Now that your little one is sleeping longer at night and you have introduced a bedtime routine, you have laid the foundation to build healthy sleep habits. As your child reaches 3 months of age, continue offering opportunities to self-soothe by giving them time in the crib to fall asleep. Rely less on the swing and other aids for sleeping. You can allow them to self-soothe at the start of nap and bedtime, as well as when they wake early from naps. Your child will be able to stay awake a little longer between naps and will start needing an earlier bedtime. These natural occurrences will help the transition to a scheduled routine around the age of 4 months. Here are some tips when introducing a schedule into your baby’s routine and beginning sleep training.
Introducing a schedule:
Around 4 months of age – Start with a consistent wake time each day. This allows your baby’s body to become accustomed to a routine. By having a set wake time, your baby will be ready for naps at a consistent time and will fall into a schedule.
Naps – At this age, babies will start to sleep longer during naps and so the number of naps will decrease to about 3. Give your baby time to fall back to sleep during a nap, and naps will then become longer. The third nap will be shorter and bedtime still needs to be early.
When – Formal sleep training can begin around 4 months of age (from your child’s due date). It is important to wait until this time so that your baby develops biologically and they can learn these skills to be successful!
How – Setting a schedule is the start of the process and encouraging your baby to self-soothe will help teach your child to fall back to sleep independently. Remember to include a bedtime routine to help your baby transition to sleep.
Methods – There are different methods to use for teaching your baby; some are more gradual than others. For more information on the methods you can use, visit Good Night Sleep Site’s blog. While teaching your baby to sleep independently, there will be some crying no matter what method you choose, which is normal. When babies learn new skills they like to protest, and the only way they can is to cry.
Support–During this time, find someone to support and encourage you (spouse, family member, or friend) so that you can be consistent in your plan. This is an important key to success! If your baby is crying and you need a distraction; pick up a good book, start some laundry, or rediscover a favorite hobby.