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!
Couple questions: 1) so you use your jordy hold until they’re sleepy but awake and put them down? 2) how dod you break hutch’s bad sleep habits? I want to start sleep training my girl (3 months) but I’ve accidentally taught her to nurse to sleep so it messes with the eat/wake/sleep cycle and she doesn’t fall asleep on her own easy. Thanks!
Yes! I do the hold when their tummy is upset and they need to be settled down, or to get them super sleepy. As for nursing to sleep, any habit is hard to break! Just focus on the “eat, awake, sleep” cycle and stick to it. It may lead to some tears but it will pay off in the long run! Maybe you could introduce a pacifier or something else to soothe your baby. Good luck!
I’m expecting my second child and I want to do things differently for baby #2. I had such a hard time keeping my first baby awake while nursing so that we could put him to bed sleepy but awake or have awake time after feeding. So finally I just gave up and gave in to the sleepy snuggles which led to my son only falling asleep if I nursed him and it took forever to wean him. I do not want that to happen again. Any tips? Also I’ve heard many times not to let your baby sleep or spend time in the car seat out of the car but what are you supposed to do with the baby if he falls asleep in the car and you’re going somewhere other than home where there’s no safe place to set them down to sleep? Or if you’re going shopping and they’re not big enough to sit up in the cart? Please help!?!?
I do the Jordy hold when their tummy is upset and they need to be settled down, or to get them super sleepy. To keep from starting the bad habit of nursing to sleep, just focus on the “eat, awake, sleep” cycle and stick to it. It may lead to some tears but it will pay off in the long run! Maybe you could introduce a pacifier or something else to soothe your baby. As for where your baby should spend time outside of the carseat when you’re out and about, you need to check out my Moses Bag that is being released soon! That’s where my babies spend the most time when we’re out and about and they’re great to put them in to keep them safe and let them sleep! You can sign up and get on the list to let you know when the pre-orders are live at moryjune.com.
Such a good post with awesome tips. We struggled so much with my little one! Schedules are everything and seem to have helped the best. Wish I knew about the Jordy hold when she was still little :).
Thank you! Schedules really are the best and are so important! The Jordy hold is definitely a winner 😉
Nursing or being held to sleep are not bad habits. They are biologically normal. 😉
My grandson was sleeping really well at night as long as he was swaddled but when he started rolling over on his own my daughter had to stop swaddling him. Now he wakes up every 30 minutes to an hour and doesn’t really sleep past that until around 4 or 5 in the morning. ?
Awww, I feel for her! This will pass with time, I promise!
Do you have something you put in the bassinet to lay the baby in? It looked like you did in one of your other videos,(morning routine video). My baby gets very fussy when I lay him in the bassinet and am wondering if it may be because it’s a flat hard surface.
And Great tips, thank you!
I do use a crib wedge to keep him at a slight angle in case he spits up. It’s still very firm since you don’t want too much give for a baby!
Hello. Just wondering how you got your babies used to sleeping with so much going on around them? Thanks!
We have 6 kids, they just kind of HAVE to get used to sleeping with so much going on around them or else they’d never get any sleep! 🙂
I have a 2.5 yr old that naps every other day, and when he does its a struggle to get him to bed before midnight. Right now at 1.44am we are still trying to get him to sleep. Was it easier for you since your kids aren’t alone in their rooms? Or did they still come bursting through your door at all hours of the night?
Does this only happen on the days that he takes a nap? While naps are so crucial, sometimes it’s better to cut them out completely! Maybe he would be tired enough to go to bed at a normal time?
This was us 18 months ago, so I hear where you are coming from!! During the day, our ‘nap’ routine basically became: soothe for 30+ minutes (swaddling, rocking, running the water, white noise, dark room, sling, walks, lullabies – you name it), he’d finally fall asleep, he’d sleep in my arms (he wouldn’t sleep in his bed at all) for 10-30 minutes, then he’d wake up screaming, and we’d go through it all again. I knew he was exhausted. No joy. After two months of things getting worse and worse (and Baby getting crabbier and crabbier), we all finally decided to give sleep training a try.
You sound like a Babywise mama 🙂
I have a baby that is going on two weeks old and I want to get him on a schedule as early as possible. We’ve already started the eat, awake, sleep cycle. The problem seems to be that his feedings aren’t a consistent amount so the sleep amount changes daily. Sometimes he is awake for two hours then sleeps for two hours. Other days he’s awake for 15-30 minutes and naps for 3 hours. How do I get him to eat a more consistent amount so the schedule stays consistent?
Also, do you feed them and change them in the middle, then swaddle them for the rest of the feeding? Or swaddle after all feeding is done as you are putting them in the crib?
Congratulations on your new baby! It’s great that you’re wanting to get him on a schedule as early as possible, but two weeks is a little young to really expect him to be on a schedule yet. It sounds like you’re on the right track, though! As long as you keep trying to keep this schedule, it’ll pay off over the next few months! As far as the swaddling goes, that’s really up to you. If you’re trying to get them to stay asleep after a feeding during the night, then you could change before swaddling and feeding. But that does get them used to feeding and falling right asleep, which can be a problem later. They also sometimes love to leave you a present in their diaper while eating, which could result in having to change the diaper twice. If you don’t want your baby to rely on having to be fed to go to sleep, then you’re best off with feeding completely, then changing and swaddling before going back down. Hope that helps! 🙂
Such a good post with impressive tips. We are struggling so much with my little one! Schedules are everything and seem to have helped the best.
Thanks for sharing these really helpful tips! Please keep sharing more