Getting your child to sleep alone

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When breastfeeding is well established and your baby is settling into some sort of routine, you may want to encourage him to fall asleep without the rocking, holding or stroking rituals you may have fallen into.

Here are some ideas that may help

  • Consider feeding your baby a little ahead of bedtime. Some babies do not sleep as well on a full stomach.
  • Establish a routine at bedtime, such as a bath and quiet reading time in the hour before bed.
  • Put your baby to bed awake but drowsy. This will help associate bed with the process of falling asleep.
  • Distinguish night from daytime. For example a soft, subdued voice during the night can let the baby know it is night and not time to play.
  • Don’t be anxious if your baby doesn’t adapt to the new routine easily, eventually it will sink in.

Is there a problem?

Common responses of babies experiencing night awakenings or difficulty going to sleep may include the following:

  • Awakening and crying one or more times in the night after previously sleeping through the night.
  • Crying when you leave the room.
  • Refusal to go to sleep without a parent nearby.
  • Clinging to you when you leave the room or house.

Because sleep problems may also occur with illness, consult your baby's doctor if your baby begins having difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep, especially if this is a new pattern.
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