Sleeping Habits

By 3-4 months most babies have generally learnt to sleep, in an apparently uninterrupted stretch of 6-8 hours, at night provided you schedule their feeding, bathing and playtime during daytime. By 7-12 months they should be accustomed to taking their long sleep at your convenience namely at night.

My child is wide-awake the whole night, and sleeps during the day. Should I try to change his habits, and how do I do that?

  1. It is best to remove baby’s crib from your room by 3-6 months so that the periodic getting up of the infant at night does not escalate into a prolonged wakeful time.
  2. After 6-9 months of age the baby’s waking at night, despite having been fed and tucked in should be handled with a resolute firmness and consistency, so that by experience the baby learns that there is a quiet time for ALL the members of the family and that has to be respected.
  3. If the child cries on being placed in the crib at night (and is otherwise healthy), or awakes crying in the middle of the night as a means of getting attention or food, then he should be reassured by minimum amount of physical contact (standing near the crib). You should then depart from there and return after longer and longer intervals. This technique often allows the child to establish his/her own ability to fall back to sleep without any significant parental intervention. Easier said than done.
  4. The child should grow up with the idea that he is to stay in bed until morning. Be firm about NOT allowing him into your bed. If the child must be comforted, it should be done in his or her own bed.
  5. Most children give up their crib by 18-24 months. If a shift is planned in the place your child sleeps, due to the arrival of another sibling, that move should occur several weeks before/after the arrival of the new baby so as not to convey the sense of being ‘evicted’ or ‘displaced’ by the new family member.

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