Establishing a Bedtime Routine for Baby
Many babies have trouble settling down to sleep. They may be excited and over-stimulated or perhaps they are fussy and crying. But, parents need time to themselves, so dont feel guilty about establishing a bedtime routine for your baby.
Here are a few tips to make bedtime easier:
Older babies and toddlers sometimes make a game of calling out for you or dropping stuffed toys out of the crib for you to pick up. If you dont stop these habits right away, your child may wake up a few times each night. When baby cries after you put her to bed, check on her, but keep the lights dim and dont pick her up. Speak to her in a soothing voice and pat her a few times before leaving the room.
If you try this for a few weeks and baby still wakes up during the night, you may try letting her cry. Heres a technique that works for many parents, but pick a night that you dont have to get up early the next morning yourself. When baby cries, check on her and make sure she is okay. Then say in a calm voice that youll be back in a few minutes to check on her again. Check on baby every 10 minutes or so until she falls to sleep, even if she is still crying.
Letting baby cry like this can be hard on you, so be sure youre up to it. If you give in after an hour, you could be training him to cry for longer periods of time. The goal is to help baby learn to sleep on his own. It probably wont take more than a night or two to end the habit for good.
Reference: GH 6121 "Development During the First 3 Years" University of Missouri Extension