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7 Steps to Get a Newborn to Sleep

BabySleeepinCrib_400Here’s how to create a sleep environment for your baby during her first month that calms her and “teaches” her that it’s time to sleep. From Eat Play Sleep: The Essential Guide to Your Baby’s First 3 Months.

Setting a particular bedtime is up to you, but keep it on the early side. The whole process takes about an hour. I begin at around five P.M. during the winter and six P.M. during the summer when it stays lighter out. I’m also flexible, give or take thirty minutes, in case a grandparent or other visitor comes around.

1. Take your baby away from the hubbub of the household.
2. Give her a bath, followed by a massage. Put on her night clothes.
3. Pull the shades to darken her room.
4. Feed, burp, and check her diaper. By now, an hour or so has passed.
5. Swaddle the baby.
6. Hold her upright for ten minutes if she has no digestive issues, twenty minutes if she spits up after meals or tends to cry when laid down.
7. Put her into the crib while she’s awake. Turn on music or a white-noise machine, because sound is a good distraction while she’s settling down.

That’s the ideal. When a baby is calm, looking around, I give her a chance to fall asleep on her own. Your baby might have to be held longer and then put down. She might be calm when you’re holding her, but when you put her into her crib, she begins to fuss. Don’t rush in to “rescue” her. She might just be settling herself. If she begins to cry, first try to calm her in the crib. If that doesn’t work, you might have to give her a pacifier or pick her up and reposition her. You might have to hold her until she calms down. The important thing is to try to stay calm yourself. Do this as many times as necessary. Remember that you’re teaching her.

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