The perfect baby for the first four weeks does only four things: eats, sleeps, poops, and pees. The perfect baby looks at you by 2 weeks and smiles at you by 8 weeks. The perfect baby becomes slightly verbal when hungry or tired, never spits, and nods off to sleep within 2 minutes. The perfect baby sleeps 8-12 hours a night by two months, has two poops per day, and winks at you when passing gas. This group practice has never seen a perfect baby.


The back to sleep campaign of the American Academy of Pediatrics was begun approximately 5 years ago after it was recognized that the prone sleeping position was associated with a decidedly high incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ). The cause or causes of SIDS are not really known, but appear to relate to the protective mechanisms for the cardiac and pulmonary systems.

Another sleep concern is co-sleeping--sleeping in the same bed as the parents. Co-sleeping with an infant less than 4 months old has been associated with suffocation. There were at least 2 such deaths in Pensacola in 2000. A bedroom audio monitor may be reassuring to the parent who fears that he or she will not hear their infant in the next room.

Sleeping requirements vary considerably even among infants of the same age. Most newborns fall asleep at the conclusion of every feeding, but are sometimes happy and alert when there are several feedings a day. If your infant continues to cry after being fed, changed, cuddled, burped, and rocked, the baby may have colic. Colic is not related to gastrointestinal function, but is best understood as an interactive disorder between a very tired infant and their caregivers.

In addition, although there are few things as special as holding your sleeping infant, doing so regularly does not promote long and restful sleep. The best and longest sleep intervals are generally seen in infants that learn to fall asleep without preconditions for sleep, meaning anything other than a child being placed in his or her bed. The preconditions may include the child having a warm body next to him/her, hearing a parent's heart beat, motion, music, the Ten O'clock news, and so on.

Sleep and Temperment

All of us come into this world with a unique set of genes and a unique temperament and outlook of life. Psychologists would classify us as either Type A-overly vigilant and hypersensitive-or Type B-laid back. A Type A personality infant is not an easy one to care for. These infants are more likely to "fight" sleep, resist being changed, passing gas, taking a bath, and staying in a car seat. As they become older, these children can have tempers, push limits, and often, push parents to seek out parenting classes.

Recognizing and understanding your baby's temperament is essential for wise and effective parenting.

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