How can I build good sleep habits for my baby?
There are many ways to do this, particularly after 3 months of age when your baby’s crying should have settled down and your baby is becoming more alert and awake during the daytime. Start by establishing a feed-play-sleep pattern, that is feed your baby, have a play time, and when they start to look tired, settle her to sleep. Tired signs in babies include jerking their arms and legs, clenching their fists, yawning, fussing, and crying – which is a late sign. When you see your baby’s tired signs, take your baby into her bedroom, cuddle her until she is calm but not asleep, wrap her (or put her in a sleeping bag or sleep sack if she is older) and put her into her cot (crib) still awake. In this way, when she naturally wakes from her light sleep overnight, she will remember where she is and will start to learn to re-settle. Babies who have never learned to go to sleep by themselves at the start of the night cannot re-settle by themselves overnight. She will expect to be rocked or fed back to sleep over night if this is how you got her to sleep at the start of the night. Other ways to build good sleep habits include:
• give the last feed of the night outside the bedroom, in a quiet place, so your baby does not fall asleep while feeding
• keep the bedroom fairly dark and quiet
• keep overnight feeds in the bedroom with the lights down low
• start a bedtime routine so your baby knows what to expect around sleep time.