Is it 1 o'clock in the morning and you're frantically trying to figure out some baby sleep tips that actually work? We feel you, mama! Stop searching the interwebs, wondering “when do babies sleep through the night?” and learn how to get baby to sleep without the crying it out method!
Raise your hand if you’re a walking Mombie! We know how exhausting it can be to have a newborn. One of the top questions I get asked after having a baby is, “How do you get your baby to sleep through the night and sleep so well?” With eight kids all roughly 18 months apart (and twins!), we've had our fair share of sleepless nights. Today, I'm sharing all of my baby sleep tips so you can get your baby to sleep well, too!
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So there you go! Wasn’t so scary, right? Give these tips a try, and I have no doubt you’ll be happy you did. For easy reference, I’ll recap those tips for you below.
THE MOST IMPORTANT BABY SLEEP TIP
If you take NOTHING else away from this post on baby sleep, please remember this:
- And THEN sleep
One of the mistakes we often make when sleep training babies is to feed them and let them fall asleep. I know, I know, how can you resist their sweet cuddly tired selves? Then twenty minutes later we're dealing with a crying baby and don't know what's going on.
It's very important that no matter how old your baby is, they should be awake as long as they can be before they go to sleep for a few reasons.
BABY SLEEPS BETTER AFTER AWAKE PERIOD
- Gets Rid of Gas Bubbles – Baby won't sleep comfortably if they're tummy is upset! Let's talk baby gas real quick, shall we? This Fridababy Windi might look a little funny, but oh mah goodness it's a miracle! You NEED one if your baby has gas issues!
- Gets Wiggles Out and Wears Them Out – Feed them, lay them on a blanket, hold them, and play with them for as long as they can take it. Babies get worn out pretty quick if you're interacting with them. Then bundle them up and put them to sleep.
- Time to Fill Their Diapers – As gross as it sounds, the more they get out of their system before falling asleep, the longer they're going to sleep for you. This is especially important for their long stretch of sleep at night.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: It's very important, especially when dealing with a newborn baby sleep schedule, to not do this during the middle of the night. They need to learn that day is day and night is night. Gently soothe them back to sleep after feeding at night and make sure day is bright and loud with music and lots of noise. They'll get the hang of it before you know it!
BABY SLEEP TIP # 2: ROUTINE IS KEY
We all know that people thrive off of having a routine – why should babies be any different? If you teach your sweet baby what to expect, they'll catch on real quick and that will make your life a little easier. Here are a few more tips that will help you set up a sleep training schedule for your babe!
WATCH THE CLOCK WHEN SLEEP TRAINING
I recommend wearing a watch at all times when you've got a baby! You're already sleep deprived, so figuring out how to get baby to sleep and not even knowing what time it is can be a problem!
Note the time when you give them a FULL feeding. If they get fussy before three hours, it's highly likely that they're not hungry but they need something else: teething, gas, cold, tired, etc. You can also use our daily baby log to keep track of everything if you have baby brain and can't remember anything! (Don't worry, it happens to me with every baby!)
SET UP BABY SLEEP SCHEDULES
This goes for all of your kids, not just babies. Sleep training babies is so much easier when you have a good routine. Do the same thing every night, if you can. Put them in a warm bath and then rub them down with some soothing lotion. Give them a clean diaper and nice warm jammies. They'll start responding to their baby sleep schedule before you know it.
MAKE YOUR SURROUNDINGS NOISY
Don't be afraid to have noise going on throughout the day. Run the vacuum, let the doorbell ring, or put on some music and have a dance party. Even better, grab a white noise machine and keep it near them whenever they're sleeping. We actually have one in all of our kids' rooms!
Newborns are used to sleeping through noise. They're constantly surrounded by noise in the womb – your heart, your voice, and everything going on around you. Coming from a noisy environment to a quiet one can make them uncomfortable.
BABY SLEEP TIP #3: SWADDLE BABY BEFORE SLEEP
A lot of moms will say, “My baby doesn't like to be swaddled.” When babies are three months old or less, their bodies have a startle reflex or Moro reflex that can mess up baby sleep and jolt them awake.
Not only is swaddling soothing to babies, it mimics the feeling of being tight in the womb. They might fight you or pull out of it, but that's their reflexes working how they should be. Trust me, sleep training babies with swaddles is how to get babies to sleep good.
BABY SLEEP TIP #4: PUT BABY TO BED WHEN SLEEPY, BUT STILL AWAKE
This might not seem important, but as they get older, they'll get in the habit of only being able to fall asleep in your arms. That habit is hard to break and really tough to stick with, especially when you have more than one baby.
Rotating their heads is equally important as laying them down awake. You want to position their head one way and then turn it the other way the next time you put them in bed to prevent Torticollis (yes, that's a thing…) and flat heads. Wearing a hair tie or wrist band helps me remember which side their head was facing the last time. It's also very helpful to use when breastfeeding. Nobody wants lopsided girls, if you know what I'm sayin'!
Once again, our daily baby log will come in super helpful to help you remember all of this!
BABY SLEEP TIP #5: SLEEPING IN CAR SEATS
It's never a good idea to let your baby sleep in their car seat outside of the car. It can be downright dangerous when the carseat isn't positioned correctly. I do NOT recommend letting your baby sleep in the carseat outside of the car.
If you're in the car and your baby hates the carseat and will not sleep in it, take a blanket and tuck it under their arms AFTER you've buckled them in. This will make them feel swaddled and they'll sleep so much better and be so much happier on long car rides.
BABY SLEEP TIP #6: HOW TO GET BABY TO SLEEP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Sometimes this is inevitable. They're going to wake up and you are going to want them to go back to sleep quickly! Here's what I do to make that happen:
- Keep a night light next to your bed if you can. If at all possible, avoid turning on lights or lamps. Keep it as dark and as much like night as possible.
- As you're feeding them, let them get halfway through their feeding and then change their diaper. You do not want to wait until the end of the feeding to change them because they will be wide awake after feeling a cold wipe on their bum! Can you blame them, though?!
BABY SLEEP TIP #7: THE JORDY HOLD
What is it? Well, I'd tell you, but I'd have to kill you.
Just kidding. Sorta.
Since we're besties, I'll spill the beans. I have finally perfected my super-secret-mom-hold after eight babies! Have your baby positioned flat across your stomach with their face into your bicep so their nose is still exposed and they can breathe. Put your arm in between their legs and rock. Lightly pat their back and they'll be to sleep in NO time!
Last but not least: Please sleep when your baby sleeps! I know there's so much to get done, but if you have a new baby, you need rest! Your body just birthed a tiny human and is trying to get back to normal. Take a break and enjoy the quiet!
I hope these tips on baby sleep have been helpful! Keep in mind that every baby is different! Before you take my advice or anyone else's, please consult your doctor.
Do you have any awesome baby sleep tips? Share them with us in the comments below!
Looking for even more awesome tips about baby? Check these out!
- About to have a baby? See what made my baby must-haves list!
- Having twins? Then you need to check out all of my twin must-haves!
- If a stroller is essential for you like it is for me, then get all my tips on how to choose the best stroller for your budget!