How to encourage good sleep habits
For the first few months, feedings in the middle of the night are sure to interrupt sleep for both parents and babies, but it’s never too early to help your baby get to sleep well. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Follow a consistent, calming routine at bedtime. Overstimulation at night can make it difficult for your baby to calm down to sleep. Try taking a bath, hugging, singing, listening to quiet music, or reading, with a clearly defined end point when you leave the room. Begin these activities before your baby is too tired, in a quiet room with dim lighting.
- Put your baby to bed when he is sleepy but awake. This will help your baby relate the bed to the process of falling asleep. Remember to put the baby on his back and clear the crib of blankets and other soft objects.
- Give your baby time to calm down. Your baby may throw tantrums or cry before finding a comfortable position and falling asleep. If he won’t stop crying, come over to check he’s okay, say something to calm him down, and leave the room. Your baby may just need your reassuring presence to fall asleep.
- Consider giving her a pacifier. If your baby has trouble calming down, a pacifier may be enough. In fact, research suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Provides night care in a calm way. When you need to nurse or feed your baby at night, use low lights, a soft voice, and calm movements. This will tell your baby that it is time to sleep, not play.
- Respect your baby’s preferences. If your baby is a night owl or early riser, you may want to adjust routines and schedules based on these natural patterns.
Don’t lose perspective
Remember that getting your baby to sleep through the night is not a way to assess your ability to raise a child. Take the time to understand your baby’s habits and the way they communicate; so you can help him sleep better. I