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Newborn and Infant Care

Sleeping patterns

07/21/1998

Question:

My baby is 7 weeks old and weighs 11 1/2 pounds. I am breast feeding exclusivley. He sometimes sleeps 6 hours at a time during the night. Is this too long?

Answer:

Since I do not know your baby's birthweight, I will answer your question by giving you some general information on breastfeeding. During the first three to four months a breastfed infant will gain 4 to 8 ounces per week, and will double their birth weight by 5 or 6 months of age. Additionally, your son should have at least 6 wet diapers each day and large bowel movements. Weight gain is the best indication that your son is receiving enough to eat. If your son is gaining weight, (4 to 8 ounces per week) and having the wet diapers and bowel movements, the six-hour sleeping peroid should be fine. If his weight gain is less than this you should discuss this with your health care provider. You should know that if you are using breastfeeding as a method of contraception, you might get pregnant with his extended sleep schedule. It is also likely that your menstrual periods will return quicker than if he did not have the prolonged sleep period.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati