Sleep Tips 3-6 months:
Between the ages of 3-6 months old, a baby responds well to routine and can distinguish between night and day. This is your opportunity to create good sleep habits. Here are some top sleep tips to keep handy:
1. Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own without any props (e.g., dummy, rocking, bottle, etc). If your baby is dependent on a prop to fall asleep, they will need this prop each time they wake between sleep cycles.
2. A baby has to learn to sleep; you can encourage them to fall asleep independently this in turn is helpful in preventing or resolving sleep issues.
3. Establish a bedtime routine, this is the same thing done at the same time every night (e.g., dinner, bath, book, bottle, bed). This helps to create a pattern that your child will know what to expect next and will help to regulate your baby’s body clock and sleep patterns.
4. The first step is to try and keep your baby awake and only place them in their cot when drowsy but not sleeping.
5. Try to associate the cot as a positive environment. You can provide a comfort item e.g., blanket, teddy, that they can associate with sleep time (buy 2 so if one gets lost you have a backup). Always remember to lift item of out cot until 12 months old as this can lead to SIDS.
6. If your baby does wake during the night give them the opportunity to self-settle. You can do this by pausing, listening, and observing.
7. If your baby does wake during the night for a feed, have little interaction by feeding/nappy changing and place straight back into cot.
8. Try to keep daytime naps and feeds regular and consistent. If your baby is having trouble sleeping in their cot at night, try to have at least one nap a day in their cot. Start to plan your feeds about 30 minutes before nap so your baby learns to disassociate feeding and sleeping. It is important to note that skipping naps or trying to exhaust your baby so they will sleep better at night does not work, this leads them to being overtired and early rising.
9. It is okay for your baby to be grizzly or whimper when going to sleep this is only them having a voice, this is them communicating with you, so you will understand their needs. Just pause and listen and you will learn to differentiate the differences between your baby’s cries.
10. If you are breastfeeding, try to avoid caffeine after midday as a small amount passes into the breastmilk.
Remember what happens at one sleep time needs to happen with the other sleep times. It is important to send a clear message to your baby as to what is expected to happen each time; this also includes during the night. Keep in mind, if you are making changes to your baby’s sleep it takes TIME, you need to be REPETITIVE and CONSISTENT.