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How to Put Baby to Bed

mother putting baby in crib

Alloy Photography/Veer

Stick with a routine. Babies thrive on stability, so be sure to create a bedtime schedule and keep to it as much as possible. The most important step is putting your baby to sleep at or around the same time every night. Of course, there will be times when this won't be possible, but try to make those instances infrequent. You don't want to put Baby down when he's overtired -- it will make for a restless night's sleep for the both of you.

Create a soothing environment. Baby's bedroom should be a place that promotes sleep. Put toys and any other distractions away, dim the lights, and keep noise to a minimum. Make sure the baby has a firm mattress to sleep on, with just a fitted sheet (crib bumpers are now considered a safety risk). If there is any light peeking in the room, consider getting blackout shades to keep the room dark.

Try the three Bs. Bath, books, and bed: This bedtime ritual seems to work for most babies. Enjoying a bath right before bedtime is soothing (you can also work in a little baby massage right before you put his pj's on), and reading to your child is a wonderful bonding experience.

Dress baby right. You don't want to over-dress or under-dress the baby -- he simply won't be able to sleep very well if he's too hot or cold during the night. In addition, overheating baby is a SIDS risk. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and dress Baby in light clothing. If you're worried he'll get cold, swaddle him in a blanket or put him in a sleep sack (don't put a blanket in the crib with baby because it can cause suffocation).

Put Baby down drowsy, but awake. If you rock your baby to sleep every night, you'll have to do it every time he wakes up throughout the night. The same goes for breastfeeding or bottle feeding: If your little one usually dozes off in the middle of a feeding, try to stop it right before she falls asleep.

Back to sleep. We can't stress enough how important it is to always put Baby on his back to sleep, as babies who sleep on their stomach have a higher risk of SIDS. But if baby rolls over onto her stomach in the middle of the night, that's fine.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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