These Top 10 Baby Sleeping Tips go right along with the other posts I’ve written about newborns and caring for little ones.
Having a baby who sleeps well is basically the “make or break it” with a new baby.
If baby is not sleeping well…. (as I’m SURE you know) NO ONE is sleeping well! Sleep deprivation as a new mom is probably the worst part!
Sleep deprivation changes your whole chemical and mental outlook! Which affects EVERYTHING! Not to mention that on TOP of the most massive hormonal switch ever that’s also happening.
Knowing how to help is so essential for a smooth postpartum period. As well as essential for establishing good sleep habits for life!
And these baby sleeping tips will help you do so!
TOP 10 BABY SLEEPING TIPS
If you haven’t read my post on Establishing a Routine with Your Baby, read that first as that is the precursor to this post.
Having a routine for your baby is my first baby sleeping tip because it is basically the cornerstone to having a settled, soothed baby.
I know the routine thing is controversial.
So no, I don’t mean a schedule with times, I mean an order of events that happens in a specific order with times more as guidelines.
Having a routine:
- Keeps your baby eating at the correct time (and not all through the night!)
- Helps your baby sleep the right amount as well as establish day and night (if your baby sleeps all day… OF COURSE she’ll be up all night! She’ll be super hungry for one thing and also have her days and nights reversed!)
- Keeps you from guessing what the baby needs since you’ll already know what’s next for them. (Meaning, you’ll usually know why they’re fussing!)
Having a routine doesn’t mean you have to be super strict and force them to go HOURS without feeding or dance around keeping them awake until their EXACT “correct” bedtime.
But it does mean you’ll have to wake the baby (mostly during the day) if it’s time to eat!
(Otherwise, their nights/days will start to get reversed for one thing!)
Having a routine also means that you’ll basically have to plan your life around it. Which at first sounds HARD! But really, in the long run helps you a TON and works in your favor!
If you are following the baby and never know when she is going to want to sleep or eat… how will you ever know when you can do… well… anything…
How could you book an appointment? How could you know when to go to the store? Or see a friend? Or do laundry? Or cook dinner? Or …. Anything??
When your baby is on a routine, with roundabout times (with a 15-30 minute buffer) you’ll know when you’ll be nursing and when the baby will be sleeping which gives you the freedom to fit your life in between!
Having a routine is crucial for a secure, trusting, happy baby! And that is why it’s first on my list of Top 10 Baby Sleeping Tips!
(If you’re looking for a typical newborn routine, read my 0-4 Weeks Newborn Routine!)
A bedtime routine is different than a newborn routine.
By bedtime routine, I mean what you do at baby’s bedtime to help “set the stage” for sleep.
Setting the stage is VERY important for a settled baby.
Think of your own sleep routine.
If it was time for bed, would you just lay down and fall right to sleep? Most likely not. We all have things we do before bed that helps us settle in.
This is the same for babies. They need a sleep routine to help them settle and also to help train them with sleep cues.
TYPICAL BEDTIME ROUTINE
Bedtimes will evolve as your baby gets older. For example, when your baby is very new, a bedtime routine may be something along these lines:
- Check diaper (and change if necessary).
- Swaddling (see items below)
- Turning on the Noise machine
- Singing a song and/or reading a very short book
- Turning the light off
- Calmly rocking or sitting very still (depends on your baby- if he get overstimulated easily then no rocking)
- Once he’s drifted off, lay him in bed
For an older baby around 6-9 months, a bedtime routine may look like something like this:
- Check diaper (and change if necessary).
- Noise machine on.
- Read a book or two.
- Light off.
- Rock/Sing a few songs.
- Rock or sit still in the dark
- Once he’s drifted off, lay him in bed
It’s good to try to lay the baby down while he just started to drift so he settles into deep sleep in his bed.
It can be difficult to transfer the baby, but you’ll learn over time the best time to lay him down.
SLEEP PATTERNS WITH MY BOYS
My oldest drifted off to sleep nicely and was usually pretty easy to put in bed. When he was about 6 months old, he stopped letting me rock him to sleep and just wanted to fall asleep on his own.
With my second, he had some more difficult sleep issues. Parker James would usually wake up at nap time after his first 45 minute REM cycle.
This started around 3-4 months old and became more and more difficult around 5-6 months.
There were many naps that I would go in his room and try my best to get him back to sleep but feel like I couldn’t lay him in his bed.
For several months, I only had about 45 minutes of free time during his naps. However, once he was around 7 months old, we started quarantine because of COVID-19.
In ways it actually made things easier to just be home and not worry about getting anywhere or making the house super tidy for guests.
Eventually, I just let him play in his bed a bit longer and if he wanted to sleep, he would!
He knew how to put himself to sleep at night, so I knew he would eventually figure it out during the day as well!
