Caring for your baby while running on very little sleep is one of the most complex parts of being a new mom. Especially in the early days, the lack of any routine or structure in your newborn’s sleep schedule can be exhausting. You may even let comparison creep up, leading to you getting caught up in your expectations for your baby’s sleep schedule.
All babies are different, but if you’ve ever felt like you’re the only one who hasn’t figured out how to get your baby to sleep well, you’re not alone. It’s not always easy, but the good news is this phase will pass. With this collection of baby sleep tips, hopefully, you’ll get a little more rest tonight.
The 6 Best Baby Sleep Tips
When it comes to a baby’s sleep, it’s never one size fits all. But some tips from experienced moms work well for most babies. Here are the best baby sleep tips:
Swaddle Your Baby
One of the first and best tips an experienced mom will give you is to swaddle your baby at night as soon as you bring them home. Don’t give up even if you’ve tried swaddling and your baby doesn’t like it. Newborns love swaddling because it provides comfort, like when they were in the womb. It’s also helpful for keeping them asleep since they have a startle reflex called the Moro reflex that often wakes them up.1 Swaddling is great for smaller babies but remember to stop swaddling when your baby starts to roll over. (Here are our favorite swaddles!)
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Routines are often the key to consistent and restful sleep for your baby. Children of all ages thrive on routine, and for little ones, a bedtime routine conditions them to know when it’s time to wind down. Your bedtime routine may look different from other moms, but many find that including a bath, massage, pajamas, and bedtime story is a great place to start. If you usually nurse or feed your baby before bed, include that in your bedtime routine. There’s nothing wrong with switching off with your partner for bedtime but try to keep the routine as consistent as possible.
Create a Peaceful Environment
Sometimes a peaceful and calm environment is all a baby needs to sleep. In the same way that most adults wouldn’t be able to sleep in a loud, bright room, babies don’t sleep well in that environment either. Try dimming the lights or turning them off (black-out curtains are helpful, too) and using a night light. You might put on some relaxing bedtime music or try a sound machine with white noise for younger babies. You can use a diffuser with a calming scent, like lavender, to add to the calmness. Keep in mind that essential oils may not be safe for babies and if you have any concerns, be sure to reach out to your pediatrician.2
Let Baby Rest During the Day
When you’re desperate to find any way to get your baby to sleep, you might think they’ll go to sleep easier if they’re more tired at bedtime. It may be tempting to skip a nap or two, hoping your baby will be worn out enough to go to sleep early. Although this may be the case for some, in most cases, an overtired baby will have a more challenging time falling asleep and staying asleep than one well-rested. When babies become overtired, they are often more fussy, cranky, and harder to calm down. If you want your baby to rest easier at night, ensure they get enough rest during the day.
Sleep deprivation can take a toll on you, so when your baby refuses to sleep at night, it’s easy to become frustrated. However, your baby can sense your emotions and how you’re feeling, so the more frustrated and stressed you are, the harder it will be to get your baby to sleep.3 If you find yourself getting frustrated during bedtime, it’s better to walk away for a bit to calm down and try again instead of continuing to try and put the baby to sleep, making yourself increasingly frustrated. There are plenty of reasons babies fuss but talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned their fussiness may be abnormal.
Make Sure Baby is Well Fed
Because a full belly can tire your baby, it’s a good idea to ensure they feed until they’re finished and as often as they want throughout the day.5 A dream feed might also help promote longer stretches of sleep in the first part of the night, especially for younger babies.4
You’re not alone if you’ve been struggling to get your baby to sleep at night. As you’re fighting to get your baby to sleep, many moms worldwide are in the same situation. Baby sleep constantly changes, but we hope these tips help you and your little one rest peacefully.