A lot of parents are worried about how their baby is going to sleep. The truth is that it’s a process that takes time and patience, but in the end your child will have good sleeping habits. There are some things that you can do to help your baby sleep better and develop strong sleeping patterns that will benefit both the child and yourself.
First off it’s important to remember that babies are not like adults. They are not able to sleep for very long periods of time like we can. This is why you need to set a schedule for them so they will get used to sleeping at certain times during the day. Don’t let them stay up too late because this won’t help them at all.
Secondly, you also want to make sure that you’re not going overboard with trying to get your baby to sleep more than they need to be. Some parents will try anything in order to get their children asleep when really this isn’t necessary and can create problems later on down the road with bedtime routines or just overall lack of sleep for everyone involved.
Thirdly, it’s important not to overstimulate the baby by playing with them or tickling their feet while they’re lying down because this might cause them to wake up sooner than they otherwise would have
1. Use a swaddle on steroids.
We’ve never been fans of swaddles. Unfortunately, I was unaware of extreme swaddling choices such as the Zen Swaddle, which features gently weighted pads on the chest and sides to replicate pressure from a parent’s touch. Arianna, a Facebook group mom, says, “It has my 1-month-old sleeping through the night.”
Other mothers adore Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, which one characterized as “a godsend.” It’s a comfy sleep bag with arms and legs that’s designed for babies three months and up who are transitioning out of swaddles. (Please note that both of these items are only intended for use in cribs, not rockers.)
2. Don’t get rid of that diaper.
“I followed our pediatrician’s instructions and didn’t change my daughter every time she woke up,” Judy explains, “since otherwise she would be fully awake and attentive.” “I used the most absorbent diapers we could find, changed her only when she pooped, and warmed wipes between my palms first to avoid jarring.”
3. Turn on the white noise machine.
“It’s a must-have and a fantastic sleep aid,” Betsy comments. White noise can help lull a baby to sleep while also blocking out noise from the rest of the house. The Dohm and the LectroFan are praised by parents.
Then there’s this tip from Kelly: “My husband was the maestro of the hair dryer for violently wailing newborns.” “The deafening white noise jolted them awake, then lulled them back to sleep.”
4. Try a snoozy tune.
“Weightless,” a zen instrumental, is a favorite of one mother. “When my son starts thrashing and this continues, [this song] puts him to sleep again in 60 seconds,” she explains.
Alexa, everyone’s favorite auto voice service, provided relief to another mother. “The Amazon Echo was one of the best purchases we made,” Genevieve adds, “since we could command it to play a lullaby or classical music when our teeny one was most disturbed.” “Music was a straightforward solution, but having something that could play almost anything and adjust in real time was critical.”
5. Keep your baby’s room as dark as possible.
To avoid overstimulation, keep the illumination low when feeding or changing your infant in the middle of the night. Consider the Wink, a smart LED lamp that you can control with your phone before you even go into the room. Some mothers go all out with blackout drapes. “In the spring and summer, when it’s lighter later,” Betsy adds, “I also put a layer of brown paper on the windows.”
6. Three words: Rock ‘n Play
The Rock ‘n Play sleeper is universally regarded as a must-have by parents. It provides calming vibrations by gently rocking your baby on an inclination so that he or she may rest easily (this is especially beneficial for babies with GERD). It’s also portable, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.
7. Jump about a bit.
Consider gently bouncing a fussy infant on an exercise ball to take him to dreamland if you’re acquainted with using one. “We went to the ball when our little one got agitated or woke up for no reason,” Dasi explains. “We brought the thing with us everywhere – upstairs, downstairs, on road vacations!” (Keep in mind that safety procedures, such as correct inflation, must be followed.)
8. Create a paci heaven.
If a baby’s binky falls out of his mouth in the middle of the night, he may wake himself up looking for it. Don’t take a chance! Scatter a few around the crib to make it easy for him to get his hands on one.
9. Give up some nap time.
“During the day, one thing I’m aware of is that we don’t try to be extra quiet or careful not to wake up our baby,” Arianna explains. “I keep her bouncer near a window with the light on in the room she’s napping in.” She was able to tell the difference between day and night early on and slept well!”
