Your baby cries when you put them to bed, and they wake up again when you put them back in their crib or bassinet an hour later. If you’re like most parents, this situation sounds all too familiar, and you’re on the lookout for tips to help your baby sleep through the night. Fortunately, if you know what to do and follow these simple tips, it’s possible for your little one to get the rest they need and start sleeping through the night! Here are eight helpful tips to help your baby sleep through the night from infancy all the way to adulthood!
To encourage good sleeping habits, start early
Babies are creatures of habit, so they’ll be more likely to sleep through the night if they get on a regular schedule right from birth. Keep your baby awake for feedings during your designated feeding hours, but after she’s eaten, put her down before her bedtime. Just like you don’t let yourself fall asleep while watching TV (because you know you won’t be able to sleep afterward), don’t let your baby fall asleep while nursing or bottle-feeding either. This helps her learn how being awake is different from being asleep. And it’ll help you stick with a consistent bedtime and wake time later on too.
Limit screen time before bedtime
One of my favorite tips for helping your baby sleep through the night is to limit screen time before bedtime. There’s no need for kids—or adults, for that matter—to be glued to a TV or computer screen in their bedroom. Even reading on a Kindle can disturb your child’s natural circadian rhythm, since it emits just enough light (at least in certain models) to trick her brain into thinking it’s still daytime. For example, one study showed that middle-school students who read on a backlit device right before bed had more trouble falling asleep than those who didn’t read at all!
Create a Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine for your baby will go a long way in helping her fall asleep easily. What’s right for one child, however, may not be right for another. Each baby is different and you’ll want to adjust accordingly. The most important thing to remember when creating a good bedtime routine is consistency. Doing certain things at a certain time every night before going to sleep will help your baby understand what’s coming next and lessen any fears she may have about it (like going down in her crib). That way, she can focus on getting some rest and you can worry less about sleepless nights.
Use White Noise When Needed
Some babies sleep better with white noise. Consider using a fan, humidifier, sound machine, or other noise-maker in your baby’s room at night when they don’t sleep well and you need them to. (White noise can be pretty helpful for adults too!) And if you have one that doubles as a nightlight, bonus! Just make sure there aren’t any cords on it since those are a tripping hazard and a safety concern. The same goes for stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows—keep them out of reach since they could pose suffocation risks.
Have Safe Items Around Baby at All Times
Babies can’t tell you when they’re in pain or uncomfortable. We know because we’ve been there. As new parents, we spent countless hours and many sleepless nights going through various stages of trial and error with our daughter before she settled into a routine that worked for her—and us. For that reason, it’s critical that your baby has access to safe items at all times. Items like gripe water, essential oils for babies, organic teddy bears, and Boogie Wipes can be lifesavers for your baby and can make sleeping through the night much easier on both of you.
Having a bath
Newborns sleep best when they are warm, so if you have a choice between feeding your baby while she is wearing nothing but a diaper or while she is wrapped in a blanket, choose the diaper. Skin-to-skin contact makes babies feel more comfortable and relaxed. If you don’t want to put them down in their crib right after feeding them, take a bath with them instead. Studies have shown that babies who spend time soaking in warm water tend to fall asleep faster than those who don’t. Be sure to keep an eye on how long your baby has been out of her crib — if you notice that she seems groggy after 10 minutes or so, it might be time for another nap.
Don’t overstimulate babies right before bedtime
When you’re tucking your baby in for bed, avoid over stimulating them. Try playing a game of peek-a-boo, then saying goodnight and leaving. The more worked up your little one is before bedtime, the more difficult it can be for them to calm down and sleep. If you have any concerns about what time to start feeding your baby or if they’re getting enough, contact our office right away so we can address those issues together.
Rub your hand gently over a baby’s head and eyes
A gentle rub can help your baby relax, which will help him fall asleep more quickly. If you’re worried about waking up your baby if you have to go in and out of his room, practice rubbing his head on your arm or leg as you walk by while he’s sleeping. Before long, he’ll feel that touch when you get close, and it should be enough to lull him back into a peaceful slumber. After all, there’s nothing like having mama soothe away his cares. Rubbing a child’s eyes gently can also help them relax into sleep—think of it as one big kiss goodnight!