1. Look for sleep cues
If your baby is rubbing his eyes and fretful when you pick him up, he’s likely ready for a nap. Otherwise, he’ll become restless and be running on adrenaline. If your 3-month-old baby is not getting three or four hours of sleep during the day, there’s no way he’ll settle easily for the night as he’ll be overtired. If your baby is rubbing his eyes and fretful when you pick him up, he’s likely ready for a nap.
2. Keep a baby-sleep diary
You’ll see your baby’s natural rhythms and sleep times, as well as his sleep associations. This way, you can plan his routine. Put your baby to bed when you know he tends to get tired. Soon, your baby will know when to sleep, when he naps and when it’s bedtime.
3. Make some (white) noise
White noise at naptime or bedtime can soothe your baby. There are apps you can download that play sounds like the ocean, rain or vacuuming. Try the Sound Sleeper app (US$2.99), from iTunes). When he comes out of his sleep cycle, white noise lulls him back to sleep.
4. Share your smell
Give you baby an object that smells of you. You can put a muslin between you and your baby when you’re feeding him, then give him the muslin when you put him down to sleep. For safety, you can tie a knot in the cloth so it doesn’t spread over his face.
5. Take a drive
The sound of the engine is white noise and helps bubba drift off to sleep. Drive for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure he goes into a deep sleep before taking him out.
6. Soothe sore gums
If your baby is having difficulty sleeping because he’s teething, place a clean, damp piece of muslin in the fridge for 30 minutes, then give it to him to bite on. The cold will soothe him. You could also try teething gels.
7. Resist doing diaper changes in the night
Don’t change your baby’s diaper in the middle of the night unless it’s absolutely sodden or he’s done a poo, as it will bring him out of his sleep. If you have to do the change, don’t put the lights on, as that can confuse him into thinking it’s time to wake up. Change the diaper quietly, causing minimal disruption.
8. Know when to drop naps
Your tot will probably need a daytime nap until he’s 3. Drop the nap once he starts to take longer to fall asleep at night after having the afternoon nap. You can bring bedtime forward to compensate for a while, then gradually move it back to its normal time.
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