People with babies all share the universal fear of lack of sleep. Before our son was born we were warned by good meaning parents that we should "get our sleep now because you won't once he's here!" I understand that sentiment to a point. However my hubby and I decided to take the positive approach and decide that we would not "whine" over lack of sleep but rather work toward a solution. Our sweet boy slept his first 8 hour night at a very young 5 weeks!! Now at 9 months he is sleeping 12 hours each night and takes two naps one to two hours a piece. We have had some back and forth issues with getting him to this point and some of the things we have learned I'm going to share with you. Just so you know our boy now looks forward to bedtime and nap times. It's great!
The first thing you simply MUST do to insure calm sleep situations is routine! I know, that word is dreaded in some households. Truth be told, our son HAS to be somewhat flexible with the kind of schedules we have. However I do my best to keep him on a pretty stable schedule. Your whole day does not need to be plotted out. The most important things are to go to bed/nap at the SAME time each day. It's also helpful if your feedings are fairly regular as well. Having been a teacher, both school AND preschool as well as a nanny before I had my own baby, I understand the importance of routine for little people. It gives them security of knowing what is going to happen "next." That security will help them be able to relax because they understand what is going on. Don't be fooled thinking your wee baby won't get it just because they can't tell time, you'll see a HUGE difference in them in a very short time. A good rule of thumb for babies from zero to about 6 months is nap after each two hours of awake time.
Next time I'll talk about the actual "Bedtime routine." Till then think about what goes on in each of your days and what kind of routine would work best for your little family.