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Parenting: Strategies to Get Your Baby to Sleep

By Peter Andrews

As with most aspects of parenting, you're sure to come across a wide variety of opinions about baby's sleep! Friends, relatives and others have their views on how much sleep babies need, the best sleep routines and more.

Here are some practical guidelines you can follow. They"ve worked with many babies and so are worth trying out. Of course, every baby is different, so nothing works all the time for all babies.

One of the first decisions you must make is about where the baby should be sleeping. Should you let the baby share your bed? Should she use her own crib? If she's to use a crib, should it be located in your bedroom or in a separate room?

For safety reasons, many experts advise against the baby sharing your bed. It's easy for the baby to get trapped under you or your partner.

If you're a heavy sleeper or are overly tired, you should probably avoid sharing your bed with the baby. The same goes if you're on medication that makes you drowsy, of if you've had alcohol.

Place the baby on her back when putting her to sleep. This helps her breathing. Avoid anything that can interfere with her breathing -- such as plush toys, heavy blankets, comforters, etc. Use a firm mattress. If you use a soft mattress, the baby's head can get stuck into it and she may not be able to breathe.

Consider having the baby sleep in a crib in your room. That way, she can sleep safely and you are available on hand to attend to her needs.

One of the best actions you can take to help with baby's sleep is to establish a sleeping routine. This adds to her comfort and eventually becomes a clear signal to her that it's time to sleep.

Here are several things you can do to establish a bedtime routine.

* Bathe the baby during the early evening. This can help the baby sleep longer at night. Which means you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep as well.

* Start bedtime with a story or a lullaby followed by hugs and cuddles. You might want to feed the baby, give her more cuddles and then put her to bed.

* Lower the lights, but don't make it completely dark. In time, the baby will come to associate the lowered lights with sleep-time.

* Try not to vary the routine. Have the same people involved and do things in the same order every night. That way, the baby understands that it's time to sleep.

* Many babies will fuss and try to avoid going to sleep. Despite that, make sure there's a certain finality to your routine. The baby will eventually understand that no matter how great the pre-sleep routine was, it always ends with her going to sleep.

Follow these simple parenting guidelines and you will very likely reduce a lot of the stress that goes with getting baby to sleep.

About The Author
Peter Andrews is a successful author and has written extensively on parenting.

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