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The 4 Tricks You Need to Help Your Baby Sleep

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Tricks to Get your baby to sleep

We’re currently in a sweet bliss of easy bedtimes (however, I am worried that just typing that will put my babies in a sleep regression, shhh!!).

But, it hasn’t always been this way…

Bedtime can be such a stressful time – especially for parents of young babies or toddlers.

Your baby needs his sleep, but just can’t seem to give in to it.

As much as you love those sweet cuddles, sometimes you want to lay your baby down for a nap and be able to walk out of the room and get something done.

You’re wondering how and when they’ll go to sleep on their own, without any crying or fussing!

It’s okay momma, you’re in the right place! I’ve got some tips and tricks to help your baby sleep better and get to sleep a little easier.

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Our Own Baby Sleep Struggles

Before the amazing sleepsuit entered our lives, my husband and I read every article out there on how to get your baby to sleep.

I swear – every. Single. One.

Our baby boy was NOT one of those naturally great sleepers.

He was not sleeping through the night at 6 weeks or even 6 months.

He would only sleep when he was held, and even that took a lot of bouncing and swaying and shushing. Then he would wake up every time we put him down. It was exhausting. 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone!

But we finally did it and now our son sleeps like a champ! For more details on the sleepsuit that made us believers that babies can actually sleep well – check out this post on how we got our 4 month old to sleep.

However, a sleepsuit won’t do EVERYTHING for you. You’re going to want to make sure you try these 4 tricks to help your baby sleep.

bedtime routine - reading

4 Tricks You Need to Help Your Baby Sleep

These baby sleep tricks and tips are great for babies and toddlers of all ages. They’re great, healthy sleep habits that you should try to start as early as you can.

Trust me, these are the foundations of a great sleep routine for the whole family.

1. Have a Bedtime Routine & Be Consistent

One of the most frustrating aspects of reading all those articles on newborn and baby sleep was hearing “create a bedtime routine”.

*cue the eyeroll*

We wanted so badly to have a bedtime routine. We really did!

We tried every night to create the same pattern. But then our baby wouldn’t go to sleep.

We would end up bouncing him longer, singing to him, reading another book, or anything else we could think of because he was unhappy.

And then we were frustrated with ourselves for not having a bedtime routine.

Here’s what you CAN do: You cut yourself a break. A bedtime routine is great now that our baby sleeps so well, but it wasn’t always like that. Trying to have a routine is a great idea for helping your little one learn that bedtime is coming, but it isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t go as planned.

That being said, since our baby has been able to sleep better we’ve loved having a routine. At 10 months old, he would go to bed at 7pm and wake up at 7am (or later!).

All my sleep lovers say it together: AMAZING!

Here’s our current bedtime routine (and a sample baby bedtime routine for you!):

  • Supper at 6pm
  • Playtime from 6:20-6:45
  • Bath at 6:45 (if it’s bath night)
  • Diaper change & jammies
  • Reading a book (unless baby is really tired and just needs to go to sleep)
  • Feed (bottle or breastfeed)
  • Laying down to sleep – almost always awake!
bedtime

2. Use consistent tools: a sound machine, soft music, dark rooms, and a lovey

Step 2 for a great bedtime base: use consistent tools.

Using certain sleep cues will really help your baby know it’s time for bed. These are called sleep associations and there are positive and negative ones.

Let’s talk negative sleep associations first:

A negative sleep association is only “negative” because it’s something you don’t want your baby to ALWAYS associate with bedtime.

These could include rocking your baby to sleep, feeding to sleep, singing to sleep, dancing to sleep, you get the picture…

I hate calling this a “negative sleep association” because the cuddles are so good and they’re only little for so long! SO…if you’re okay with that, by all means, soak up those cuddles and rock your baby to sleep! However, if you want your little one to go to sleep on his own, it’s best to avoid those type of sleep associations.

Positive sleep associations can be a sound machine, soft music, and a lovey. These are things that you’re okay with using every night for your baby to help signal that it’s time to go to sleep.

Use a Sound Machine

Choose a sound machine that you can play all night for your little one.

After spending 9 months in the womb, your baby is used to hearing the soft whooshing that white noise provides. This noise is not only comforting to them, but also helped to drown out any additional noise in the house that might wake your baby.

If you don’t have a sound machine, you can utilize what you might already have at home such as a kindle or old cell phone. We used to use our Kindle Fire and use the free app “White Noise Lite“. We would set it to white noise and allow it to play all night.

Now we use this sound machine in both kids’ rooms, it’s easy to travel with and works great.

I also love this one and have heard great things about it. + It’s perfect for growing with your baby as it has the ability to set a timer to signal to your toddler it’s time to get up.

Big Red Rooster 6 Sound White Noise Machine Big Red Rooster 6 Sound White Noise Machine
$19.99

This sound machine is durable, portable, and a great price.

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09/24/2021 05:04 pm GMT
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine
$59.99

A sound machine + night light + time-to-rise light = the total package.


The Hatch is more than a sound machine and will grow with your baby as he or she has different sleep needs. Rightfully so, this best seller also has rave reviews.

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09/24/2021 02:17 am GMT

Play Soft Music

Try playing soft music or lullabies for your little one as they’re settling down to sleep. The routine of hearing the music helps your baby know that it’s time to rest.

We have the SwaddleMe Elephant Soother and love it! It has different soft bedtime sounds to choose from, a light, and has a set timer. I’m also pretty sure it’s our baby’s best friend. He loves to cuddle and hug it.

