Baby Bedtime

By on June 16, 2013

Baby Bedtime

Some babies can drive parents crazy when it comes to falling asleep. Parents might go as far as putting their baby in a car seat and driving around at 1 am! But beware, whatever habit you get your child used to is what you’ll be doing repeatedly for many months, so be sure to choose a reasonable routine.

The root of the problem:
The problem often begins during early infancy. Most parents of young babies will feed them at night while rocking them to sleep. They will then quietly and gently lay the baby down in his crib, praying that he does not wake up. This bedtime routine is common and perfectly appropriate for a very young baby.

Unfortunately, many parents mistakenly continue this same technique as their baby grows older. The problem arises when the baby no longer knows how to fall asleep without going through the same procedure. The end result is constant crying and an inconsolable baby who must be repeatedly rocked to sleep all night long.

The solution to the problem:
Babies need to learn to associate going to sleep with being alone in the crib, as opposed to being fed or rocked to sleep.
Once the baby is put down to bed and you leave the room, expect your baby to cry. The first time he cries, you should immediately respond by coming back into the room and soothing him by voice and touch. However, you shouldn’t pick your baby up or feed him. Instead, stay with him until he falls asleep. At the next awakening, wait one minute before responding, at the third, wait three minutes, and so on. Keep in mind that you are suffering more from your baby’s crying than he is. Every few nights you should increase the amount of time it takes for you to respond to your baby’s crying (during both the initial bedtime and at each of his awakenings). Eventually, your baby will simply fall asleep without you.

Doctor’s note:
The best sleeping position for your baby is on his side. Researchers believe this sleeping position may decrease a baby’s chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sleeping on his back is not recommended as there is always the risk of choking from regurgitation (spitting up). Sleeping on his abdomen is also not safe because the mattress can cause him to suffocate.

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