The topic of ‘sleep’ is always one of the hottest conversation topics surrounding parents of new babies. “Are you getting enough sleep?” your friends and family will ask. “Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?” Even the questions themselves are enough to increase the stress!

If you take care to develop some basic good habits and a simple ritual for when your baby goes to sleep, you’ll find that he’ll soon start sleeping longer hours.

Forming Good Habits

Your baby will get used to sleeping wherever you put him down, whether it's in his crib or in bed with you.

At 4 months he's at an age when he needs some consistency. If he falls asleep in your arms or in your bed, then that's where he'll expect accommodations all night, every night. So… If you want him to sleep in his own bed, then put him down there while he's still awake.

Your baby’s sleeping area should be free of:

  • Many pillows

  • fluffy blankets

  • mattresses with too much space between them and the bed frame

  • smoke

  • adults under the influence of alcohol and drugs

Develop a Routine

Sleep patterns in infants: Your baby will cycle through light sleep every two to three hours as an infant, but by now he should be learning how to fall back into deep sleep on his own.

Sleep patterns in Babies : Research shows that by 4 months, a baby's brain is mature enough to sleep 6 to 12 hours without really awakening.

Rituals are a critical part of your baby's self-settling sleep program — they can help him fall asleep in the first place so he can get back to sleep throughout the night.

Your Bedtime Routine Might Include:

  • a cuddle in a special chair

  • a song or lullaby*

  • a music tape

  • a snuggle with a special blanket.

Once your baby discovers his own style of settling himself back down during the night, both of you willsleep much better. So, hard as it may be, stay in bed instead of jumping up at the first whimper, giving him time to fall back asleep on his own. The sooner you can start your baby on a good bedtime ritual the better – both for you and for your little one. Your baby will know what to expect and will get used to the rituals and sleeping areas so he will be able to settle himself better.

More Support on Sleep:

  • In the case that you're still sleep deprived, you can also try these ideas from Dr. Suzanne Dixon.

  • Learn the answers to more questions about your child's sleep patterns here.

*About lullabies… 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.