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Sleep Tips by Age

Sleep Tips for Newborns

The main activity for newborns (age birth-4 months) is to sleep. They generally sleep around the clock and wake up only to be fed, changed, and nurtured.

Newborns express their need to sleep in different ways – fussing, crying, or rubbing eyes. During sleep, newborns may be active, twitching their arms and legs, smiling, sucking, and seeming restless.

Tips to help newborns sleep:

  1. Watch your baby’s sleep patterns and notice signs of sleepiness.
  2. Put babies to bed when they are sleepy, but not asleep. They are more likely to fall asleep quickly and, later, learn how to get themselves to sleep.
  3. To help babies sleep more during the night than day, expose them to light and gentle noise during the day. Play with them in the daytime. By evening, make the environment quieter, dimmer, and less active.

Make sure your newborn sleeps safely during every sleep:

  1. Always place babies on their backs to sleep.
  2. Keep cribs clear of blankets and other items.
  3. Consider room-sharing so you can respond to your baby’s needs quickly.

Sleep Tips for Infants

Even though infants (ages 4-11 months) sleep a little less than newborns do, sleep is still super important for them.

Infants may experience separation anxiety, which can make sleeping difficult. Other issues, like illness or motor development, can also disrupt sleep. By 6 months, some infants sleep through the night, because nighttime feedings might not be necessary.

Tips to help infants sleep:

  1. Encourage babies to fall asleep Put babies to bed when they are sleepy, but not asleep. This way, they can become self-soothers who can fall back to sleep without help. When babies get used to being put to bed after they fall asleep, they often cry for help so they can return to sleep during the night. Babies often like to be rocked at bedtime. You can rock your baby and then put him to bed before he falls fully asleep.
  2. Create good sleep habits, with a consistent routine of day and night sleep times.
  3. Make a regular and fun bedtime This can be a great time for reading books, singing songs, and other relaxing activities.
  4. Create a regular “sleep friendly” environment – dim the lights and learn more about screen free zones.

Make sure your baby sleeps safely during every sleep:

  1. By 4-6 months, your baby may be rolling over in his sleep. As long as you put him to sleep on his back every night, you don’t need to reposition him onto his back if he has rolled over.
  2. Continue to make sure the crib is clear of blankets and other items that could cause suffocation.

Consider room-sharing (but not co-sleeping) so you can respond to your baby’s needs quickly.

Sleep Tips for Toddlers

Toddlers (ages 1-2 years) develop in exciting ways. These same developments can make bedtime harder! Toddlers have a drive for independence, so they may not want to be told to go to sleep. They are building more motor skills and mental and social abilities, which can make toddlers active, even at night.

At this age, because of their developing imaginations, toddlers may have nightmares. They may be able to imagine that something terrible could happen to you or themselves when they can’t see you – which may give them separation anxiety.

Tips to help toddlers sleep:

  1. Give toddlers a security object like a blanket or stuffed animal.
  2. Have a regular nap routine. For example, after lunch always change her diaper and then lay her down to sleep; she’ll come to expect this routine and have an easier time quieting down.
  3. Make sure naps aren’t too close to bedtime. Toddlers may have trouble falling asleep at night.
  4. Have a regular bedtime routine. Bedtime is a great time for snuggles, books, and songs.
  5. Make the bedroom environment the same every night and throughout the night.
  6. Create a regular “sleep friendly” environment – dim the lights and learn more about screen free zones.

Make sure your toddler sleeps safely during every sleep:

  1. You can let your toddler (but not an infant) sleep with a blanket or safe comfort object.
  2. Continue to put your toddler to sleep in a crib.
  3. Keep the crib clear of large toys or items with ties or strings and other items that could cause suffocation.
  4. Remove things your child could grab while standing in her crib (like toys, curtains, or pictures) and that she might try to climb to get out of her crib.

Sleep Tips for Preschoolers

Preschoolers (3-4 years old) still need a lot of sleep, including a nap. Similar to toddlers, preschoolers may have difficulty falling asleep and may wake up throughout the night. As their imaginations keep growing, they may continue to have nightmares or nighttime fears and even experience sleep walking.

Tips to help preschoolers sleep:

  1. Keep a consistent nap and bedtime pattern. If you have a routine that works, continue to use it as your toddler grows.
  2. Have regular bedtime activities. This can be a great time for reading books, singing songs, and other relaxing activities.
  3. Keep a “sleep friendly” environment – dim the lights, turn off and put away electronics, and keep the bedroom cool.

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Parents and caregivers – we hope you find what you’re looking for here. Whether it’s tips on sleeping, feeding, developmental milestones, or many other topics, we have information for you! Visit again soon, as we update these tips often.

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