Every bleary-eyed parent of a young baby anxiously awaits that day when his bundle of joy finally sleeps through the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, however, that time doesn't come until 9 months of age for 70 to 80 percent of babies. For sleep-deprived parents, this might seem like a long time to wait, but you can increase the times between your baby's wake-ups now by creating a soothing, womb-like environment at bedtime, says Harvey Karp, author of best-seller "Happiest Baby on the Block." The more comforting a baby finds her bed, the less likely she will be to cry out for the comfort of mommy and daddy in the middle of the night.
Create a relaxing environment for your baby at night by putting up blackout blinds or curtains in his room. Up until he was born, your baby saw only darkness. Now your baby is confronted with lots of light and visual stimulation, and, as he slept comfortably in the dark for nine months, he likely associates darkness and calmness with sleep. Darkening his room may help him sleep past the crack of dawn. Keep visually stimulating toys out of the crib.
Replicate the familiar sounds of the womb by playing white noise from a sound machine or radio, suggests Karp. Continue to play the white noise as the baby gets older to block out disrupting noises from the rest of the house.
Recreate the calming sensations of the womb with a sleep sack or swaddling blanket -- Karp says some babies enjoy swaddling up until nine months -- and a pacifier, as many babies suck on their fingers in the womb. Around 6 to 7 months, babies can pop their soothers in their own mouths, so put lots in her crib for her to find in the dark.
Sleep with a small square of blanket so that it carries your scent and give it to your baby to sleep with. Close her fingers around it to teach her how to clutch it tightly. Then, when she wakes up in the night, smelling your scent and believing you to be nearby may comfort her.
Lull baby into a deep sleep with a baby swing. Leaving some babies in a swing all night helps them sleep right through until dawn. Combining darkness, white noise, swaddling and swinging makes a sleepy environment heavy eyelids can't resist.