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Baby sleep Establishing Routines 4 to 6 months
2016-04-11 09:57:14
Starting at the fourth month, a baby should sleep 11 to 12 hours through the night. Nighttime will start earlier, with 7 or 8 p.m. being the ideal bedtime for most infants. “If your little one gets overtired, her body will start to produce cortisol hormone, which is not your friend when it comes to inducing sleep,” Waldburger says. Cortisol has a stimulating effect, which will make it difficult to settle your baby. You need to read sleep cues such as fussiness, rubbing eyes, or pulling ears, and then act quickly when your baby appears tired.

At this age, babies will take three or four naps during the day. Naps can last anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. These naps may be sporadic at first but by 5 months you should start to schedule regular naps. If your child is taking mini-catnaps throughout the day, you may be putting her down too early. Try to keep her awake for a little longer to encourage longer naps.

At this age, a baby can start self-soothing, so if you haven’t started already, it’s time to establish a bedtime routine that you will practice every night. “A regular bedtime routine is very important because of brain development,” Waldburger says. “At this age, your baby can learn sleep cues.” A simple routine such as a feeding followed by a story and dim lights can signal it’s time for bed. A predictable routine will also make it easier for someone other than mom to put baby to bed.

It’s crucial to put your baby to bed awake starting at four months. Once your baby is able to soothe herself to sleep, she will be better able to go back to sleep on her own when she wakes at night. “If your baby gets used to falling asleep in your arms or with the TV on in the background, she won’t be able to recreate these sleep associations when she wakes in the middle of the night,” Waldburger says.

Biggest mistake at this age: Encouraging poor bedtime associations that require parental presence to put baby to sleep. Teach your child to soothe herself to sleep by helping her with a regular sleep routine.

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