Babies should be put to sleep in a calm secure environment. Be very careful they are not too warm as overheating is very dangerous for a child. Babies should always be placed on their back’s “back-to-sleep” to go asleep unless you were told otherwise from your doctor. Once your baby can easily roll from front to back and back to front and lift his/her head then s/he is free to sleep in whatever position s/he is comfortable in. Do not leave stuffed toys, pillows etc. in the cot with your baby. Usually small babies have not developed a comforter, a comforter can be introduced once your child is 4 months old and can lift his/her head and roll over easily. Babies should sleep on a firm mattress with a sheet securely fastened. Ensure your child does not sleep near a window, curtains, cords or blinds.
Once all safety measures are in place then it is time to concentrate on how to get baby to sleep.
1- If you want your baby to sleep in a crib or cot, then always ensure your child is placed in the cot/crib awake. You may find this difficult when your baby is very small but it is probably the single most important piece of advice you will get to ensure good sleeping habits for your baby in the months ahead.
2- If you feel you need to introduce a soother, do not let your baby fall asleep with this in his/her mouth. Soothers are perfectly fine if you want to delay feeds or calm your baby but they should not be used as a baby sleep aid. If you need the soother for your child to wind down go right ahead, however remove the soother before your baby falls asleep.
3- Do not let your child fall asleep while you breastfeed or on the bottle, remove breast or bottle before your baby is asleep.
4- Leave the room before your child falls asleep, if your child is confident you are around they should be happy to fall asleep on their own. If you take this baby sleep approach from the start and points 1, 2 & 3 from day one then you should have no sleep problems when your child is older.
5- Do not let your child cry themselves to sleep (Cry it out/Controlled crying method). This can cause more problems than it solves. There are always other ways to solve baby sleep problems. Reassurance is key to a child’s wellbeing, therefore if you do everything you can for the child during the day and then let your baby cry themselves to sleep, all your efforts during the day was a total waste of time.
6- Always reassure your child if s/he is upset going to sleep, don’t leave the room while s/he is crying, go back and reassure them and then leave when they stop crying, repeat this until baby falls asleep.
7- Always watch your child to ensure he is not overtired when you put them to bed. When you spot the first signs of tiredness i.e. rubbing eyes, yawning, quite in himself then this is the time you should start your bedtime routine.
8- Routine is vital to a child especially when s/he gets older s/he needs to know when bedtime is, therefore you must have a routine in place. How would you like it if you were told just as your were getting ready to watch Coronation Street that you were not allowed and had to go to bed right now!
Follow these ‘How to Put Baby to Sleep’ steps and you should not require my services in the future. However if you do, just email me at email@example.com I would be delighted to help you get your baby to sleep through the night.