Stick to a bedtime. "Don't wait until your baby is rubbing his eyes or yawning to put him to bed," says Marc Weissbluth, MD, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. "By then he's overtired." If you notice your child winding down at 8 p.m., make that his bedtime.
Get into the routine. Thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime, start a calming ritual that may include giving a bath and reading a story or two.
Put your baby in her crib awake. If your child is routinely rocked to sleep at bedtime, what happens when she wakes up alone at 3 a.m.? Answer: She cries. "All infants and toddlers wake two to six times a night," says Parents advisor Jodi Mindell, PhD, coauthor of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep. "They need to know how to put themselves back to sleep."
Swaddle for the first three months. Research shows that
infants who are swaddled wake up less and sleep longer than
Tune out. If your baby seems sensitive to household sounds, try running a white-noise machine or a fan in her room.
Let the sun in. Expose your baby to about 30 minutes of light each morning. Why? Light suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin; this helps set her internal clock -- making it easier for her to fall asleep at night.