And he did! Ever since then, I can put him in his bed anywhere, and he will fall asleep on his own.
Now I will say, I don’t let babies ear
-cry out- not until like 6-7 mo old
– slowly be training them to self soothe
-pick up put down (in the book – link)
Having a bedtime routine is SO helpful and definitely a top baby sleep tip!
When my boys were new, they used “binkies” round the clock! It helped them so much!
Pacifiers also have several benefits.
For one thing, I know many mamas are worried about nipple confusion or dependency.
Don’t worry about either! The binkies actually help your baby build their “sucking” muscles and get better at nursing/taking a bottle! (Benefit #2 next to a soothed baby.)
And to address the dependency issue, like so so many other things, your baby will eventually grow out needing a pacifier.
With my oldest we had to help him a little, but my second has no interest unless he’s sleeping. And even then, he is not very interested.
If you make it a “non issue” it won’t be an issue!
And lastly, benefit #3, pacifiers help babies “last longer” between feedings. Babies often wake in the middle of the night or their nap before their “scheduled” feeding time.
Most of the time a pacifier would help them soothe and settle back in for a bit more sleep.
Babies want to suckle to be soothed. So many moms mistake the need to suckle as needing to eat.
Which then turns baby into a snacker and busts mama’s milk supply (and this leads to many more issues… Read my other posts!)
Now, there’s the other issue of keeping the binky in the mouth.
My favorite solution to this is the “Wubba Nubba”! We call ours “Bubba”!
The beauty of the Wubba Nub is that it’s harder to “lose” than a free standing pacifier. It’s a bit weighted since the little animal is attached.
This being said, it’s great to lay on the baby’s chest in the swing, car seat or bassinet. They have a harder time dropping it out of their mouth and letting it roll away.
We liked to even tuck our “Bubba” down into the swaddle or the car seat and it would stay so much nicer!
No more middle of the night binky search parties!
All in all, a pacifier is an amazing tool and a great baby sleeping tip!
This baby sleeping tip is not new. Most mamas these days know about the swaddle but there’s some helpful things to know.
This makes sleeping difficult. Especially since we’re so encouraged to sleep our babes on their backs.
Being wrapped in a swaddle basically “blocks” their startle helping them to sleep better.
But not all swaddles are the same. There are swaddle wraps, zip up swaddles, and even the “old fashioned” receiving blanket swaddle.
Personally, I have found that even though the zip up swaddles are quicker and easier, the wrap swaddle (like this one) really holds the baby best and keeps him more snug.
Also, like I said above with the Wubba Nub, you can even tuck them into the swaddle so their binky is always accessible.
We used the wrap style swaddle I mentioned above with both boys and it worked like a charm! We love them!
Definitely one of my top baby sleeping tips!
I mentioned this in my 14 Newborn Musts post as well as my Newborn Must Haves.
Babies are used to a vacuum like sound in utero. So having white noise soothes them as well as masks sounds from the other parts of the house.
Also, like I said above regarding bedtime routines, having a white noise machine actually helps babies learn sleep cues.
As soon as the white noise machine is turned on, they start to realize it’s time to settle down and go to sleep.
We always travel with them too!
White noise machines are so helpful and such a great baby sleeping tip! I don’t know what we’d do without ours!
6.TANK UP & DREAM FEED
I also discussed this in my 14 Newborn Musts post. Making sure you have a full baby is very important for a sleepy baby.
In the evening, it’s helpful to “cluster feed” to “tank up” your baby for the night.
Then right before you head to bed for the night, around 10/11pm, give the baby one last feed even while she’s asleep! This is what we call the dream feed.
This sets baby up for a successful, hopefully loonnggg night of sleep!
Both of my boys needed a “tank up” for about the first 3-4 weeks.
During Parker James’ first week, since I was still feeding him around the clock, I wasn’t sure if he needed a “tank up”. However, on day 7 or 8, he wanted to cluster feed from about 1-3 am.
To avoid this the next day, I did his “tank up” in the afternoon (4pm and 6pm) and it solved his night time issue!
With a tank up and a dream feed, you can typically get newborns to sleep 4-5 hours. If you continue on this pattern, over time they’ll sleep for 6,7, and eventually 8-9 hours at a time!
If you’re a mom of a newborn reading this, that probably sounds marvelous!
I also used this method when I was cutting the dream feed but with solid foods rather than milk.
We cut the dream feed when he was about 7 months old so he had been sleeping through the night for about 5 months.
To ensure he was full enough to continue making it through the night, I gave him more snacks and solids throughout the evening to fill his belly.
Foods such as sweet potato, baby food with rice cereal, oatmeal, etc. Heavy foods that also swell with milk for a full and happy baby.
Tanking up your baby so helpful and an awesome baby sleeping tip!
7. IF ALL ELSE FAILS – USE THE SWING
Ok mama, we’ve all been there. It’s 5 am, and baby is just needing a bit more help than usual.
