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Infant has sleeplessness. On mother's milk only. No medicines or lactogen. Suggest?

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Practicing since : 1982
Answered : 698 Questions
my 4 month 4 days old daughter, does not sleep between 230 to 530 am..and also she does not sleep beyond 9 hours in a day
She cries a bit between 230 to 530am in the early morning
She is only on mothers milk, nothing else.
no medication what so ever no lactogen also.
She does not have any fever or anything, we check her temperature, its below 98 degree fahrenheit
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Growth and Development in Children
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 9 hours later

Thank you for choosing to address your query. First of all, I wish to congratulate you for sticking to exclusive breastfeeding in spite of you residing in the USA. You both are doing a wonderful job, and I request you to stick to this schedule for at least another two months before you begin to wean her.

Sleep in infancy is usually longer in duration than it is in older ages, and if I may generalise, sleep tends to gradually decrease by about 15-30 minutes per decade of life. By the age of twenty, about 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period may be considered normal. Also, it has been found that modern living has reduced the sleep hours in a secular trend all over the world. The reasons may be related to a faster life style, adulteration of food with hormones and non-natural additives, noise pollution, TV viewing habits, night-life, etc.

Considering these things, a sleep of nine hours is certainly good! To make her sleep better in the night, you must do the following things, but gradually:
a) Try and reduce her daytime naps to about 1 or 2 of 30 minutes each;
b) Do not feed her on breast milk through the night, but only during the day time.
c) Do not interact with her more than just a brief check to see that everything is okay when she wakes up. On no account you switch on the lights or pick her up. Else, due to the learned behaviour, she will continue to wake up and expect these benefits every night.
d) Rocking her, lifting her or singing to her may look good in movies, but are habit-forming and should not be done.

If at all possible, train her to sleep in a separate cot, even if the cot is within your own bedroom. Sleeping in with you both on the same bed will encourage her to wake up more often, and encourage both of you to do the things I have prohibited you from doing. Even if she cries a little, by no means go and do all those wrong things. She will learn to sleep on her own and stop worrying you both.

Hope this helps you both and your precious one get a good night's sleep.

Take care, and regards,

Dr. Taher Kagalwala
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