Friend – “Oh, you look tired.”
Me – “I’m pretty sure this is just my face now.”
Baby days are tough. Newborns might sleep 16-17 hours a day, but rarely more than 1-2 hours at a time. Exploring all 24 hours of the day is exhausting.
Baby sleep is such a big issue. It’s hard to find a middle ground between crying it out and cosleeping that you can live with. And just when you think you’ve found a solution that works, it all changes.
Here’s my biggest tip for sleep: when things change don’t ‘grieve’ over the fact that your baby ‘used to be a great sleeper’. Pining over the great sleep you used to get just makes things worse. (Trust me, I say this from experience.)
Before we get into the tips on how you can help your baby sleep through the night, I’ll tell you straight up:
We co-slept from about 4 months. That worked for us, after going from sleeping through to hourly wakings… I always wanted to co-sleep, it just made sense to me. But, I was too scared to do it straight away. I was so anxious about my baby’s safety. So, we persevered with the bassinet and the crib for the first few months.
Here’s what you can try to help your baby to sleep:
Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.
1. Make it Noisy
It’s noisy in the womb – all the bodily sounds, whooshing blood. I’ve read that it’s about as noisy as a train! And then they are born and it’s suddenly rather quiet.
There are a couple of ways to soothe baby with white noise.
The easiest way is to get a white noise machine like this one. Or even a doll like this one it’s caused a bit of a sensation – apparently it sounds like Darth Vader… hahaha!
You can also make shushing noises for your baby. However, all that shushing can be a bit tiring which is why I prefer the white noise machine.
2. Pat the Baby
Patting babies bottom like a heartbeat can help put them to sleep. This still works on my toddler! I’m surprised!
You don’t have to pat baby’s bottom you can also pat next to them on the bed.
3. Baby in Motion
Babies come from environment that’s constantly in motion. Rocking them is soothing.
There are several ways you can rock your baby. You can rock them in your arms, doing the mom dance. Or you could buy a glider (totally worth the money and was my FIRST baby purchase at 12 weeks pregnant). Or even a baby swing like this one. Or you can bounce up and down on your fitness ball.
Hands free options are so good if you need time to do other things like shower, or eat. And who doesn’t?
4. Swaddle Them Up
Babies have a startle reflex. Swaddling helps babies feel secure and it keeps them from moving around and startling themselves.
You can swaddle your baby using a receiving blanket or using a specifically designed swaddle. My favorite was the Love to Dream – 10 hours straight the first night we got it can’t be beaten!
5. Bed Time Milk
The act of breastfeeding makes baby sleepy, especially newborns. In fact, it can be quite frustrating when you’re trying to make sure your new baby is getting enough milk and they keep falling asleep at the breast.
All the books say don’t let your baby fall asleep at the breast. But, it’s one of the easiest ways to get baby to sleep if you’re desperate.
You can try using a pacifier in place of the breast if your baby will take one.
6. Check Your Schedule
If you want your baby to take his long sleep at night, you might need to restrict day sleeps. I know waking a sleeping baby… it’s crazy, hey? But if you want a good sleep at night…
If your baby sleeps longer than about 2 hours in the day, you might find it harder to get them to sleep through.
7. Wear that baby
Some babies are thoroughly sleep-resistant.
If you’re having trouble getting your little one to sleep, you might like to try baby wearing. Babies usually find this soothing and will calm down when worn. This option works well for reflux babies or for teething and let’s you have your hands free!
My favorite type of baby carrier for newborns is the stretchy wrap. There’s a little bit of a learning curve getting it tied, but once you do you can leave it tied all day and have it ready when you need it. There’s also no hard buckles or tightening you need to learn like other types of carrier.
8. Stroking Baby’s Head
Brushing your hand gently through baby’s hair or drawing up and down their nose and rubbing their forehead is another great way to get baby to sleep. Or you can use a tissue and brush it over their face.
Have you seen this video? This method worked for me one time only. (and then the tissue started to annoy him, but maybe if I’d started earlier…)
Putting It All Together…
You don’t need to use each of these tips in isolation… No! Use them in combination as many and as often as you need to.
The sleep thing will get better eventually. It’s just one of those things to ride through.
Over to You:
What are your best tips for sleep? What’s working for you right now?
If you enjoyed this post, please share it on Pinterest or Facebook because there’s someone out there struggling with this issue right now and you might help them out immensely!