According to the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board, babies can develop sleeping habits as early as six weeks old. It is of every parent’s interest to get their baby into a good sleeping routine and the earlier the better.
There are several steps a parent can take to help develop good sleeping habits in babies early on.
* It is important to try and learn to know when your baby is tired as waiting until your baby becomes overtired until you put him down can often mean that a baby has difficulty settling and dropping off.
The rubbing of eyes, becoming fractious or tugging of the ears, are often signs that a baby is sleepy and should be put in his Moses Basket or cot.
* Try to help your baby distinguish between night and day so that he adopts sleeping habits that are similar to your own – namely sleeping soundly at night! You can do this by making daytime ‘playtime’ and keeping the house full of background noise and light and make his feeds during the day more ‘sociable’ by talking to your baby or singing to him as he feeds.
By contrast, make the night time quiet, dark and subdued, so that he learns that this is the time to ‘sleep’.
* Get your baby into the habit of falling asleep on his own rather than in your arms, when out in the pram, or, worse still, next to you in bed. This can be achieved by putting him in his Moses Basket or cot when he is still awake, leaving the room and letting him fall asleep on his own.
Babies adapt to habits extremely quickly and if your little one grows use to falling asleep in his parents’ arms or in their bed, he will continue to expect that this is the way he falls asleep.