep. The goal is to be able to put your baby down to sleep and have him sleep for a period of time. That involves letting your baby get himself back to sleep when he wakes up after a sleep cycle that is 30-40 minutes long. In order for him to do that, he needs time alone. Stimulating him every time he wakes up works against that. However, if he wakes up and is hungry, he should be fed. Even if this during the scheduled sleep time. If he is fussy, comfort him. If your husband feels that he is not getting enough play time with your baby, relax the schedule a bit so they have more time together.
Posted On 2007-02-25 17:41:56
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