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If you have a newborn baby or are expecting one, it is important that you use the correct methods to ensure that after a minimal amount of time your baby is getting a good night's sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential for the physical and mental well-being of a baby, and also makes life easier for parents. By using the correct procedure you will help prevent sleep problems for the baby later in life.

The crucial factor in preventing sleep problems in babies is to encourage the baby to learn for itself how to fall asleep correctly. This does not mean that you should put the baby to bed and just forget about him or her though. Rather, by helping the baby to learn through association, he or she will form good sleeping habits.

First, the baby must become aware of the fact that the crib is associated with a long sleep through the night. So you must place the newborn in it awake, and allow him/her to fall asleep once in there. This helps the baby to link the crib with a long night’s sleep. If you place the infant in bed asleep, he or she will awake and immediately expect the parent(s) to be there. Also the baby will be confused as the surroundings will be different from the last instance of consciousness.

You must also make the baby aware of the day night cycle, as this has to be learned. So, only allow short naps during the day, and ensure that the baby falls asleep in the daylight. If you put the baby in a darkened room during the day, he or she may become confused and think it is nighttime.

By establishing a regular routine you can aid the baby’s education about the right time for a good night’s sleep. This means putting the baby to bed at a regular time, and having regular feeding times, especially the last one before bedtime.

Placing a security blanket in the crib can make the infant feel more at ease through the night and is another form of association.

If the baby does awaken during the night, it is best to leave the light off, give the baby a brief cuddle, and then leave the room. If you feed the baby, or rock back to sleep, he or she is likely to associate this with getting back to sleep, and continue crying on subsequent nights until given this attention. This can lead to sleep problems as a child and young adult. As long as you don’t fuss over them too much in the night period, they will realise that they aren’t going to get that sort of attention at this time, and after a brief time will have learnt to use the time for a good night’s sleep.