- Get physical: Your baby may sleep better if they’ve exercised their mind and body so make time for daily activity and stimulation, such as ‘tummy time’.
- Know your nap times: Try to set regular times for daytime naps and bear these in mind when you’re planning your day together.
- Keep it calm: Where your baby sleeps should be a dedicated relaxation zone with a quiet atmosphere and low-level lighting. Banish distracting TVs, laptops, and tablets.
- Hang in there: As your baby approaches four months, try to keep them awake a little bit longer if it is getting close to bedtime. Instead of a nap just an hour before bedtime, give them a bath and massage, or read them a story.
- Time it right: Start to put your baby to sleep at the same time every night. Experts have found that putting your baby to bed at the same time every evening can increase their chances of getting enough sleep.
- Offer a feeding: As they get a little older and are able to sleep 5-6 hours at night, offer your baby a feeding just before bedtime. This may help them to sleep for the next several hours.
- Set a routine: Follow your own pre-sleep pattern with tips from our Bedtime Routine Checklist.
- Separate sleep: Your baby needs to learn to sleep alone, so put them into their own bassinet or crib rather than sleeping with you.
- Share a room: Because the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been shown to be reduced when babies sleep in a crib in the same room as their parents, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that your baby sleeps in a crib in your room for at least the first 6 months.
- Settle into sleep: Put your baby down when they are sleepy but still awake. Once they know the routine, they will start to fall asleep on their own. Let them learn how to settle their self once they are in their crib.
- Clean crib: For safe sleeping, only your baby belongs in the crib. Do not give your baby a pillow, blankets, quilt, sheepskin, stuffed toys, or anything that can cause them to suffocate. Cover the mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Keep them comfortable: Check your baby’s sleeping area isn’t too hot or too cold. In general, your baby should be dressed in one more layer of clothing than you’re wearing.
Get it right at night
- Take your time: Give your baby a chance to resettle or ‘self soothe’ before you rush in, and you’ll help reduce the number of times they wake up in the future. That’s good news for both of you!
- Put the hugs on hold: If you’re checking on your baby, don’t automatically pick them up. Instead, rub their back gently or sing a lullaby. Reassure them that you are there for them without rewarding every cry with a cuddle.
- Think before you feed: You might assume that your baby is hungry every time she wakes up at night, but by four months they may be able to go five to six hours between feeds and could just be looking for comfort. Feeding your baby every time they wake will actually make their nights less settled.
- Stick with the crib: If you do need to feed or change your baby at night, don’t be tempted to bring them into bed with you afterwards. Always put them back in their crib so they get used to falling back asleep on their own.
Canadian Paediatric Society. Safe sleep for babies. Safe sleep for babies | Caring for kids (cps.ca) Accessed May 2021.
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