Sleep! Tips for improving your baby's sleep and your own
Visit babysleep.com for more tips, strategies, and resources. Here are a few tips to get you started:
All of us wake up frequently during the night. Once we are adults, however, we are used to falling back asleep on our own and can usually do so easily. Infants and children wake up more frequently than adults (every 30-60min). Also, they need help learning how to fall back asleep on their own. Know that your baby waking frequently and crying for you is completely normal.
Remember: back to sleep! For the first year of her life, you should put your baby to sleep on her back. Her sleeping surface should be firm and free of loose and soft objects. This website includes more information about safe sleep.
You can start to build a bedtime routine around when your baby is 3 months old. Choose a few activities that you can do in the same order every night. If feeding is part of the routine, try to have it at the start of the routine. This way, your baby will begin to learn to fall asleep without feeding. If you haven't started building a routine yet, it's never too late!
The way that your baby falls asleep at bedtime is how she will fall asleep in the middle of the night. If you put your baby to sleep by rocking her, then she will likely need to be rocked to fall back asleep when she wakes in the middle of the night. You can work toward supporting your baby to fall asleep independently by gradually weaning her off of your support. See babysleep.com for specific strategies to achieve this.
Give your toddler choices, rather than asking yes/no questions. Instead of, "are you ready to put your pajamas on?" try: "It's time to put your pajamas on. Would you like to wear the blue ones or green ones tonight?"
Starting at about 16 months, you can use a special alarm clock to teach your child when to wake up. The clock's face "goes to sleep" at bedtime and changes color in the morning and "wakes up," telling your child that it is an okay time to get out of bed. A more budget-friendly option is to connect a night light to a timer: when the night light turns off, that means it is okay to get out of bed.