Watching a baby sleep is such a sweet and peaceful thing, it will truly bring a smile to your face… that is assuming that you can actually enjoy that moment. Some babies can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and do it just about anywhere. Others need a little more help… possibly to calm down, stop fidgeting, and get comfortable before they can fall asleep. Hopefully as time goes on, you can help train them to be better sleepers.
If you are still pregnant or have an infant, I recommend spending those first few months with your baby close to you at all times. This lingering article doesn’t apply because I feel that infants need to be held and cuddled often. It’s okay to have them fall asleep in your arms and they won’t be spoiled by it. Read my article on sleeper options in order to keep them close to you at night.
Sleeping in their own room (4-6 months old)
When your baby is ready to start sleeping in their own room… probably after a few months during nap time and 5 or 6 months for night time, you will be teaching them some independence. This is where my advice, ‘don’t linger when putting your baby down to sleep’ comes in to play. During this initial transition, it is tempting to stay in their room to make sure they are okay. But you know what? Sometimes our babies are more independent than we give them credit for.
If you linger, your baby can sense that you are there and will more than likely want to be with you (picked up and held, rocked, sung to, etc.) rather than go to sleep. When you are not in the room, they will sleep independently and self soothe.
Establish a Routine
Since babies need several naps a day, it is best to have a schedule in place so that you know when they should be napping, eating, and playing. This will help their bodies adjust to these events and make it easier on everyone as time goes on. Along with a general routine, a bedtime routine should be established. An example for nap time is that you sing them a song before laying them down. An example for night time is that you give them a bath, put their pj’s on, read them a book, then lay them down.
Once you get your routine in place you should try to follow it as much as possible. Obviously if you are away from home it will be harder to do, but if you have a well established routine, an outing here and there will not matter. Your little one will adjust and go back to normalcy when you return back home.
Once you perform the nap time or bed time routine of singing, reading books, putting on white noise, etc., you’ll want to lay your baby down in their crib. Make sure they are cozy and safe, and then say something short like ‘sleep well sweetie’ as an example. Then… leave the room.
Do not linger!
Trust me… the longer you are in the room after you put your baby in the crib, the more chances you have of them crying and wanting you to pick them up. You should have a movement monitor and/or a baby monitor to listen and see them after you leave the room to make sure they are indeed okay.
If your baby does cry for a bit after you leave the room, you’ll have to make a decision at that point on what to do next. You can read my article about the cry it out method and my reviews on the Woombie Swaddle and Miracle Blanket since swaddling can be a big help.