6 Tips to Help Baby Sleep

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Photo by Christopher Meredith

I know. I’ve been there. So exhausted that I couldn’t do anything but weep and beg my baby to sleep. I’ve fallen asleep while physically rocking a cradle and praying to God for delivery.

So, after much desperation, after two children, and after asking dozens of women what works, I present to you some strategies that did help. I’m not promising that they will all work for you, but I sure hope one or two of them will.

The Womb Sounds Bear Audio Pacifier

I don’t want to act like a commercial for another baby “device” that you really don’t need, but this silly contraption really did help my daughter fall asleep. I would strap it to her crib and the (somewhat creepy) imitation of my heartbeat in the womb would sing her to sleep. The downside was, that mine had a timer, and sometimes when the bear shut off, my baby turned back on, but still … for our family, it was worth the $18 investment.

The Bedtime Bath

This solution sounded so overly simple, that I ignored my sister’s advice for months. I thought, nah, that can’t work. Too easy. But it did work. It worked wonders. Just before bed, I gave my son a bath, and it did calm him down and help him fall asleep. Especially if I added a few drops of lavender essential oil, which leads me to …

Aromatherapy

Yep, I said it. The scent of lavender (as well as other oils) can truly help a baby “unwind.” Be sure to spring for the real thing, however. A bottle of essential oil will last you nearly forever, so it’s not as expensive as it seems, especially if it buys you a few hours of shuteye. Be sure to get essential oil, which actually comes from a plant, not fragrance oil, which comes from God knows where. Then just add a few drops to the bath, and voila! Fragrant sleepytime. You can also put a diffuser in your baby’s room, to keep the aromas circulating all night long.

Try a Different Sleep Spot

Turns out my son hated his cradle. He just wouldn’t sleep. I mean – Would. Not. Sleep. So long before he was too big for the cradle, we plopped him in the crib, mostly just to give ourselves a change of scenery. And he nearly instantly fell asleep. We don’t need to understand why something works, right? As long as it does. So maybe putting baby in a different spot, or wheeling her cradle or playpen into a different room will help.

Try a Different Outfit

Dr. Sears backs me up on this: some babies just don’t like some materials. I would also argue that babies have a different definition in their little brains of “comfortable temperature.” I changed my son’s pajamas five times before figuring out that he just wanted to be naked. So we put an extra heater in his room, and let him sleep in just a diaper.

Wear Your Baby Out

This worked for both my children. If I tucked them into a wrap or sling, they instantly fell asleep. The trick then becomes, getting them out of the wrap and keeping them asleep. If this doesn’t work, consider asking daddy, gramma, or a friend to wear your baby for a while so that you can get some shuteye.

If it’s any consolation, and I doubt that it is, remember that babies really are not supposed to be good at sleeping. They are still used to sleeping inside mommy’s womb, and this weird world just isn’t the same. Remember too that this is a (very) temporary problem and soon you will be trying to rustle your teenager out of bed for school.

Special thanks to Robin Merrill for contributing this resourceful guest post. You can find Robin blogging at uBaby, a website dedicated to helping every woman have a healthy pregnancy.


Comments

  1. 9

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your website for a
    while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

  2. 10
    Danielle says:

    Hi! I very much enjoy your blog and I haven’t yet went through it all so I apologize if you’ve already answered this question. My baby is 2 months old and I’m having much difficulty getting her to sleep day or night. Every where I’ve read says to put baby down awake giving them a chance to fall asleep on their own. While that sounds great its just not working. As soon as I lay her down awake she starts crying. And since you can’t self soothe until at least 4 or 5 months how am I supposed to accomplish this? So I’ve been rocking or walking her to sleep for both naps and night time sleep. It takes me anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours to finally get her down! Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • 11

      Hi Danielle, I’m having exactly the same problem with my 2 month old – any words of wisdom ? I also have a 3 year old so having to hold her all th time to get her to sleep is hard work and not fair on older son.

  3. 12

    Hi! Love your blog and advice. We have our 2 month old on (some semblance of) EASY but are struggling with early mornings.. she wakes up around 4:30 am but isnt particularly hungry- she’ll take about an ounce or so- she really just wants to be up and active. We put her to bed around 8 with a dreamfeed at 11. Any tips on how to extend her sleep? I would love to get her to stay asleep until 6.

  4. 13
    Sammy'sMomma says:

    My son is 7.5 months and he is standing in his crib. I am at a loss on how to dress him for bed! Been using Halo sleep sacks and we love them! Do I continue with the sleep sack or do I need to get those “walker” ones with legs? We want up him to be comfortable and safe….will he trip in the sleep sack? Looking for feedback on what others have done! Thanks!

    • 14

      Sammy’sMomma- May be a good idea to get some cozy onesies for the winter time. Probably time to get out of the sleep sacks if he’s standing – just to be safe :)

      • 15

        Hi I have a 2 month old daughter who only falls asleep with bottle or when being cuddled during day or night. She recently extended night time fir 7.30-4-5am with dream feed at 10-10.30pm. She’s not really hungry but wakes ever 2-3 hours during this time. Any tips on how to stop this and get her to sleep longer?

        I also have a 3 year old and trying to get baby to sleep during the day is a nightmare as he needs my Attention as well and I can’t get her to sleep on her own.

  5. 16

    So true! Not every tip will work for every baby…sure wish it would though!
    My son was a terrible sleeper when he was an infant! I BF till he was 15 months old…and we all know that breastmilk is digested faster…so its understandable he was hungrey during the night!
    Co-sleeping worked best for us! Once he started sleeping for shorter periods of time co-sleeping he moved to his swing. I tell you..try everything you can think of and stick to what works! When it no longer works, start working down the list again.
    My exhausted mom-sleep tip: when your baby is fussy and just not relaxing for sleep…strip down your top and lay side by side snuggled up close and gently rub your baby’s belly in a circular clockwise motion. Helps with gas and with relaxing! Best of all…you get to lay down and relax too(or as best as you can in that situation).

    • 17
      Noob Mommy says:

      Thanks for the comment Tara! I love your last tip about some good old skin-to-skin snuggle time. It is very relaxing and peaceful, and one of the best ways to bond with our noobs.

    • 18

      Awesome advice! Sometimes we get tired enough to sleep as they fuss! Not ideal, but better than nothing! :)

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