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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

Our 8-week-old has not yet slept through an entire night. My wife is exhausted. Is there some way I can make him happy so my wife can sleep?

Answer

​Your baby’s cries are his way of telling you that he’s hungry and needs to be fed. By responding to his needs, you increase his trust and attachment to you, thus laying the groundwork for healthy growth throughout his childhood.

Tired as your wife might be, it’s important for her to nurse your baby when he communicates his need. Dads can make night feedings easier by carrying the baby to her, letting her nurse while still in bed and half asleep, and then changing his diaper and helping him get back to sleep.

Consider keeping your baby close by in a cradle or crib next to the bed so your wife doesn’t have to get up to get him. Many couples assign the “day shift” to one parent and the “night shift” to the other—so that, for example, the wife tends to the baby at night, but after the first morning feeding, the husband gets up with him and takes care of his needs as much as possible during the day between feedings.

Soon, feedings will decrease in frequency and your son will sleep for longer intervals. Meanwhile, your wife and child will be grateful for your help.

 

Source: New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)