Tricks for How to Get Your Newborn To Sleep
Baby sleep hacks and baby sleep tips should be the number one resource they send you home with from the hospital. Destined to give you a baby that sleeps hours as night and is easy to get to sleep. Awwww. Doesn’t that sound SO GOOD?
The first couple nights after O was born, he slept like a champ. But that was in the hospital when he was a tiny tired brand new newborn.
Did you know that newborns are exhausted from all that hard work of being born? That’s why you barely get to catch a glimpse of those sweet little eyes staring at you and you have to tickle their toes to wake them up to eat. That’s where they trick us into thinking they’re phenomenal sleepers. 😉
The nurses in the hospital even raved that our baby did so well overnight, and we were feeling like we had really hit the jackpot (don’t get me wrong, we had a healthy baby boy – we totally had).
But then came our first night home. And let me tell you, our champion of sleep baby finally really slept like a baby.
Wow. It was hard.
But we thought it was just the first night, so the next night will be better.
Except it was still hard.
And the sleep cycle continued.
As brand new parents, we didn’t know what to try next. We needed more sleep and our baby needed more sleep. If you’re desperate, I hear you, and I totally get it.
Thankfully all our research and maybe a little luck led us to a baby that finally slept through the night. Hopefully some of these baby sleep hacks will help your little one too!
13 Baby Sleep Tips & Hacks You Need To Try
1. Swaddle, SleepSack, Magic Sleepsuit
Hey burrito baby! Swaddling your baby is one of the most important baby sleep tips. Once your little one gets bigger you’ll want to try a sleepsack or magic sleepsuit (you can read about why I swear by the Magic Sleepsuit to help baby sleep!).
A swaddle helps your baby feel secure and safe – just like they were in the womb. Your baby is still adjusting to life in the world and having that sense of closeness that they felt for 9 months helps them feel more comfortable.
Make sure your swaddle is tight and secured safely around your baby. If your baby isn’t snug, your swaddle isn’t doing it’s job.
Can you say amazing during the middle of the night? I have to admit that these velcro swaddles are way easier than trying to rewrap your little one when you’re exhausted!
2. Don’t Change Baby’s Diaper Unless You HAVE To
It’s time to stop changing your baby’s diapers every time you see a blue line.
*gasp* Did I just say that?
Let your baby sit in pee?
During the night, you can and should change your baby’s diaper if they poop or have a lot of pee in their diaper. However, if it’s just a little bit, leave your baby sleeping!
Trying to change your baby’s diaper can be enough to rouse them and interrupt their sleep pattern. Diapers are very absorbent.
Tip: If you find that your little one is frequently peeing out of his diaper, you may need to try a larger size or an overnight diaper.
Our favorite overnight diapers have been Huggies Overnights. We usually shop the diaper deals, but have found that for overnights – getting the name brand nighttime diapers is well worth it.
3. Only Turn on as Much Light as You Need
If you absolutely need to change your baby’s diaper or they need to eat during the night, only turn on as much light as you need.
They make some amazing baby night lights that are push button. These usually are just dim enough to keep your baby sleepy, but bright enough to help you see what you’re doing.
Tip: Use jammies that are zip up instead of buttons. The zippers will make getting baby back in her pajamas easier and faster during the night. No fumbling around with buttons or snaps!
4. Use Blackout Shades/Curtains
Make your baby’s room as dark as possible for sleeping. I’m not just talking about darkening shades – I mean BLACKOUT shades.
This helps your baby know that it’s time to sleep and helps keep him or her asleep even when the sun comes up early.
Tip: During the day, expose your baby to lots of natural sunlight. Take him out for a walk or play in a sunny room. This will help your baby differentiate between “play time” and “sleep time”
5. Try a Dream Feed
Many parents have good luck trying to dream feed their baby before bed.
What’s a dream feed?
A dream feed is when your baby is already sleeping, but you go in and gently wake her to feed her right before you go to bed, hopefully around 10 or 11pm.
The idea of a dream feed is that it’ll help your baby feel full and stay asleep longer, rather than waking up only an hour after you go to bed to eat again.
After your baby finishes her dream feed try to gently lay her back down, drowsy, but awake. This should help baby learn to fall asleep on her own without being fed to sleep, and hopefully give you a few more hours of sleep as well!
6. Use White Noise and SHHHH Sounds
White noise is another comfort for babies. Actually, there’s several reasons it’s recommended!
The first reason using white noise for your baby is so beneficial is because it mimics the sounds a baby hears in the womb. The muffled, constant noise they hear can give them comfort compared to the stark quiet of the night.
