How to Put a Newborn on a Sleep Schedule

By Priya Hariharan

Newborn babies are definitely a bundle of joy but not so much joy when the parents try to get the babies into a sleeping routine. Newborns sleep most of the time the first few months, making it difficult to get them into a routine. Try to start following the steps listed below when the baby is at least 3 months old, and remember that getting frustrated or stressed out will not improve the situation.

Keep your newborn's room darkened and quiet at night and have the daytime naps in a bassinet or cradle near the family or the living room, where your baby can hear the noises of the day. This can help him to begin to distinguish between night and day over time.

Establish a bedtime routine. It could be a night bath, changing the baby to his night pajamas, reading a story, a lullaby or rocking. It will help your baby to relax and make it easier for him to go to sleep.

Change the baby's diaper just before he goes to sleep. This avoids having him wake up because of a wet diaper.

Put your little one to bed while he is still awake. This is very important as he learns to fall asleep alone without relying on you. It is fine to let him suck on the pacifier or the bottle, but try to remove it before he goes to sleep completely. You can give it back if he resists or gets fussy.

Learn to differentiate the baby's sleeping sound from his awake-and-hungry sound. Babies usually grunt, whimper or cry briefly in their sleep, and this does not require that you pick them up and put them back to sleep. If he is awake and hungry, feed him as quickly as possible.The later you feed, the more awake he is and it will make it difficult to put him back to sleep.

Put a heating pad in the baby's crib during the nighttime feeding in the winter. After his feeding, remove the heating pad and put him back in his crib. The transition from a warm mom to a warm bed makes it easier for the baby to get back to sleep.

Try these steps every day with a lot of patience and the situation will improve day by day; soon your little one will get into the habit of taking naps during the day and sleeping peacefully all night.

About the Author

Priya Hariharan is a technical writer and a Web coordinator at a state agency in New York. She has been writing user manuals for three years and holds a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering.