At 9 months, your baby has a personality of her own. She may be crawling, sitting, pulling up and exploring at every turn. She's babbling in a language all her own and grinning from ear to ear to show off those new pearly whites. If you're having trouble getting your 9-month-old to fall asleep at bedtime, try a new routine. The sleep habits she establishes now follow her into childhood. AskDrSears.com recommends that you stay flexible and remember you may need to employ different methods as your baby goes through different stages. Follow your instincts, and you'll inevitably find a system that works.
Establish a Calming Routine
Creating a calming bedtime routine helps support the transition between play time and sleep time. Dim the lights, turn off the television and go to a quiet space with your baby. Your routine can include a bath, massage, rocking your baby, walking around, reading with him or singing to him. AskDrSears.com recommends employing a variety of strategies to lull your baby and so that he associates calming down with more than just one person or event.
Put Your Baby Down While Drowsy
Place your baby in her crib when she is peaceful and drowsy but not totally asleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, putting your baby down before she actually falls asleep teaches her how to do it herself, making it more likely for her to soothe herself when she wakes during the night. According to the ZeroToThree.org, most babies wake up two to four times per night. Waking is not unusual; most adults do it, too. The problem for babies is that they haven't learned how to go back to sleep by themselves. Give your baby the opportunity to experience drifting off as a comforting event, not something to fuss over.
Endure a Little Fussing
If your 9-month-old is in the habit of crying the moment you set him down, try letting him cry for a bit without intervention. You might be surprised that he eventually calms himself down without your help. ZeroToThree.org claims that allowing your baby to cry it out for a while does not have long-term or damaging effects. Set a limit for yourself, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, to go back and comfort him with a quick rub on the back or soothing words if he continues to cry. Most babies respond to this technique after two or three nights of crying. Although it's difficult, get your spouse to agree to stick it out for a week or so.
If one particular method works for a month but suddenly doesn't seem to be effective anymore, be flexible with your bedtime strategy. What works for your friends' babies might not work for yours. According to AskDrSears.com, it's more important for parents to get their baby to sleep with a method that works for them than to stick to any specific sleep program. Maybe your baby sleeps better in the same room with you, or perhaps she falls asleep flawlessly when you give her Daddy's T-shirt to snuggle with. Don't worry if your method is a bit unconventional. The important thing is that your baby is sleeping soundly and waking happily.
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