10. Think of a magical doll.
“We have a Lulla doll,” Laina recalls. “It’s $69 for a cotton baby doll with a battery pack that plays a recording of an adult heartbeat and breath noises, and it’s well worth it.” The doll features straps for connecting to cribs and car seats, as it is not advisable to have unsecured items where a baby is sleeping.
11. Get them warmed up.
After a feeding, putting a baby on cool crib sheets isn’t conducive to sleep. “When I removed my kids for breastfeeding, I put a good old hot-water bottle in the bed,” one mother says, “so their sleeping spot was lovely and toasty warm for them.” (Before putting your infant down, ensure sure the bedding are at a comfortable and safe temperature.)
The Cloud B Twilight Turtle projects different colored stars onto ceilings. “It’s distracting, but in a good way,” Gaby explains. In the meantime, Sara, a fellow mom, produced her own version: “We filled a mason jar with red LED twinkly lights.”
12. Remove airborne irritants
Environmental allergens might clog breathing airways and wake up a sleeping infant. Cigarette smoke, baby powder, paint fumes, hair spray, animal dander (keep animals out of an allergic child’s bedroom), plants, clothing (particularly wool), stuffed animals, bed canopy dust, feather pillows, blankets, and fuzzy toys that accumulate lint and dust are all common household examples. If your infant wakes up with a stuffy nose on a regular basis, look for irritants or allergies in the room.
13. A full tummy (but not too full)
While shoving a glob of cereal into a baby’s mouth before bedtime rarely works, it’s worth a shot. A spoonful or two given to a baby over the age of six months may provide you with an extra hour or two of sleep. Tiny newborns have tummies that are only slightly larger than a fist. As a result, your baby’s digestive system was built for short, frequent feedings, which is why, in the first few months, babies feed every 3 to 4 hours at night and more frequently throughout the day.
14. Decide where baby sleeps best
For babies, there is no right or wrong location to sleep. The greatest sleeping arrangement for you and your baby is wherever all family members sleep the best. Some babies like to sleep in their own crib in their own room, others prefer to sleep in their own bassinet or crib in the parents’ bedroom, while still others prefer to sleep curled close to mommy in the parents’ bed. A co-sleeper arrangement is preferred by many parents. During the first two years of an infant’s life, most parents use a variety of sleeping arrangements. As your baby’s developmental demands and your family environment change, be open to shifting styles.
15. Dim the lights and turn on a soothing nightlight.
3 Things not to do
There are numerous ways to get your baby to settle down for slumber. But here are three things you shouldn’t try:
- Keeping baby awake all day to sleep longer at night. This typically does not work, says Dr. Ahmann. Being overtired can make your baby — and everyone within earshot — miserable. And baby’s stress from being overtired can make it harder to relax and rest later.
- Putting cereal in the bedtime bottle. People used to think that cereal could keep a baby’s belly fuller, preventing them from waking up for a nighttime feeding. That’s not true, says Dr. Ahmann. “We’ve learned that eating cereal before bed doesn’t make babies sleep longer and actually can cause more restlessness due to gas pain,” she says. Babies should only have breast milk or formula in their bottle. Feed your baby cereal only when he or she can eat it off a spoon, usually beginning at 6 to 9 months.
- Holding your baby as you fall asleep. Remember that safe sleep is a must. “Too frequently, exhausted parents fall asleep holding their baby and wake up hours later to find the baby in a dangerous position,” says Dr. Ahmann. “If you’re tired, put your baby back in the crib. A baby will not die from crying in their crib.”
- Source Sleep Problems in Children (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 04/2013)
- How much and how often to breastfeed. (2018).
- Iwata S, et al. (2017). Dependence of nighttime sleep duration in one-month-old infants on alterations in natural and artificial photoperiod. DOI:
- Rickter D, et al. (2019). Long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth on sleep satisfaction and duration of first-time and experienced mothers and fathers. DOI:
- Skin-to-skin contact. (n.d.).
- Sleep. (n.d.).