Several Steps to a Sweet Slumber
Dr. William Sears, father of eight and a practicing pediatrician for over 30 years, has developed a comprehensive checklist for parents so they can get their baby on a solid sleep schedule that will enable them to sleep for longer periods of time, thereby allowing mom and dad more restful nights as well.
Initially, he advises parents to develop a realistic attitude about nighttime parenting, and to develop a long-term plan that will teach your baby a restful attitude about sleep. He reminds parents that no single approach will work with all babies, and that it's very important to keep an open mind and remain flexible during this process. If your baby's sleep plan just isn't working, then drop it.
Also be flexible in the method which you use in order to lull your baby to sleep. Don't rely on just rocking or just nursing in order to entice your infant to sleep, but get them used to several different routines that can be associated with sleep time. In addition, consistent bedtimes and rituals are key to a successful transition to sleep, and help your little one stay asleep longer. Any changes in their sleep time routine can be a stressful and confusing thing, thereby causing everyone to lose sleep as a result.
It's also imperative to teach your baby that daytime is for playing and eating, and that nighttime is for sleeping. Sometimes older babies and toddlers are so busy playing during the day that they forget to eat enough, which can result in hunger pangs at night, so be sure to feed your baby sufficiently through the course of the day.
And don't forget to create an environment that's conducive to sleeping, eliminating as much noise and light from the room as possible. Some soft soothing music can help drown out outside noises and help baby sleep more soundly.