How to Get Your Baby to Sleep
There are nearly as many baby sleep techniques as there are babies, which means it can be impossible to know what to try to get your baby to sleep.
Should you go with the cry-it-out (CIO) method, or should you go to your baby when she’s having trouble sleeping? It’s important to choose a method that feels right to you. Here are some helpful tips for getting your baby to sleep.
—Put your baby down to sleep when she’s getting sleepy, but still awake. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests avoiding rocking your baby to sleep completely so that she learns to fall asleep in her crib, on her own. This will help her learn to fall back asleep when she wakes during the night.
—Keep a consistent routine. This means regular nap and feeding times throughout the day, and a “bedtime ritual” that’s the same every night. This will help your baby learn to associate nighttime with sleeping.
—Don’t be afraid to change things up. If one method isn’t working for you, don’t stick with it and be miserable! Try something else that might work better for you and your baby. Babies’ sleep cycles don’t become regular until about 6 months of age. That means what worked two weeks ago might not work anymore.
–Changing things up can also help your baby adapt to falling asleep under different conditions. If she’s nursed to sleep every night, she’ll expect to be nursed back to sleep when she wakes at 2 a.m. Try a combination of rocking, nursing, self-soothing and other techniques. This will also help you find what works best.
–When your baby starts fussing, wait a few minutes before going to her. See if she can fall back asleep on her own. If she’s still stirring in a few minutes, it’s okay to check in on her, though the AAP advises not to begin playing with your baby or turning the lights on. The goal is to keep things calm and help her fall back to sleep, which may mean a feeding or changing a soiled diaper.
The bottom line is this: do what feels right to you. Every baby is different, and you know better than a stranger (or an online article!) what works and what doesn’t for your child. If the cry-it-out method feels wrong for your baby, you may want to try nursing or bottle-feeding your baby to sleep, or playing soothing music or white noise to help her nod off.
What is the best technique you’ve found to get your baby to sleep? Any tricks to share with new moms and dads? Jump into the conversation on our Facebook page, and connect with other parents by joining our Facebook group!