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Getting Your Baby To Sleep

Here are some basics steps you can try.  

("Love, Patience and Practice" are the main steps in being a parent.-- -CJ Krebs)

Help your infant develop good sleep habits: 

Your baby doesn't pay attention to whether it is day and night. But, when your baby is a few weeks old, you can start teaching them the difference between morning, night, nap time and beddy-bye-time. During the day keep daytime noises at their normal level, wake your baby when it's time for her feedings, play with her and talk to her. At night turn down the lights, the noise, and your voice when talking to her during her feedings and changes.  When your baby is about 1-2 mos. old, put her to bed when she is shows signs of sleepiness but is still awake. Let her fall asleep on her own, You may rock and/or sing to her just while she is awake. Keep a semi-scheduled bedtime routine. When it's bedtime, show your baby it's time to settle down by performing the same steps every night.

Here are some simple bedtime routine steps to try: 

  • Start with a bath or just washing her hands and face.
  • Change diaper and put pj's.
  • Singing a quiet lullaby is soothing to the baby when it is a familiar voice.
  • While you prepare your baby for bed, if you prefer not to sing, put in a tape/cd of baby-friendly sounds on low volume and leave it on after you leave the room.
  • Cuddle and rock your baby before you lay her down to bed. Try to make it short and put your baby in her crib while she is still awake. 

Tricks to help your baby sleep:

For the first 2-3 months your baby needs to wake up to eat, but some babies jerk themselves and wake up before they are ready to eat. Try wrapping your baby snuggly in a receiving blanket before putting her down for bed. It makes newborns feel secure and ready for bed. Try a pacifier. The sucking is soothing to some babies, but not all. If you encounter too many problems with the pacifier getting lost, or waking baby when it falls out - you should wean her from it. Leave one special toy in the crib for your baby to look at, talk to and hold onto. Too many toys can be a distraction.

Sleeping tricks to avoid:

  • Putting rice cereal in her bottle at night to make her feel full, does not promote sleep.
  • Rocking your baby is very soothing and can put your baby to sleep.  But if you rock to put her to sleep, she'll want you to rock her every time she wakes up - even at 4 a.m. (See above notes for tips on rocking your child)
  • Letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle or nursing before bed is not a good habit to make. When your baby wakes up at night, she'll expect you to feed her.

A Little Reminder:

Encourage good sleep habits by creating a consistent sleep routine that ends before your baby falls asleep, put her to bed awake, and make sure that a favorite toy will be there for her at night when she wakes up. 

CJ Krebs 2001

About the Author:
CJ Krebs, mommy of four, writes short Parenting stories for Sheeze and helps moderate The Parenting World message board and chat.

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