As every new parent knows, it can be challenging to put your baby to bed, let alone ensure he gets a good night's sleep. Developing good bedtime habits is crucial, especially around the four-month mark. This is where he needs you to provide structure and consistency with your sleep patterns.
Your baby will get used to sleeping wherever you put him down. If he falls asleep in your arms or in your bed, then that's where he'll expect to be accommodated all night, every night. So it makes sense that if you want him to sleep in his own bed, put him down there while he's sleepy, but still awake.
Clear the area
Your baby’s sleeping area should be free of:
- Bumper pads
- Stuffed animals and toys
- Mattresses with too much space between them and the bed frame
Develop a routine
As a newborn, your baby did cycle through light sleep every two to three hours, but by four months he should be learning how to fall back into deep sleep on his own. Research shows that by four months, a baby's brain is mature enough to sleep for six to 12 hours without really awakening.
Your bedtime routine might include:
- a bath
- a cuddle in a special chair
- a song or lullaby*
- reading a story
- a snuggle with a special blanket
Once your baby discovers his own style of settling himself back down during the night, both of you will sleep much better. So, hard as it may be, stay in bed instead of jumping up at the first whimper. Give him time to fall back to sleep on his own. Of course if he doesn’t settle then try to soothe him. It will take a few nights but he will quickly get the hang of it.
The sooner you can start sleep training your baby with a good bedtime ritual, the sooner your baby will know what to expect.
Did you know that lullabies around the world have similar musical characteristics, even though the lyrics, language and melodies differ? To help calm your baby before bedtime, sing him a lullaby.