Good news for sleep-deprived new moms: Now that your baby is a few months old, she’s starting to develop regular sleep patterns that will help you both get more shut-eye. Most babies this age need about 14 hours of sleep within each 24-hour period. You’ll probably find that it’s broken down into at least two (if not three) naps a day, plus seven or eight hours of sleep at night. To help your baby sleep routine go as smoothly as possible, try keeping these tips in mind.
Establish a bedtime routine
If you haven’t done so already, create a calming bedtime routine to encourage sound baby sleep. Have a set bedtime and keep the routine simple and relatively short. Some tried-and-true activities to consider: giving a bath, singing lullabies, reading a book, or rocking in a chair together. Whatever you choose, try to perform the same activities in the same order each night. This will help set your baby up for a successful night’s sleep. You'll also want to put your baby down to sleep when she's sleepy but still awake. If you rock her to sleep in your arms, she won't learn how to fall asleep in her crib.
Readjust your feeding times
After 4 months, babies need fewer feedings than they did soon after birth. That means it’s probably a good time to start eliminating middle-of-the-night feedings. Time your routine so the last bottle or nursing session is right before you go to sleep.
Your baby may still cry out in the middle of the night, but at this age, you can comfort him with soothing words or a quick lullaby instead of a feeding.
Protect your baby from SIDS
At this age, the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is decreasing but is still present. Be sure to put your baby down to sleep on his back and keep any soft objects (e.g., pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals) out of the crib. However, by 6 months, many babies are starting to learn how to roll over from their backs to their stomachs. If your baby is rolling over in the middle of the night, don’t worry: There’s no need to reposition him while he is sleeping.
You and your baby are probably both getting more sleep during the night, but hiccups are to be expected. If you do have any baby sleep disturbances, be sure to stick to your routine … and keep your fingers crossed that the following night will be more restful!