It’s important that when your baby is young (3-6 months) you create a bedtime routine for them. This includes putting your baby in it’s own bed, awake. Now I know how tempting it is to cuddle up next to Junior in your nice big bed, but this is part of the reason bad bedtime habits occur. For instance, if you are always rocking your baby to sleep while it is feeding, he or she will always want to be with you and sucking on a pacifier or bottle at bedtime. Once you think they are old enough to sleep by themselves, they don’t want to. It’s out of their comfort zone. If you have a daily routine and consistently put your baby to bed on it’s own they will begin to “self-soothe.” They become accustomed to putting themselves to sleep without need of a rocking chair or pacifier. Make sure your routine consists of at least 2 activities that you do every night, also make sure bed time is the same time each night. Consistency will eventually plant a trigger in your babies head that it is bedtime. If your routine is bath time then a book, by the time you get to the book your baby will naturally become drowsy as they know it’s bed time.
Another great tool that a lot of parents employ is some sort of soothing noise, and no I don’t mean one of those obnoxious mobiles. Some parent use CD’s, I suggest the Lullaby Lamb with Nature Sounds. This cozy little lamb has a variety of soothing noised to choose from, along with a volume adjustment and a timer. Can’t beat that! Remember that a baby that self soothes is more likely to be able to go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. I promise, you will thank yourself later!