HEALTHY AND HAPPY SLEEP FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY By: Jennifer Bekkerman
Legally Mom recently hosted renowned child sleep expert Dr. Dan Weissbluth for a presentation on healthy sleep habits for babies and families. The discussion centered on laying a foundation for healthy sleep in the first months of life to encourage and promote neurological development, biological development, and later social interactions. Dr. Weissbluth explained that during the first six to eight weeks of life, a child can sleep in any environment, but after reaching the sixto-eight weeks milestone, the child becomes aware of the sleep environment, making it important to create a space conducive to healthy sleep. Dr. Weissbluth recommended the following for a nursery that is strictly associated with sleep: •
Very dark, “pitch black” environment using black-out curtains, shutters, and/or shades;
Avoiding stimulation or digital media;
White noise machine;
Safe Sleep Space;
Crib or bassinet with a firm mattress, four walls, slats no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart, and free of bumpers, positioners, stuffed animals, heavy blankets, etc.
Baby sleeping alone and on the back.
To confirm safety of your sleep products, Dr. Weissbluth recommended utilizing the information available at Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association ( JPMA.org) to review consumer reports for products for children. Dr. Weissbluth emphasized that after the first two months of life, children still need 15-17 hours of sleep, which typically consists of three naps in a day (morning, mid-day, and afternoon) and night sleep. An important step to teaching a child self-soothing for sleep is to put the child to bed drowsy, but awake. To do this, parents should monitor their child for signs of drowsiness after feedings, such as eyelids drooping, slower body movements, glassy eyes, or staring off into space. Although the bulk of the discussion focused on infant sleep, Dr. Weissbluth and his team at Weissbluth Pediatrics are available for sleep consultations for children of all ages. For more information, call 312-202-0300 or visit the website at www.weissbluthpediatrics.com.
Jennifer Bekkerman is of counsel to Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC and is a co-chair of this event. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family at any of Chicago’s beautiful parks or museums, attending theatre and music shows, and enjoying the many incredible restaurants in the city.