How Can I Get My 3-Month-Old Baby to Sleep the Whole Night?

By David Stewart
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Good sleep may seem a world away for the parents of a 3-month-old. But you can teach your baby to sleep better and longer while you get your sleep, too. Three-month-old babies can sleep for at least a six-hour stretch, according to MayoClinic.com. It can be difficult for your baby to adjust to new sleep patterns initially, but regular practice can turn him into a good sleeper.

Keep your baby active during the morning hours. Allow sunlight into your baby's room and keep him close to household sounds in the morning. Sing, dance, eat and play when he is awake. This conditions his mind to associate mornings with eating and activity -- not sleeping. Activity during the day promotes better sleep during the night.

Encourage daytime naps. Choose a time when you are most tired in the mornings for your baby's daytime naps. Lie down with her. Do this for about a week to get her used to the nap routine. Regular daytime naps promote long hours of sleep at night. Morning naps also give you time to rest or do any important activity that you have been putting off to accommodate your baby. Avoid letting her nap time exceed three hours, though, as this can keep her wide awake at night.

Establish a bedtime routine. Follow a consistent bedtime and put the baby to sleep while he is drowsy but still awake. Set some soothing bedtime rituals, such as a warm bath followed by cuddling or rocking and reading or singing aloud. If you want to use soft music in the background, play the same music every day. Regular bedtime practice programs the baby to associate such activities with sleeping and he drifts off to sleep more easily each time.

Block noise and light in the bedroom to induce sleep. Dim lights and use opaque window shades to block early-morning rays. Mute phones from ringing, send your dog to another room and apply oil to crib joints if they're noisy.

Expect fussing and crying before the baby goes to sleep. Babies need to settle into a comfortable position before they drift off. Let them wriggle and squirm for a few minutes, as these may be signs of settling down. And if he wakes you up during the night, feed him if you suspect he is hungry and get him back to sleep. Keep lights dim and urge him to sleep, using a calm voice and gentle movements. This will make him realize that nighttime is for sleeping and not playing.