Getting Baby to Sleep: Establishing A Routine

Getting a baby to sleep can be a hard, tear-jerking experience for parents who just need some shut-eye themselves. In addition to making the parenting job easier (and securing your sanity), schedules or routines are a great way to get your infant to feel secure through providing a predictable environment. Here are some practical baby sleep tips.

Sleep baby, sleep
While your baby may be establishing their feeding and sleeping routine for the first few weeks, there are measures you can take to make the putting-to-bed process easier. Keep the routine simple. For example, when you want to put him to bed, breastfeed him then maybe give him a relaxing massage before you lay him in the bassinet. Like Pavlovian conditioning, your baby will start associating the link between feed, massage and bed. This will make for a less fussy baby. In fact, building a routine can help solve some baby sleep problems.

How long should a baby sleep once you’ve put him to sleep? The answer depends on his age, but he’ll most likely wake when he’s ready to feed again. At about four to six months, you can expect to sleep through more of the night. Remember, there’s no right or wrong routines, just see what works for you and for your child. Need some ideas? Here are some useful tips for how you can build up a routine and how to get your baby to sleep.

  1. Bed and co-bath time. Soaking your baby in the tub before bedtime hits a flock of birds with one stone. First, it cleans the dirt, grime and germs that your baby has been collected throughout the day and lets you sleep easier. Secondly, gently splashing around in the tub can be a relaxing activity to help your baby blow off some steam. Lastly, the warmth and the calming nature of water in the baby bath help compose and unruffled your baby’s feathers.

  2. Play that funky music. For moms and dads who play the guitar, a soothing song can be a great way to help your baby drift off. For the musically disinclined, white noise has been found to be a comfort to babies; you can either buy a sound machine or simply tune your radio dial to quiet static. Then there’s always the lullabies you grew up to. If your parents sang you Frere Jacques, do the same for your child. Putting on a CD is a great idea; you can start it while you begin your bedtime ritual and leave it to play after you’ve left the room. That way, you don’t need to be in the room until your baby falls asleep.

  3. Read a story. Sure, you think why read a story if they don’t yet understand the words? But did you know that when babies are exposed to a large vocabulary throughout the day, they grow up with better language skills. The reason for a bedtime story is that it will contain words you probably wouldn’t be using yourself.

  4. Massage. Learn the art of baby massage! A gentle rub over the back, arms and legs will increase blood circulation make your baby sleepy. It’s also a great way to increase the skin-to-skin contact that is so important for building a happy attachment.

Remember, once you have a routine, be consistent. This may mean making the routine simple, as you don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes jumping through hoops.