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Growing and Changing

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Sleepytime ~ 6 to 12 months
Some babies sleep through the night now and some do not. Do the best you can to help your baby get the sleep she needs by establishing a routine. Good sleep habits are worth reaching for.
Your baby needs your help learning what bedtime is and how to go to sleep. Good sleep habits are worth reaching for. Babies love you dearly and often prefer your company to saying good night and going into their cribs. But all of you need a good night's sleep to have the energy to begin another busy day together.

If you haven't already started a nighttime routine, now is a good time to begin. Help your baby make the transition from the busy, active part of her day to a quiet, restful bedtime. Pay attention to your child's level of activity and fatigue and try to time bedtime for when she is really tired. Dinner, bath, pajamas, quiet play, dim lights, a bedtime story, saying good night to the world--all communicate that sleep is next.

Help your baby learn to go to sleep by putting her down just when she is ready to doze off. She may pop awake on being put down, but keep trying. Rub her back gently to let her know you are there. You may help her if you stay quietly in the room rather than leaving her immediately. This process often takes awhile and doesn't happen all at once.

When your baby wakes at night, make sure she is OK. Then help her back to sleep by doing as little as possible--rub her back or sit quietly. Keep the room dark and quiet, settle her down and gently communicate that nighttime is for everyone to sleep.
Try to keep your child's crib as her place for sleeping. Use other parts of your home for play areas.

Some nights your baby will have a hard time going to sleep. She may be teething, ill, or off schedule from a vacation or a special outing. Give her the love and comfort she needs at these times and help her go to sleep the best you can. You can always return to your routine when things settle down.

Your baby needs really restful daytime sleep as well as nightime sleep. A good nap in her crib can refresh her for the rest of her day.

Sleeping schedules often shift as your baby grows. Try keeping a sleep log, recording when and how long she actually sleeps. Include all the "mini" naps when you are out in the stroller or in the car. Do this for a few days and look for patterns. Could short naps be consolidated into a longer one if you stayed home after lunch? Is she napping late in the day and therefore not tired until late at night? Check with your pediatrician for suggestions.

Develop a routine that helps both you and your baby thrive!

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