By the time babies are 9 months old, they are usually sleeping through the night, possibly for nine to 12 hours at a stretch. But sometimes they don't. If you're the parent of a wakeful 9-month-old, you are likely at wit's end wondering how to get your baby to sleep so you can get some sleep too. Fortunately, many techniques are available to help parents help babies learn to sleep all night. Finding one that works will allow you to give your baby a gift that will last a lifetime: the ability to fall asleep independently.
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Monitor naptime. At 9 months old, your baby should sleep 11 to 12 hours at night with total daytime napping of 2 1/2 to 4 hours, according to the State of Wisconsin Child Care Information Center. If your baby sleeps longer during the day, she will not sleep as long at night. Similarly, allowing her to nap too close to bedtime will make nighttime sleeping that much harder for both of you.
Establish a regular bedtime routine. Routines are comforting, even for babies. A bedtime routine signals the end of the day. The process of bathing and getting a fresh diaper and clean pajamas provides a way for your baby to ease from a busy day of crawling or cruising into sleep mode. Snuggle with your baby, read a board book or listen to lullabies. Keep the lights low, your voice soft and the room cozy. Follow the same routine nightly so it becomes familiar and welcome.
Lay your baby down while he is drowsy but still awake. This important step allows your baby to associate the crib with sleeping. If your baby wakes at night, he will wake up in the same place he fell asleep, as opposed to falling asleep in your arms but not waking there. Keep a small night light on so he can see his room and feel its familiarity as he falls asleep, knowing that it will be the same when he wakes in the night.
Leave the room. Allow your baby to fall asleep on her own. She may not go to sleep right away. She may babble or kick her feet. She may suck her thumb or a pacifier for comfort. By leaving her to fall asleep by herself, you are helping her learn self-comforting methods and independence. Babies who fall asleep on their own are half as likely to wake their parents in the night than babies who fall asleep with a parent still in the room, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
Allow the baby a chance to comfort himself. If your baby does wake in the night and begins to cry, give him time to put himself back to sleep. Wait a few minutes, and if he doesn't settle down, go check on him. If he needs his diaper changed, do this quietly by night light. Lay him back down. Pat him and talk softly to him to reassure him you are there and to reassure yourself that he is fine. Stay a couple minutes and then leave the room, whether or not he is sleeping, to allow him to once again fall asleep independently.