How can I teach my baby to fall asleep?

By five to nine months, baby has developed enough cognitive abilities and trust in you that she can be taught how to fall asleep -- and stay asleep through the night -- in her own crib. Start with having baby play when awake and happy in her crib. Or, try placing her in her crib when she’s already asleep, so she can awaken there and get used to sleeping there. Experiment with the use of music, noise, or light machines; some babies love those. Talk to her about sleep, and what you need from her. She may not understand all your words, but she’ll start to get the message. Try this script, using a quiet, serious, but enthusiastic tone: “Baby, we’re all tired around here. Tonight is a great night for you to sleep for a long time in your crib. I’m going to nurse you, turn off the lights, sing a song, and then put you in your crib. I will be here to pat you on your side until you fall asleep. If you wake up, you are safe; you can look around for a while and then go back to sleep. And then in the morning, mommy and baby will feel so good!” It may take several (hundred?) times to repeat this each night, but you (both) will eventually get in the habit, and it will help. Don’t “push” too firmly until you feel that she has the emotional ability to withstand whatever degree of upset that being left alone to sleep will cause. Some babies will only put up a token protest; others will scream loud and long, but not really “mean it;” others will truly be terrified and need to be supported a bit longer before they can sleep for that long alone. You need to know your own baby, and start to trust your mommy instincts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.