How to Establish a good sleeping habits for babies six to nine months
What will my baby’s sleep pattern be at six months?
By the age of six months, your baby needs about 14 hours of sleep a day, and may sleep for as long as seven hours at a time. If your baby sleeps for longer, she’s probably waking briefly, but has already worked out how to settle herself back to sleep.
Her morning and afternoon naps may last about an hour and a half each. Keeping consistent times for bed and naps will help to regulate her sleep patterns.
How should I establish good sleep habits?
Here are some of the best things you can do to help your baby to settle and sleep at night:
Establish and follow a bedtime routine
You’ve probably already set up some sort of bedtime routine with your baby. This may include:
- playing a quiet game
- giving her a gentle massage
- giving her a warm bath
- changing your baby into her night clothes
- reading her a bedtime story
- singing her a lullaby
- kissing her goodnight
Whatever you do, make sure you do it in the same order, and at the same time, every night. Consistency and predictability make your baby feel secure, and the routine gently tells her that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
In many Indian homes, babies stay up well past their bedtime. This may be a regular household routine or may be because it’s the only time working parents get with their child. Your baby may not appear tired late at night, and may seem energetic and lively, but that’s often a sign that it’s past her bedtime. Sleepy babies tend to get exhausted, cranky and are difficult to calm down when you want to put them to bed, so an earlier bedtime would help.
If you can, try to establish half an hour or so of quiet time before you start your routine. Turn off the television and wind down activities. This will help your baby to understand that bedtime is on the way.
If you live in a joint family, you may have to work harder to maintain a routine with your baby. Family members may want to play with your baby or want her to sleep in their bed. It’s possible you may find it difficult to say no. Try explaining to them how setting a routine will make your baby happier and easier to handle. You could ask them to help you in some part of your baby’s routine.
Keep your baby’s daily routine consistent
You and your baby will benefit from having a daily routine that includes set times for bed and naps. That doesn’t mean your baby has to eat lunch at 12.15pm on the dot every day, but you should try to stick to a regular schedule. When your baby naps, eats, plays and gets ready for bed at around the same time every day, she’ll be familiar with her routine and more likely to fall asleep easily.
If you are a working parent, you may need to depend on family members or caregivers to manage your baby’s naptimes or feeding schedule while you are away. Ensure that the person taking care of your baby is trustworthy and following your instructions.
Give your baby the chance to fall asleep on her own
If you want your baby to sleep through the night, it will help her to know how to settle herself to sleep. This is a natural part of her learning and development. It’s helped by having a regular bedtime routine and being familiar with the difference between day and night.
Put your baby down before she nods off, and try not to let her become dependent on rocking or feeding to fall asleep. If she cries, the next move is up to you. It’s fine to wait at least a few minutes, as she may quickly settle down. In fact, your baby may be more able to settle herself to sleep than you realise. Studies have shown that, given the chance, babies are able to settle themselves from the age of three months.
You may find that some family members may not appreciate your efforts to allow your baby to sleep on her own. Speak to them about why it is important to establish a good sleep routine at the earliest.
What sleep problems happen at this age?
At around seven months, your baby starts to understand that you and she are separate people. This may mean she starts to experience periods of separation anxiety during the day and night when you’re not together. If she sleeps in a cot next to your bed and wakes in the night, she may miss you and call out for you more often. Try not to worry. As your baby gets older, she’ll begin to understand that you’re close-by, and she’ll be more able to settle herself to sleep.
Teething can also disturb your baby’s sleep patterns, but your baby should soon settle back to her normal routine.
Your baby is busy reaching milestones in her physical and mental development. She may be learning to sit up, roll over, crawl, and even pull herself up to a standing position. This means she may wake in the night to try out the exciting new skills she has learned, such as pulling herself up to a standing position or throwing toys out of her cot, and find it hard to settle back down to sleep