I have been writing a lot of posts about babies and sleep lately. I decided to put together a list of the most important things to help your baby learn good sleeping habits. Unless otherwise specified, these tips are meant to be implemented starting at the 6 month mark or later.
- Put your baby in her crib when she starts to get sleepy
Rather than holding her to fall asleep, put her down when she’s showing signs of being tired. Personally, I hold my baby until I see her starting to close her eyes once or twice and that is my sign to move her to her crib.
- Let your baby cry for a few minutes
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, let her cry for a few minutes. The same goes for when you put her in her crib to fall asleep. This will allow her to possibly settle back down to sleep on her own.
- Avoid the urge to pick your baby up
If your baby starts crying in the middle of the night, comfort her in her crib by pressing on her stomach briefly and if she uses a pacifier put it back in her mouth. If everything seems fine besides the crying. For example, she does not have a poopy diaper, is not in pain (teething), or sick, leave the room. Continue checking on your baby in longer increments, she should eventually go back to sleep without needing to be held.
- Move your baby into her own room by the 3-6 month range
This will allow your baby to be comfortable sleeping by herself. You do not have to put your baby in her crib right away. You can just move the the bassinet into the nursery to prevent too many changes at one time.
- Make sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep
If your baby is overtired it will be harder for her to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Click here to go to a previous post that includes a chart with typical napping times in the first year. The most important thing is that your baby is getting the correct of amount of total sleep throughout the day. The time between naps is also a great reference to have.
Sometimes things happen, like your baby getting sick or teething, that will make you stray away from some of these tips. Once your baby is back to normal you might need to run through some of the list again to help her sleep through the night again. These tips really helped me get all my children sleeping well at night, I hope they work for you too.