He’s swaddled, he’s full, he’s changed, he has his binky… and you’re SO exhausted.
This is when it’s time for the swing. We used the swing when the baby was napping for the first several weeks.
It’s easier to be “out in the house” while the baby is just sleeping in the corner in the swing.
Once both of our boys started to have more of an established routine, we slowly started to transition them to the bassinet or crib during the day.
I know, that some mamas are worried about the swing becoming a crutch and a bad habit. And I would actually agree with them if the swing was used too long.
For the first several weeks, the baby won’t really form any long lasting habits.
So this makes it easy to slowly but surely, over the course of several weeks, start to transition the baby into their bed.
But if the baby is still needing the swing when she’s 4-6 months old, that’s a case of allowing the habit to form.
Besides using the swing in the beginning, we only used the swing as a last resort.
Jaden didn’t have any trouble sleeping through the night in his bassinet or crib very early. But Parker James had some trouble.
He would wake up and need help back to sleep. However, if I snuggled or rocked him, he would get more upset thinking it was time to nurse.
Whenever this happened (at first, once or twice every few weeks), I just let him go back to sleep in the swing.
Every night he got better and better about sleeping in his bed longer and longer.
All in all, don’t overuse the swing…But mama… DON’T be hard on yourself! YOU are recovering and you need sleep! Use that swing when you need to!
(Check out the swing we used in my Newborn Must Haves post!)
8. PLAN OUT YOUR NAPS
Plan your day around the schedule and naps. Do your best not to leave at nap time unless you want to be IN the car for the entire nap.
Otherwise, baby will fall asleep on the drive and eat into her nap time. This could mess up the whole routine cycle.
I made this mistake off and on when Parker James was new.
I would have to sit and think how long he slept in the car and keep him awake that much longer to make sure he was truly ready to go to sleep.
Ever fall asleep for about 20-30 minutes and wake up feeling energized with a second wind? That’s what those little cat naps in the car do to the baby.
Of course, as moms, we’re extremely busy. Especially, if you work or have older kiddos you need to get places.
To avoid this, I have actually left super early, way before I actually would need to leave just so the boys could take their nap in the car at the right time.
Even to the point of driving around neighborhoods forever. (I know we’ve all been there mama.)
What I really try to do, (and has seemed like the best solution) is to try and leave when the baby was just fed and as awake as they’ll be. Make the car ride her activity rather than nap time.
Then try to RACE to your destination before she falls asleep!
It gets easier as they get older too. There are days it just won’t happen and that’s ok!
9. YOUR ENERGY
Picture this scenario.
You just came in the house with the kids and a ton of groceries. The dog needs out, the kids need dinner, the hubby just walks in the door, dinner is half done in the oven, chaos is everywhere…
Everyone is talking at the top of their lungs, not because they’re angry but because the excitement and energy of the house is through the roof…
Ok… we’ve all been here.
Picture if you moved in slow motion. If you whispered to the kids and moved like you were half asleep.
They immediately would start talking softer too, as well as moving slower. The energy would shift.
People match and mirror the energy of the room. It’s just how we’re built. This is the case with babies too.
I’m sure you’ve felt this. You’re sitting in the chair rocking baby to sleep. You remember something is boiling on the stove or someone is coming over soon… your heart jumps in your chest.
You try to “will” him to fall asleep faster… your brain is racing… baby won’t fall asleep etc.
Babies are little empaths. They FEEL your energy.
I have found so many times that when I do my best to “rest” or just have a meditative, relaxed moment, the baby will relax with me.
Even when I know there’s a 1000 things I need to get done or the delivery man is at the door with groceries or whatever it is!
It helps me to relax and forget about everything else in my head by sitting and focusing on what I’m doing.
Holding my babe and snuggling them to sleep… the best gift God ever gave us. My heart settles and I’m fully content.
And the baby usually falls fast asleep in a matter of minutes.
Watch your energy while putting baby to bed. Such a helpful baby sleep tip!
10.GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Mama, you’re doing an amazing job. Taking care of those littles is NOT an easy task! It is the hardest work a woman will do but also the best!
There will be days where naps are missed. Where baby DID NOT sleep through the night.
Teething. Sickness. Trips. Time changes. ALL. THE. THINGS. These will ALL happen…
But in all remember God’s grace. Remember, He gave you this sweet babe. Be gracious with yourself and try again.
If you’re trying to get her to sleep in her bed or get her on the “ideal” routine, try as long as possible each day and she’ll eventually get it.
It’s a gentle sleep training.
Do your best and start again tomorrow.
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I hope you enjoyed my Top 10 Baby Sleep Tips! These have all helped me so much! I’d love to hear your thoughts or if any of these worked for you! Shoot me an email! I’d love to hear from you!