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30 Ways to Help Your Baby Get More Sleep
Sleep is easily the hardest part of the baby years. Some babies are decent sleepers, while others seem to loathe it. While it is a fact that babies spend the majority of their early life sleeping, it can be hard to get your baby to fall asleep. As a mom of 3, I can say that each of my girls had completely different sleep habits. What worked for 1 did not work for the other, and so on… I polled some friends and family members, asking them what sleep tips they had and here’s what they had to say…
- Swaddle – New babies especially love to be wrapped up nice and tight. This feeling can mimic the womb and make it easier for baby to fall and stay asleep.
- Don’t swaddle – My new daughter did not like being wrapped up at all. As soon as we stopped, she started sleeping better.
- Give them a lovey – Most little ones love to snuggle. Giving them a soft lovey to snuggle with can certainly make them feel better.
- Full tummy – Make sure baby has had enough to eat before it’s time for bed. A hungry baby won’t sleep well.
- Nursing down – Some breastfed babies sleep best when they are nursed to sleep.
- Pacifier – If your little one takes a pacifier, let them use it in bed. The sucking can be a great soother for them.
- Bed sharing – Bed sharing can be done safely. Sometimes, it’s the only way for everyone to get a decent night’s sleep.
- Room sharing – Sometimes baby sleeps better knowing you’re near. A crib or cradle in your room might help them get more sleep.
- Staying in their own room – When Margot was sleeping in our room, she woke up constantly. We finally switched her to her own room and she has been sleeping soundly. I think she just needed some peace & quiet.
- Consistent routine – Some babies sleep better if they have a nightly routine. This prepares them for what’s to come and gets them in a better rhythm.
- Massage – Babies love massage. Give your little one a relaxing rub down just before bed. This calms them down and prepares them for rest.
- Bath – In the same way, a bath can relax a little one. Being fresh & clean and in new pjs can help them get more sleep.
- A sound machine – Total silence can sometimes wake a baby up in the night. Consider a sound machine to help them sleep better.
- Rocking – The back & forth motion of rocking your baby can be a great sedative. Plus, it’s great for bonding!
- Singing – The soothing sound of mama or dada’s voice can help put baby to bed. Sing the same song every night to get them in the habit of calming down before bed.
- Darkness – If your little one’s room is too light, it can be hard for them to get rest. Consider some black-out curtains and just a small night light.
- Mom’s smell – Babies are usually more calm if mama is near. Consider leaving an unwashed shirt in baby’s room so that your smell lingers on.
- Rub her ears – Physical touch is one of the most calming things. Rubbing baby’s ears while they are nearing sleep can help them relax.
- Essential oils – Many mamas swear by using essential oils. Put a drop of lavender on baby’s feet at night to help them calm down and relax.
- Shorter daytime naps – To help baby establish the difference between day and night, make sure they aren’t napping too long during the day. Shorter daytime naps usually means longer stretches at night.
- Clean / dry diaper – Make sure to change baby’s diaper right before bed. They’ll be more content and they’ll be less likely to wake up because of a leak, etc.
- Wearing down – Another way to get baby to sleep is to wear them in a wrap or sling. Do some chores around the house with them attached to you until they are just about asleep. Then, carefully put them in their bed.
- Temperature – Make sure the temperature of baby’s room is just right. Not too cold and not too warm.
- Cozy pjs – Dress your baby appropriately for bed. Nothing too hot or too cold, and nothing uncomfortable, either. We learned this the hard way by putting our baby to bed in a sleeper that had a giant ruffle across the rear.
- Music – Many babies are comforted by soothing music. Put a few songs on a CD or use an MP3 player to help baby fall asleep.
- Warm bed – A cold bed sheet can be startling. Warm the bed sheet ahead of time by throwing it in the dryer for a few minutes, or by laying a hot water bottle on it before your babe lays down to rest.
- Play – The more activity your baby has had, the more ready they’ll be for sleep. Play, play, play if you want them to get a decent night’s sleep.
- Hat – As a newborn, my first daughter wouldn’t sleep unless something was covering her head. We started letting her sleep with a hat on and it helped!
- Swing – If your baby will not sleep in a cradle or crib, try a swing.
- Relax – A baby can sense if you are stressed out. Try to relax as much as possible, so your little one can relax, too.