Having trouble getting the baby to sleep? One of the most important things you can do is to establish a bedtime routine -- and stick with it.
Babies love -- and crave -- routines, and continually changing what you're doing will just confuse your baby and make it harder for him to figure out when to go to sleep.
A routine doesn't have to be complicated. It can be something as simple as a snuggle, a story, a minute or two of baby massage, a quick nightcap and peaceful music. The number and order of the activities aren't important. Just make sure you're consistent.
Play a lot when the baby's awake. Getting plenty of exercise during the day will help your baby sleep.
Don't mess with the schedule. For example, babies need naps. When they don't get enough rest during the day, the extra dopamine and adrenaline running around their systems will make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Make a distinction between day and night. During the day, pick up your baby, sing, clap and play games. In nighttime mode, do much less talking, much less physical activity and generally tone things down.
Don't go overboard. Turning the lights down and making the house quieter is fine, but you need a baby who can fall asleep with the lights on and background noise.
Be patient. Babies can be noisy at night. Before you dash in to respond to every whimper or cry, take a deep breath and wait a minute. Chances are your baby will fall back to sleep.
Take turns. Mom can take the first few midnight wake-ups while Dad gets sleep. Then he can take over in the early morning and let her sleep.
Get the toys out. Some babies wake up at night, see all their toys and want to play. Put the toys away.