How to Help Your Newborn Sleep Better: 5 Tips

baby sleeping
Image via Mindi Stavish

Sleep deprivation is brutal to parents of a newborn. It can make you feel agitated, forgetful, and beat down. It can even make you depressed. Sleep, or the lack thereof, is definitely something that stressed me out as a new mom. 

Before I had children, I needed a solid eight hours of sleep to function well. Now, three children later, I can easily manage on five to six hours. However, just because I can function on less sleep now doesn't mean I don't love to get a full night's rest.

{ MORE:   Napping Guidelines  }

This past June, I gave birth to a brand-new baby boy. Thankfully, he had his days and nights figured out from his first day of life. In all honesty, there isn't anything I “did” to help him with this. When I brought him home from the hospital, he continued to be a great sleeper at night, sleeping in 3- to 4-hour stretches at a time on most nights. There are a few strategies and baby products I have used to help all three of my boys sleep well as newborns.

sleeping baby in dark room
Image via Mindi Stavish

Ambiance: Since newborn babies have been in a dark, warm place for the past nine months, it's no wonder they sleep best in a dark  room. I found that all of my boys have slept longer in a dark room. Purchasing room-darkening curtains or blinds is a worthy investment that may give you (and your baby) a few extra hours of shut-eye.  

baby sleeping
Image via Mindi Stavish

Little distractions: From the time I put my baby to bed at night until morning, I do my best to keep the lights off and the noise down in the baby's room. I find this helps my baby settle down easier, even after waking for a feeding.  

baby sleeping on back
Image via Flickr/ryotnipm

Diaper changes: Unless my baby has pooped or his diaper has leaked, I don't change his diaper during the night. With my first two children, I used disposable diapers and found one brand to be more absorbent than others for nighttime.  

For this baby, I use cloth diapers, so that gives me the ability to use a heavier soaker to avoid nighttime solutions. If I do have to change his diaper in the middle of the night, I keep the lights as dim as possible and work quickly. I also keep a stash of diapers and wipes right next to his co-sleeper so I don't have to move him from the coziness of his bed.

Not every  baby is able to tolerate going all night without a diaper change without getting a diaper rash or leaks, though, so if I notice my baby is getting a diaper rash, I will change him during the night.    

MORE: Helping Your Newborn Fall Back To Sleep }

swaddled baby
Image via Mindi Stavish

Swaddling: I can't stress enough the importance of a good swaddling blanket that your baby will stay in the entire night. I realize there are many babies who can't stand to be swaddled, but if your baby likes it, then do it! Thankfully, all three of mine have loved being swaddled. My absolute favorite swaddling blanket is the Woombie

Spa machine
Image via Amazon

White noise: While my son was still in his early weeks of infancy, I used a sound machine to soothe him to sleep every single night. Most nights, I would turn it off when I went to bed since my husband complained that he couldn't fall asleep with it on.

When the baby started waking up after only an hour or two, we started keeping it on all night. I noticed an immediate difference in the length of time he slept, so I won. The sound machine is now turned on each and every night. I have the Homedics SoundSpa Lullaby Relaxation Machine, which has several different sounds, lullaby music, and even a rotating picture projector.

What strategies do you use to help your baby sleep longer? 

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How to Help Your Newborn Sleep Better: 5 Tips

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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5 comments

  1. marlene says:

    Thanks for the tips

  2. carrie says:

    My son is a month old and he loves all of the above. to swaddle we use this stretchy thin soft blanket called westcoast baby that was a gift during pregnancy. it wraps him tight but stretchs so he isnt completely constricted. he can not stand a recieving blanket so i thank god for the west coast baby brand. i have also been playing classical music and white noise from youtube for him from my laptop and he is out like a light. i have found too that a bath bottle and bed routine is helping him to sleep. he had a cold around 2wks so i got some johnson and johnson soothing vapor wash and it helped open his airways so i still like to use it when he sounds a little stuffy. IT WORKS!!! mommy bathes him then daddy dresses him then he gets his bottle. after eating he either lies in my lap listening to music or gets rocked listening to music. lavendar wash is supposed to be really good too. lavendar is known to have aromatherapy qualities tht help to relax. im definitely gonna try it though

  3. Rachel says:

    I have invested in all of the above mentioned. I sure hope they work 🙂

  4. Besa says:

    Thank you for the tips Mindi, I’ll surely try these methods when my little angel comes.

  5. jesster131 says:

    With my little guy it was finding his happy position. He could go to sleep but not stay asleep. We had the cool dim room, quiet soothing music, & he wore good absorbent diapers that would let him go 6-8 hours with no change as long as no poops. Swaddling was out he would kick his way out in 10 seconds flat then sigh & seem to relax a bit but he would not sleep on his back. I spent the 1st 3 month with him sleeping either in his car seat or on me. As soon as his back would touch his bed within 10 min he would be awake. 10 min later the whole house would be. One night I gave up & lay him on his tummy. He had good ability to lift & turn his head. He promptly 6 hours woke up ate played for 30 min & slept another 4 hours. Even through teething & hernia surgery he continued to sleep good after that as long as he was on his tummy. His Dr tried to discourage us but also agreed that if it was what he wanted & he was now thriving with it why fight it. Both mom & dad are stomach sleepers. Now at almost 18 months he will lay down on his back when he goes into bed & roll onto his belly when he is ready to fall asleep.

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