It’s been a long day working, and caring for your baby and now you just want to lay down for a good night’s sleep, but your little one seems to have other plans and sleep doesn’t seem to be a part of it. Not to worry though, there are lots of amazing baby sleep tips to get your little one snoozing away in no time.
- 1 Swaddles
- 2 White Noise
- 3 Use the Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle
- 4 Nap and Bedtime Routines
- 5 Don’t Rush In Too Quickly
- 6 Put Baby Down Sleepy but Awake
- 7 Change the Nappy First
From birth until they’re four or five months old, babies have a startle reflex that makes them feel as though they are falling. This sensation of falling can cause the baby to have jerking movements that can wake them up. Swaddling your baby helps to prevent those jerking motions that can interrupt their sleep.
Some babies don’t like the swaddle, especially as newborns, but you can continue to try the swaddle every once in a while, especially if they are having issues sleeping.
It can be difficult for a baby to fall asleep if there is a lot of noise happening around the house, but you can’t expect everyone to be completely silent either. Using white noise can block your baby from hearing sounds from other parts of the house so that the rest of the family can go about their day and the baby can sleep soundly.
For white noise you can use a fan near the crib, just make sure that it isn’t blowing directly on the baby, and make sure that it isn’t blowing into their ears. You can also purchase a white noise machine that you can put near the crib. These will typically have a variety of sound choices from heartbeat sounds, which can be very comforting for newborns, to rain sounds, or a white noise sound. Pro-tip, if your white noise machine takes batteries make sure that you keep extras in the house.
Use the Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle
Try using the eat, wake, sleep cycle. When your baby first wakes up nurse them or give them a bottle. After feeding, the baby will be awake for a little while to play, and then they will be ready to go back to sleep again. Using this cycle accomplishes several different things, first of all, the baby will wake up with a lot of energy making it more likely that they will take a full feeding.
Having a full tummy will mean that they can go a little longer in between feedings. This cycle also helps to keep the baby from associating food with sleep. If you decide to use this cycle then typically the only time a baby will be fed before sleep will be the bedtime feeding.
Please note that newborns eat frequently and nursing newborns often cluster feed. Always feed your newborn when they are hungry, they need the food and rest for healthy development.
Nap and Bedtime Routines
Babies thrive on routine and predictability, so having an established routine before naps and bedtime, can help them settle down to sleep more easily. A nap time routine may look a little something like this: Take the baby into their room, close the blinds, turn on the white noise machine or fan, lay baby down in the crib, sing a quick lullaby, tell them that you love them and leave the room.
Your bedtime routine may be a little more extensive and look something like this: Give the baby a bath, and a quick gentle massage to relax them. Read a story, offer a feeding, place them in their swaddle, turn the white noise machine on, tell them that you love them and leave the room.
Every baby’s nap and bedtime routine will be a little bit different. Using these routines consistently will help to cue the baby to know that now it is time to go to sleep.
Don’t Rush In Too Quickly
Many parents, especially first-time parents, will rush in as soon as their baby begins to stir or cries out. Many times your baby may cry out or babble for a moment, but still be asleep. Rushing in to check on them may startle them awake, and even if they have woken up they may settle themselves back to sleep without you if given the chance. A good rule of thumb is to wait two to ten minutes before going in to check on them. If their cries begin to escalate, of course, head-on into the room to comfort them.
Put Baby Down Sleepy but Awake
Putting your baby down to sleep while they are drowsy but still awake will teach them how to fall asleep on their own, without relying on a bottle or feeding, or you rocking them until they fall asleep. Go through your nap or bedtime routine with your baby so that they know it is time for sleep, and then lay them down in their crib. If necessary you can keep a firm but gentle hand on their chest as they drift off to sleep.
Change the Nappy First
If your baby wakes up for a middle of the night feeding (which they likely will until they are at least four to six months old), change their diaper before you feed them. Cool air hitting your baby’s skin during the change can cause them to wake up. Put on a fresh diaper and swaddle your baby back up before you begin the feed so that they will drift back off to sleep quickly without getting fully awakened from the change.
There are tons of baby sleep tips out there, and not every tip will work for every family. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you with getting your baby to sleep, so that you can get some much-needed rest too. Do you have a favourite baby sleep tip that wasn’t mentioned here? If so, leave it in the comments below.