The best ways to get your baby to sleep

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Doctors say children should be sleeping about 12 hours a night by the time they're 4 years old. (WLS)

Doctors say children should be sleeping about 12 hours a night by the time they're 4 years old, but that's just a dream to many. A pediatric sleep consultant has some tips you may not have heard.

"At one point he got so upset that he threw up," said Suzie Gaiser, who linked sleep training to taming a wild stallion. But pediatric sleep consultant Katie Kovaleski is a baby whisperer.

"So the golden rule is drowsy but awake," Kovaleski said.

She says don't wait until your child falls asleep then tip-toe out of the room. You want them to learn to fall asleep on their own. To do that, focus on these elements. First, a consistent bedtime routine.

"So the same activities in the same order, each day and each night are really helpful in getting your child to sleep. In cueing them and cueing their bodies that it's time to relax and go to bed," Kovaleski said.

Also, make their environment comfortable. The bedroom should be a dark room with white noise at 73 degrees or cooler. And consider stopping nighttime feedings when they are four months or older.

"Could your feeding be hindering your child from falling asleep? This is especially important for children with reflux, allergies, that kind of thing," she said.

Above all, find the right sleep training method for you. Gaiser chose the "check and console" method, which encourages parents not to check every time the child cries.

"So the first night I had the monitor and I had a glass of wine and I had the monitor with the volume turned down and I just sat there and watched him cry," she said.

It wasn't easy, but by day four her son, Greyson, was sleeping like, well, a baby. But Kovaleski says whether your method is more attachment parenting, or co-sleeping, "You have to be consistent every single day to make it come together."

In this case, happy baby makes happy parents. If your child is under a year old, there should be nothing in the crib other than a mattress, a fitted sheet and your baby. Blankets and stuffed animals could suffocate them.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at
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