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Sleep, or lack thereof

Every dad needs support, encouragement, information, confidence and tools to help him be as involved as he possibly can with his new family. Our fatherhood expert, Armin Brott, author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be and Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change, has advice for your growing family!

Sleeping baby

Your question:

Help! Our three-month-old won’t let us sleep. Sometimes he’s up every hour and a half, other times, he goes six or seven hours at a stretch and my husband and I wake up and worry that there’s something wrong. Will we ever have a decent night’s sleep again?

Armin Brott answers:

By the time your baby this four months or so his sleep and nap schedule should start to get a little more regular and predictable. Unfortunately, there’s a pretty good chance that his schedule is going to be exactly the opposite of what you’d hoped it would be: he’ll sleep more during the day and be up at night.In a way, this makes sense. While she was pregnant, your partner was probably awake during the day and all of her movements rocked the baby to sleep. At night, though, when your partner slowed down, the baby woke. That’s exactly why most pregnant women say that within a few minutes after lying down, the baby would start kicking up a storm.Eventually, your baby will get his timetables straightened out and start living in your time zone. If you don’t feel like waiting, there are a few things you can do that might help speed up the process:Wherever the baby sleeps, keep it as dark as you can all the time. All you need is a small nightlight so you don’t stub your toes when you go in and out. If you need to, buy thick shades.Help the baby get plenty of naps during the day. At this age he shouldn’t be up for any more than an hour or so at a stretch. Although you might think that depriving him of daytime naps would exhaust him and maker him sleep through the night, it doesn’t work that way. Overtired babies actually wake up more than well-rested ones.Set a regular bedtime — 7 pm is good — and start making it part of your routine. Again, keeping the baby up ’till midnight might seem like a good way to extend his sleep time, but it’ll backfire.No playing around. When the baby wakes up at night, feed him, change him — without turning on the lights — and put him back to bed. No games, no stories. You want him to start making associations between dark and sleep.

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