At 12 weeks, your baby is likely sleeping about 15 hours a day, with up to 10 hours of sleep every night and about three naps per day. If this doesn’t sound like your baby, don’t worry! There’s no “normal” for babies this age. Some 3-month-old babies are already starting to sleep for longer stretches, while others are still following the exhausting sleep patterns of a newborn and waking every few hours to eat.
No matter what’s happening, this is still a good time to start thinking about establishing your bedtime routine. Your baby is likely already falling into a routine of sleeping and eating, and you can help this along by creating a good bedtime routine. Some principles of a good nighttime sleep routine include:
- A bedtime that’s usually between 6 and 8 p.m.
- Doing some kind of activity with your baby before bed, such as taking a bath, rocking, or cuddling
- Reducing the stimulation level for your baby before each naptime
Whether it’s a pacifier, beloved blanket, or stuffed animal, chances are your baby has a “comfort item.” Security items are very important to your child because they provide a way to relieve the stress and anxiety of an unknown location or the fear of being alone. Common comfort items include pacifiers, blankets, stuffed animals, and other toys.
While you may worry about helping your child break free from his or her security item at a later time, now’s the time when the security item can help reduce anxiety. As you’re selecting comfort items, remember to practice good sleep safety.
Dad-and-baby bonding time
Daddy-and-baby bonding does not always happen at first — dad bonding can take time because moms tend to be the ones to stay home with the baby in the first few weeks of life. It’s only natural, then, that babies don’t interact with their dads as much in the first few weeks of life.
By 12 weeks, however, your baby may start to become more interactive. He or she is smiling, moving hands and arms in more coordinated motions, and you can also look forward to your baby starting to laugh sometime soon (if he or she hasn’t already!). This is a great time for dad to establish a close connection. There are several ways you can promote a father-baby bond, including:
- Bathing baby
- Feeding baby a bottle (if you’re bottle feeding)
- Promoting skin-to-skin contact by having baby take a nap on dad’s bare chest
Dads can also play an important role in establishing a routine for baby. Try to set aside at least 15 minutes of “daddy” time every day. This can be anything your significant other enjoys doing with baby, such as taking a walk together, playing with a particular toy, or reading a favorite story.
Find more tips to help dad bond with baby from Bundoo Pediatrician, Dr. Kristie Rivers.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, July 2019