Sleep is not a state you can force a baby into. Instead a more appropriate approach is to create a sleep inducing environment that allows sleep to overtake your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep.
Facts of Infant Sleep
Babies sleep differently than adults. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults and they don’t sleep as soundly as we do. Babies sleep the way they do or don’t.
Babies need to be parented to sleep, not just put to sleep
Give baby the best sleep start
Develop a nighttime-parenting mindset. Restful days promote sleep-full nights.
Babies are disorganized and sleeping and feeding schedules are not in a newborn’s initial plan. Organizing a baby during the day can help babies become better organized at night.
Try to feed baby on cue. Frequent feeding during the day promotes better sleep at night.
Wear your baby during the day. Once your baby weighs enough, try carrying them in a wrap or baby carrier. Being close to you, promotes frequent feeding and promotes calmness. A calm baby is more likely to be a calm baby at night.
Condition your Baby to Sleep
Try to incorporate some of these tips into your day.
Make baby’s daytime as peaceful as you can. Holding and soothing baby during the day mellows your baby into an easier sleep at night. Try that baby carrier.
Set consistent nap routines. Try picking out the times that you are most tired and make those nap time. Nap when your baby sleeps. Babies with consistent nap routines during the day are more likely to sleep longer at night.
Set consistent bedtimes. The older your baby is the more desirable are consistent bedtimes and rituals. Bedtime rituals could include a bath, rocking, feeding, lullabies or a story or a baby massage.
- Getting baby to stay asleep.
Before bed, give your baby a full feeding.
Position your baby for safe sleeping. Place your baby on their back for the first nine months.
Dress baby for sleep. Experiment with which coverings and clothes your baby sleeps best in. Many allergy-prone babies sleep best in 100 percent cotton sleepwear.
Give baby a quiet place to sleep. Finish all of your household chores and tasks before you put your baby to sleep.
Get to baby quickly when they wake up. Try to determine what make them wake up. You may be able to settle them back down to return to sleep.
Sleep is not something you can force your baby to do.
Common Conditions that Cause Night Waking
- Teething pain – this can start as early as three months and continue on and off through two years.
- Wet or soiled diapers – change diapers before your last feeding.
- Irritating sleepwear – some babies don’t like synthetic fabrics.
- Too hot or too cold – Your baby may be too warm or too cold.
Postpartum and Night Doula
Need an extra set of hands? Learn how a postpartum doula and night nanny can help with sleep strategies and watch baby while you get a good night’s rest.
Download our checklist of common waking causes and what to do.