During the first two months, your baby will sleep from 10 to 18h a day. By 3 to 6 months, he/she will sleep for a stretch of 6 hours. The main problem here is that babies do not have their circadian rhythms developed. They do not understand a difference between night and day. Developing good sleeping habits include teaching your baby that difference.
The position of a crib
Place the crib near the window. During daytime naps, open the blinds. When your baby gets up, he/she will understand it is day time and that it is time to wake up. Avoid using night lights because they can disrupt a sleep cycle. When your baby gets up in the dark, he/she will learn to go back to sleep.
Start a regular routine
Wake up your baby early in the morning always at the same time every day. Play active games during the day and limit quiet activities to the evenings. Save your baby’s favorite activity for bedtime so that he/she associates pleasant things to sleep. Two hours before sleep, lower the light. A bath time 90 minutes before bedtime can help your baby sleep better. Before you tuck him/her in, read a story, or a sing a song in order to help your baby’s sensory and motor system slow down. Put your baby to sleep at the same time every night.
Let your baby fall asleep on his/her own
When your baby is between 6 and 8 weeks, put him/her down on his/her back when you notice he/she is sleepy. Rocking and/or feeding your baby to sleep can disrupt circadian rhythms as he/she will start to depend on it every time it is time for sleep.
During night, you can go in and periodically check your baby. If he/she starts crying, do not enter the room immediately. Do not offer him/her a pacifier, do not turn on the light and do not feed him/her to sleep. Parents should wait a few moments when they hear their babies cry and let them lull themselves to sleep. The amount of time you wait depends on the baby, you should wait between 1 and 5 minutes before you go in. If you do need to go in, do not pick up the baby, just make sure he/she knows you are there. Do not stay for more than 2, or 3 minutes even if he/she is still crying. Avoid using a baby monitor as it will teach the baby to wake up more often. Gradually increase the amount of time you wait.
A baby blanket
There are various benefits of swaddling. First of all, babies sleep longer as the environment is similar to the one in the womb. Secondly, they cry less. The movements of their arms and legs may startle them causing over-stimulation and crying. Dress your baby loosely during the day and swaddle him/her before bedtime so that he/she can associate sleep with swaddling. Choose baby blankets made of natural materials, such as knitted cotton, which is gentle to the baby’s skin.
Create a good sleep environment
Even though 76 degrees Fahrenheit sounds comfortable for a bedroom during the day, nudge the thermostat down an hour before bedtime. A humidity of 50% is recommended. Do not place your baby on cold sheets. Instead, use flannel sheets, or place a warm towel on the sheets to warm them. If your baby is sensitive to noise, you can use a white-noise machine.
Consistency is a key when you are teaching your baby to sleep. If you follow the recommendations above, you can expect a good night’s sleep for both you and your baby after 7 days.