5 Tips to Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

Getting sleep with a baby isn't easy, and months of sleep deprivation can really wear you down. That's an accurate way to describe what is going on when you can't get your baby to fall asleep and he is not really sleeping for large chunks of time. His sleeping patterns will get better, though, once he's older and more mature. Until then you can work on ways to help him get the best sleep he can–and we can.

I prefer to help aid sleep in more gentle ways and don't opt to do any of the “sleep training” methods I've read about. I know that, eventually, baby will learn how to sleep for long stretches, and until then, we work with what works. If you're looking for ways to help your baby fall asleep, here are some tips on what worked for us.

Find out where baby sleeps best

Some babies sleep better in a bed on their own, while others prefer the comfort of their mom's arms while they sleep. Be flexible and try different sleep situations to see where your baby seems to settle best and work with that.

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Image via Flickr/ rahego

Develop a routine + be consistent

If your baby can predict his bedtime, he is more likely to settle earlier, and that's where a routine can come in handy. It doesn't really matter what the routine is, but having a consistent one you do each night will work wonders. As to what we did: We ate dinner with Silver now sitting up in a food chair. Then it was bath time, and we laid in our room with the lights dimmed and his music playing while he nursed to sleep. This routine is one we started when he was just little, and while we were not the most strict with it (it would be better of us if we were), he understood when it was bedtime because of the routine.

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Change your expectations

If you're hoping your infant is going to sleep for hours and hours at night like you do, you're going to be disappointed. According to Dr. Sears, “In the first three months, tiny babies seldom sleep for more than four-hour stretches without needing a feeding.” He goes on to say that when babies are between 3 and 6 months old, they start to stay up during the day longer, and some can sleep for about five-hour stretches at night, but to still expect your 6-month-old (and up) to wake at least a few times at night.

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Image via Flickr/ tamakisono

Set predictable naps

The more restful your baby is during the day, the more restful they'll be at night–at least that's been my experience. It took a while for my youngest to develop a sleep routine during the day for naps, but once he did, his times of rest were consistent. He liked to nap around 10 in the morning and again at 2 in the afternoon, so even if he didn't act tired, we put him down for his nap. Doing so helped him have a calmer day, which aided his sleep at night.

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Enlist the help of white noise

I love sleeping with a fan on, even in the winter, because the noise of the fan just helps me relax. The same thing is true for my older kids, because since they were very little, they've been sleeping with the white noise of a fan. When my little one was still in that infant phase where every small noise woke him up, even someone flushing the toilet in the bathroom one room over. I started using a fan, and its noise to help muffle some walking sounds, and it helped him ease into sleep. Not only that, but I also enlisted the help of lullabies, so when he woke in the middle of the night and heard it, he was more likely to drift back into peaceful sleep.

What are your tricks for encouraging better sleep?

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5 Tips to Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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2 comments

  1. Profile photo of Rebecca Rebecca says:

    I’m sorry but there was some important no no’s in this article for 5ways to help baby sleep. Baby should crib sleep from the beginning. If so they will know no different. Obviously a nap on mommy or daddy from time to time is fine but after the normal crib sleeping is established. I he thou don’t want to “train” you baby but that’s exactly what we are supposed to do. They don’t know what’s right or wrong. And baby’s can sleep through the night much earlier If feeding enough, showing the signs they are ready and you have established an ability for the baby to be able to sleep in crib, self sooth to sleep, have no attachment to anything unless absolutely needed. It will only cause a problem down the road. (This means, attachment to paci, sound machine, rocking, etc) can do these things but not as a must in order to sleep. Not if you want them to learn to sleep on their own. We were doing every 4 hour feeds but when our son at 5 week begin to increase from 4 1/2 oz to 5 oz formula (now Breast fed babies will take longer and feed more often) he begin to show a lack of interest in one of the night feeds so we began to ween him from it by “dream feeding” and reducing it till we dropped it. When we did he didn’t even wake. For 2 nights he slept with out it, then 3 night he decided he didn’t want the other night feed either. So by 6 weeks old he was sleeping 11-7 feeding at 10pm-10:30pm then quiet wake time to sooth him and then let him finish puttijg himself to sleep. Woke at 7. Snack at 10-10:30 and lunch now at 2. He is now 9 weeks old and we are getting ready to drop snack bc he is starting to want to sleep in longer and increase his feeds (has been at 6oz for 2 weeks) so I am increasing by .5 oz till we get to 7oz. He’ll maintain that for awhile. There is no reason why if you do train proper a baby can’t learn to sleep. Routine is important. Wake, eat, play then nap/sleep. Give credit where credit is do. To write an article when you’re not having success seems silly.

    • Profile photo of Nina Nina says:

      Every baby is different, Rebecca, and what may work for you and your baby might not work for other babies, especially breastfed babies. To criticize an article based on your one experience with one baby seems silly

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