Establish a Soothing Sleep-Time Routine
Having a predictable sleep time routine not only calms your baby down, but also acts as a cue that they will associate with going to sleep. The routine should be performed at all sleep times. It can be as simple as singing a lullaby in a rocking chair, or reading a short story. Make sure the room in dark and a comfortable temperature to further calm your baby into a relaxing sleep.
Watch the Clock
From 3 months of age, your baby should be awake during the day for 1.5 hour to 2 hour stretches max! This means you will want to get your baby down for a nap before this time and before they become overtired. Aim for the 1.5 hour mark to avoid a kick of adrenaline, making it difficult for your baby to calm.
Lose the Crutch
In order for your baby to learn to self-sooth and fall asleep on their own they have to be able to fall asleep without “needing” a sleep crutch. Feeding, rocking, swaddling, co-sleeping are all forms of sleep crutches that you will want to avoid using as a means for falling sleep.
Practice Practice Practice
The weeks leading up to the 4 month mark are for practicing self-soothing skills. This means getting your baby to self-sooth as much as possible. Think, every time your baby falls asleep on their own is another coin in the self-soothing skills piggy bank!
This can be done using a pick-up pud-down method, giving them a bit of time and space to use the skills on their own.
Babies are very receptive to our emotions, anxieties and feelings so make sure you stay positive and relaxed about sleep. After putting my daughter down I always say “Time for sleep, I love you” and have a HUGE smile on my face. This shows her that her crib is a happy place and everything is fine.