It sounds simple enough: Bathe, feed, cuddle, place in crib. Maybe you will even get one of those really good-natured guys or gals who fall effortlessly into a predictable eating, sleeping, and napping routine. Maybe you’ll also win the lottery and never have to worry about the cost of college. But if you’re like most of us, figuring out how to get your baby to fall asleep and your baby is constantly waking in the night it can disturb your own sleep patterns. You may find it much harder to cope with tasks the next day. Women whose sleep is disturbed because their baby has sleep problems may be prone to depression.
Here are five baby bedtime strategies and the best ways you to put your baby to sleep worth a try, from crying it out at one end of the spectrum to co-sleeping at the other. It’s up to you to decide which one best suits your family.
- Feeds Make daytime feeds social and lively and night-time feeds quiet. That way you’ll help her set her body clock so she can learn the difference between day and night.
- Own Sleep Time Give her a chance to fall asleep on her own from about six to eight weeks. Put her down when she’s sleepy, but still awake. Some experts advise against rocking or breastfeeding babies to sleep, even at this age, because they may come to depend on it. It’s up to you to decide what’s best.
- Bedtime Routine Set a bedtime routine. Keep it short and simple: bath, nappy and pyjamas, and a story or song. Finish the bedtime ritual in your baby’s bedroom. It’s important she learns her room is a nice place to be.
- Cry Let her cry it out. This is suitable once your baby is four or five months old. If she’s crying after you’ve put her down, go to her. Pat her gently and tell her everything’s fine, but it’s time for sleep. Be gentle, but firm. Leave the room. Wait for a set interval, anything from two to five minutes, then check again. Do this repeatedly until she falls asleep, extending the time between each visit.
- Cuddle up If you plan to have your baby sleeping in your bed, comfort and rock her so she is ready for sleep as part of her bedtime routine. Lie down together and cuddle her, pretending to sleep, firmly letting her know it’s bedtime.