Learn Your Baby's Rhythms
Each baby is an individual with a unique temperament and general likes and dislikes. By responding to and reinforcing your baby's natural habits, you can help establish and maintain a predictable daily schedule.
At first, babies move in and out of sleep in unpredictable patterns. By age 3 months, most babies establish more of a routine and sleep for longer periods, perhaps through the night. They are also more alert when awake and you can gradually add time between feedings.
At about 3 to 4 months, start bedtime rituals to help your baby relax. Read a story, play quiet music, sing, rock your baby, or give him or her a gentle massage. Avoid loud music or sounds and bright lights.
Sleep patterns often change during the second half of the first year. To promote a regular schedule, maintain your routines when your baby resists going down for a nap or going to bed at the usual time.
Parents often wonder whether their baby is getting enough nourishment. The quality and quantity of a baby's feedings probably are sufficient if the baby is gaining weight steadily, is content most of the time, and is becoming increasingly alert and active.
By 2 months of age, most babies have established regular feeding schedules. Bottle-fed babies tend to eat about every 3 to 4 hours, and breast-fed babies nurse more frequently. Many babies begin eating less frequently at night.
At 3 to 4 months, when babies become interested in the world around them, feeding times may become frustrating for parents. Babies often interrupt feedings by looking around, smiling, cooing, and reaching for a parent's face. This is a normal attempt to turn feeding times into a more social event and an opportune time for parents to interact with their babies. It may help to feed your baby in a quiet and dimly lit room.
Babies do not need solid foods until they are at least 4 to 6 months old. Parents should wait until that point to introduce cereal. Adding cereal to a baby's bottle will not make him or her sleep through the night. Check with your health professional to see whether your baby is ready for solid food.
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