Healthy Baby Sleep Habits
There are several important components to developing a healthy baby-sleep routine:
A consistent bedtime routine will help your child transition from stimulation and play into sleep. Choose low-key activities that help him wind down, such as reading or quiet play on the floor, and do the activities in the same order each night so that, in time, just doing the routine will help your child feel sleepy.
Put your baby to sleep at the right time for his age. Most children do best with a bedtime between 7 and 8:30 PM. If your child becomes overtired, he'll have a harder time settling into sleep, will wake more often throughout the night and will wake too early in the morning. Also keep in mind that putting your child to bed later so he sleeps later usually backfires!
If your child is older than 4 months, put your him down drowsy but awake, and let him do the last bit of falling asleep on his own. Children who need help falling back asleep in the middle of the night usually haven't put themselves to sleep at bedtime. You can support your child learning how to sleep in a variety of ways. Generally, however, the more help you offer, the longer the process will take. For instance, if you continue to pick your child up each time he cries, it may take several weeks or more for him to learn to put himself to sleep; if you leave the room for short intervals (say, 5, 10 and 15 minutes), he will probably learn how to sleep well in a week or less.
Make sure your child's environment is conducive to sleep. Darken the room during the day to encourage good naps, use white noise if you have a busy household or neighborhood and remove stimulating toys from the crib.