Another benefit to white noise is that it helps drown out any other household voices and noises. You no longer have to be silent in your own house!
Finally, a white noise machine can help create a routine for your baby, just like the darkness of her room. White noise can help signal that it’s time for sleep and prepare your baby for a restful night.
This is my favorite white noise machine – it’s super portable and simple to use. As a bonus, Amazon is usually running some type of deal on it, which is great for budgeting parents!
Shush, Shush, Shush
You might have also heard that shushing your baby can work wonders. We used this trick often and it really did help calm our baby down.
To be effective, your “shush”-es should be loud and deliberate. You’re not yelling in your baby’s ear, but it’s not a super soft shush either. You’re trying to imitate that sound in the womb again and help calm your baby.
Be prepared, you might be shushing for a long time, but it’s a trick that just might work for your little one – especially in a pinch.
7. Use Lullabies
Sometimes you want to use a little more than white noise.
Playing soft lullabies from a radio or baby stuffed animal can help your baby sleep better.
Look for ones that play soft, sweet lullabies for at least 30 minutes. This will make sure the music doesn’t turn off too soon, before your baby has drifted off to sleep. Finding one that’s portable, and easy to turn on and off is also a perk!
We’ve used this one for our baby since day one and he loves it!
8. Use a Lovey
Using a lovey for your baby can help create a sense of security. However, don’t forget that your newborn will probably be swaddled for quite some time, so a lovely may not come into play for several months.
So what is a lovey?
A lovey is simply a comfort object for your baby. Anything from a blanket to stuffed animal.
Don’t forget the American Academy of Pediatrics though – nothing in the crib with baby!
So how do you know when you can use a lovey? Check out this article all about loveys to find out more.
9. Let Baby Smell You
Some moms swear by this trick. Take a t-shirt that you’ve worn and put it near your baby’s crib.
Not close enough for her to grab, but close enough where she can smell you and feels you’re near. Newborns have a strong sense of smell, especially for their mommas.
The smell of having you close will help your baby feel comforted and be able to fall asleep easier.
10. Warm Up Baby’s Crib or Use Fleece Sheets
Imagine being all warm and snuggled under blankets and all of a sudden you lay on a cold mattress with no blankets.
It doesn’t sound very calming and sleep inducing does it?
That’s how your baby feels when he’s moved from your sweet, warm embrace to laying on his own in his bassinet or crib.
Warming up your baby’s crib sheets or using fleece sheets can be a huge benefit in cooler climates. I’m still convinced our toddler sleeps best in the Minnesota winter on his fleece sheets!
11. Keep the Room Cool
Now, I know we just mentioned giving your baby a cozy place to sleep – BUT. When talking about baby sleep tips it’s important to know that the optimal sleeping temperatures for babies are between 68 and 72 degrees.
Try to keep your baby’s room at these temperatures to keep her cool and comfortable throughout the night.
12. Put Baby to Sleep When Tired (Avoid Overtired!)
It can be so tempting to think that if your baby doesn’t sleep now, he’ll sleep GREAT later. That’s not true!
Keeping your baby up later than he needs to be can cause him to have an even harder time going to back to sleep.
Ask any parent, there’s nothing harder than an overtired baby at bedtime – oofta.
That being said, watch for your baby’s signs that he’s tired and follow those tired cues. Putting your baby to sleep at the right time can be a huge part of finding a good, successful bedtime routine.
13. Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine for Baby
Creating a consistent bedtime routine for your baby is one of the baby sleep tips you shouldn’t ignore.
Your baby will begin to associate reading books, putting on pajamas, white noise, diaper changes – the whole bedtime ritual, with sleep!
You want to make sure you focus on positive sleep associations. This means associations you’re okay with your baby relating to going to sleep.
For example, if you don’t want your baby to rely on feeding to sleep nightly, you should gently wake her before laying her down to sleep. White noise and a darkened room are great examples of positive sleep associations.
What If Baby’s Still Not Sleeping Through The Night?
While you’ll probably hear miracle stories about babies that come home from the hospital and sleep through the night right away. Unfortunately, even with the best baby sleep tips, it’s not realistic for the majority of parents.
Keep your routines consistent and adjust them as needed. If you feel like your baby is not sleeping due to medical concerns talk to your doctor immediately. Otherwise some moms find help with a sleep coach or other baby sleep methods.
Just remember that most babies will wake up at least once during the night for many months. But don’t worry – you’ll start to feel like once is a miracle and be feeling better and more well rested in the meantime!