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Babies go through different sleep cycles as they grow up. It starts with sleeping for 13–14 hours during the first few months and lessens as they grow old. As the baby grows, he will have 2-3 shorter sleep cycles during the day. You just need to check that your baby is fresh and active. If your baby feels happy, then the amount of sleep he gets is enough for his body. Sometimes, you could wrap your baby to put him to sleep during the initial months, but later it might not be feasible.
Techniques to Settle a Baby to Sleep
Here is a list of few techniques that you can use at different age groups to settle the baby to sleep –
1. Soothing in arms
A newborn baby feels most comfortable in the mother’s arms. You can use gentle stroking, rocking or even soft singing to put the baby to sleep. The repetition of sounds and hand movement induces sleep. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you can use the same method to put him back to sleep.
2. Hands – on settling
- Wrap your baby well and make sure it is not too tight
- Sing softly or cuddle to calm your baby
- Put your baby on his back in the cot
- Comfort with sounds or rocking or cuddling till he sleeps
- Stay around till he is asleep
3. Rhythmic & gentle patting (For the six months old baby)
- Face the baby away from your face
- Place your hand on the baby’s shoulder
- Pat the baby gently on the bottom or the thigh
- Make sure that you pat in a rhythm
- Sing a lullaby to calm your baby down
4. Double patting
For some babies, double patting works more than single patting. You can pat on the baby’s shoulder and bottom alternatively. Make sure your pats are gentle, and the baby is calmed down. As your baby starts to relax, you may slow down the movement. Keep your hands on the baby for a while after the baby sleeps.
You can start helping your baby to start self-settling as soon as he turns 4 months. This will not only free you from the responsibility, but also help your child develop a good sleeping habit from the beginning. You may use feed, play, lullaby or cuddling to help your baby to self-settle. All these settling techniques will help you to put your baby to sleep happily; with trial and error you will know what works best for baby. Sometimes, you might also have to be strict and let your baby self-settle. You are the best judge of such situations, so choose wisely because this will create a very important life-long habit in your child.