During the past 9ish months, I’ve done a lot…I mean a lot…of reading on baby sleep. It’s probably the thing I’ve Googled the most. Any other mama’s find themselves Googling baby sleep tips constantly?
I’ve found tons of wonderful and useful tips through my reading and I decided to compile all the things I found that actually worked for me. So, if it’s 3 am and you’re desperate for something to try to get your baby to sleep better, then here’s a quick and easy list to reference! I didn’t want to write super long explanations for each of these because I wanted the point of it to be easily and quickly read. I hope you find these useful!
Those with asterisks can turn into sleep associations so read my note on that at the bottom of the list.
These can be used for naps or bedtime! You can also use multiple tips at once, try them all, or pick one you think works best!
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1. Implement the 5 S’s – swaddle, side-lying, shushing, swaying, sucking. For more info on this, check my post on the 4 pregnancy and parenting books you need to read. (Only use a swaddle until your baby can roll over, then stop).
2. Use a sleep sack. We love these ones.
3. Give your baby a warm bath.
4. Read your baby a story. Your baby loves hearing your voice so reading any story will do!
5. Implement a bedtime routine. This can be whatever works for you, but something to signal bedtime really helps baby wind down.
6. Make baby’s sleeping area as close to pitch black as possible.
7. Use a pacifier.* We really only use pacifiers (we LOVE the Wubbanub) for naps and sleep and he’s okay with that! (Read my post here on why I think pacifiers are GOOD!)
8. If already eating solids, feed your baby dinner after a bottle to fill their tummy.
9. Use a sound machine. We have this one and always have it set to white noise. We use it for naptime and bedtime.
10. Rock your baby.*
11. Feed your baby.* If it’s the middle of the night and you’ve tried everything except this, then feed him/her! Babies up to 9 months may still need 1-2 feedings over night. I know we’ve had nights where we thought he CAN’T possibly be hungry but nothing worked so we fed him and then he passed out.
12. Softly sing a bedtime song.
13. Use a bedtime/naptime phrase to signal it’s time to sleep. I always say “have a good nap, Liam” and then walk out. For bedtime I say “goodnight, Liam. I love you” and then walk out.
14. Move baby to his own room. When you feel ready, this is a great one. We moved Liam to his own room and crib 2 weeks ago and he’s sleeping better. He no longer can smell mother’s milk as easily and our own sleep noises are no longer distracting him.
15. Don’t let him/her get overtired.
16. Make his/her bedtime earlier. This goes hand in hand with #15. We were putting Liam down at 8:45 or 9 and it was rough. We started pushing his bedtime earlier and it’s so much better. Now he goes to bed between 7:30 and 8.
17. Give your baby an infant massage.
18. Walk out of the room. We find that if we linger too long (even if he’s crying), it makes it worse. We soothe for about a minute and then walk out. 9 times out of 10, he quiets down a few minutes later.
19. Put your baby down drowsy but awake.
*Sleep associations can turn into a big problem later down the line. Usually, for babies younger than 4 months, you don’t need to worry about it. But once they are a little older, they may start NEEDING these things to sleep. That’s why it’s important to put your baby down drowsy but awake, so they don’t rely on things like rocking and nursing to go to sleep.
I am by no means an expert in babies or in sleep. More than anything, this is a compilation of just tips I’ve picked up through reading many, many articles and books on babies. I hope you find this in your time of need and find it helpful!
If you implement a few of these, you’ll notice baby’s sleep is better. And if you’re already doing a few of these to no avail, then try adding more in! Having a baby is totally a trial and error game.