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Health & Baby

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Quick Tips: Getting Baby to Sleep - Get started

A newborn goes back and forth between sleeping and waking during a 24-hour day. Over the first 3 months, the baby gradually sleeps for longer periods. By the third or fourth month, most babies sleep for their longest period (up to 7 to 8 hours) during the night and develop set nap times.

You can help your baby-and yourself-sleep better. The goal is to help your baby learn self-comfort so that he or she can get to sleep, and get back to sleep, with little help from you.

Bedtime tips

  • At night, set up a soothing routine. Give your baby a bath, sing lullabies, read a book, or tell a story. These activities can help your baby relax. They also signal that it is time to sleep. Don't get your baby excited with active play right before sleep.
  • When your baby is getting sleepy, put your baby in his or her crib in a quiet, darkened room. This will help your baby learn to go to sleep in his or her crib.
  • Don't rock your baby to sleep after about age 4 to 6 months. Rock your baby, but lay the baby down to sleep while he or she is drowsy but still awake.
  • Don't add cereal to your baby's bottle. Adding cereal to a bottle won't make a baby sleep through the night. Babies don't need solid foods until they are about 6 months old. Check with your doctor to see when your baby is ready for solid food.
  • Put your baby down for a nap as soon as he or she acts sleepy. If your baby gets too tired, it may be hard for him or her to get to sleep.
  • Remember to put your baby down to sleep on his or her back. This helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
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