Make it Dark!

Close your shades! Whether you just made the room or dim or pitch black is up to you. It’s all about creating the atmosphere that your baby recognizes as time to sleep.

We began using blackout curtains to help our baby sleep in later in the morning and it worked. Now we simply close the blinds for naps.

Lovey

Give your baby a lovey (if she’s old enough!).

A lovey is a small toy or stuffed animal that your baby uses as a comfort object. As your baby gets older he/she will start to realize you’re gone and miss you. A lovey gives them comfort during the night when you’re not present.

*Many parents choose to wait until their child is 12 months old before offering them a lovey.

Baby Sleep Made Simple has a great article here on whether or not a lovey is safe for your little one. A reminder that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby under the age of 1 should sleep in an empty crib.

baby toes use swaddles

3. Use Your Tools! Swaddles & Sleepsuits for the early months.

Don’t be afraid to use the great products made to help babies sleep! Swaddling a baby is key to helping them calm down and get ready for sleep.

The tight wrap and coziness gives your little one a sense of security while helping him not wake himself up from his startle reflexes.

There are simple steps you can follow to swaddle your baby with any blanket (Mama Natural shows some great ways here), or you can invest in a
SwaddleMe or HALO SleepSack which do the work for you!

As your little one gets older, he or she may like having their arms free. The HALO SleepSack has the option for this, but we found the best luck with Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

The sleepsuit allowed our little one, who ALWAYS woke up when we laid him down, to stay asleep and even fall asleep on his own – it was amazing and changed our lives (check out the full story here).

awake baby

4. Put Your Baby Down Awake

I remember reading over and over again – “the trick to getting your baby to sleep better is putting him down awake”.

I know this is another one you’ll read about a million times, but if you can get it to work for you, it’s sooo good. 

Okay, so how do you start putting your baby down awake?

  1. Start early. Our little guy would struggle with sleep, but even at a month old he would have {rare} times where he would happily lay in his bassinet and just look around. It was bedtime and we knew he was tired so we laid him down in his bassinet. This helped him get used to falling asleep on his own, without being fed or rocked to sleep. 
  2. If your baby does fall asleep while eating, try to gently rouse him/her just slightly so they’re awake when you lay them down. This way if your little one wakes up during the night, they’re not surprised that you’re gone. The best analogy I’ve heard is to imagine that you go to sleep in your bed next to your spouse, and suddenly you wake up and you’re sleeping in your backyard alone. You’d probably be a little startled and confused. Just like your little one if they wake up somewhere new without you.
  3. Don’t expect instant results. If you’ve made a habit of putting your little one to bed already asleep, it may take a little practice getting them used to doing it without you.

Just like a routine, it’s okay to be flexible.

You might not hear this from everyone, but every once in a while if your baby falls asleep eating and you lay him down, without waking him up – it’s going to be okay.

Maybe your baby’s sick and needs some extra cuddles. You know your little one best and it’s okay to parent the way you think is best.

Want more baby sleep tips and have these basics down? Don’t miss these 13 bonus sleep tips to help you when nothing seems like it will.

My Baby Goes To Sleep Well, But Still Wakes Up During the Night

Maybe getting your baby to sleep isn’t the problem. Maybe the real issue is that your baby still wakes up frequently during the night.

If your baby is over 6 months old, growing well and still waking up during the night – you are not alone! There’s a couple reasons this could be happening:

  1. Your little one is used to it. It’s your baby’s pattern to wake up every night at 4am and eat or see you.
  2. Your little one is going through a sleep regression/growth spurt. Doesn’t it seem like there are way too many of those? It always makes me a little excited though, as I feel like he’s learning something new and I can’t wait to see what!
  3. Finally – your little one is actually hungry. If you’re breast feeding, this could be a possibility. Breast milk goes through a baby much more quickly than formula. I am a proud supporter of breast feeding, but want to be very honest with you. My baby did not sleep all the way through the night until he was weaned to formula at 10 months old (this wasn’t why we weaned him, but was an awesome benefit of the switch). The first night he had formula before bed, he slept all the way through the night and he hasn’t reverted since. I am by no means saying you should formula feed your baby to get him to sleep through the night, but want you to be aware of the the results of our experience.
sleep baby. holding hands

Top Sleep Tips To Remember

Remember those sleep associations we talked about earlier? Really think of what you want your baby to associate with sleep and be prepared to commit to it long term.

Sleep associations/consistency are the basis of ALL 4 steps.

  1. Work on a bedtime routine. Even if it doesn’t go as planned – just make sure you’re trying!
  2. Be consistent: white noise, soft music, dark room, and lovely
  3. Utilize sleep suits and swaddle blankets
  4. Put your baby down awake

Related: Baby Sleep Tips You Can’t Miss (from a baby sleep expert!) Newborn —> 6 Months

Good luck and sleep tight! Be sure to sign up here for 4 bonus sleep tips and your FREE Guide to Better Baby Sleep printable:

4 tricks to help baby sleep
help your baby sleep

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this detailed and practical guide to helping your baby sleep well. It’s not always easy! Despite being a minimalist myself, I strongly agree that in those first months you need to use some specific sleep products (like the swaddle and Merlin sleep suit you recommend.)

    1. You’re welcome Jilly! I completely agree. We struggled for several months until we finally figured out what worked for our babies. It can be so challenging to decipher what’s best for your little one! Some products make all the difference, especially when it comes to good sleep for everyone. 🙂

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