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38 Tips To Get Your Toddler to Sleep

Sleeping Tips from Moms

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We asked you to send in your baby sleep tips - and you did. Thanks to all you moms (and dads).

1. We have three kids under the age of four. We nurse "on demand," do not supplement, and each baby has slept with Mom from birth to between ages 18 months and 2 years. Mom sleeps, baby sleeps, nursing is provided as kind of an "all-night buffet," and no one has to get out of bed in the middle of the night! Works for us! - Sheridan Family

2. I usually go for a car ride, and my son falls fast asleep once we hit the road. Another way is, I put him in his travel system stroller and go for a stroll outside, or when it's in the wee hours, just stroll him in the house, which works every time. - Rosaida

3. I am on my third child, who is 3 months old now. I always give the baby a gentle tickle massage to help calm him. I also hold him upright and slow dance with him, and that always puts him to sleep. - Marlaina

4. My baby is 1 week old and she sleeps through the night. I feed her as much as she wants before I am ready to go to bed and then wrap her real tight, lay her on her side, and she sleeps all night long. - Ashli

young boy sleeping in a bed

5. Our solution is to give baby Natural Baby Calm (Google it). It is a powdered magnesium citrate, a form of magnesium easily absorbed by our bodies. Magnesium helps muscles and bodies to relax (it's the key ingredient of Epsom Salts!). We give it before the next to last feeding and then feed baby. It may be given more often if necessary. Baby sleeps well all night. Mommy and Daddy take 1 pill form of Magnesium Citrate to help our muscles relax at night and sleep better, too! Find it all at your health food store. -Corey

6. I was able to get my 6-week-old on a schedule by giving him a bath every night at 7:30, rubbing him down with bedtime lavender lotion, feeding him a bottle and putting him to bed by 8:30. He is now 9 weeks old, and has been sleeping until 6:30 am. It took a few days for him to get the hang of the schedule, but he is doing very well at it now. - Kristen

7. My daughter, Emily, is 9 weeks old and every night I give her 3 teaspoons of cereal in her last bottle (4 oz), and she sleeps straight through to 6:00 am. - Ei

8. If you want your baby to sleep through the night, get the book "Babywise." My son was sleeping through the night at 7 weeks for 8 hours!  - Jamie

9. My baby is 10 weeks old and she loves to sleep with music. So most often I sing to her and she will sleep for eight to ten hours. -Bessem

10. Massage your baby's knees. Either while baby is cradled in one arm or as bath time is completed, massage the knee caps in a circular motion lightly with your fingertips. This "unexpected" technique distracts Baby's focus from being upset and surprisingly, soothes and comforts "cranky moments"--it "woos" them. Above all, always remain calm and do not allow frustration to result from difficulty calming baby. Remember, babies rely on our ability to secure their needs even though they themselves don't understand them. -Honeybun

11. I found that keeping my baby on a schedule worked. No naps after 6pm, then at 9pm I bathe her, get her ready for bed and wrap her. Then I breastfeed her and she falls asleep by 9:45pm-10pm. She’ll sleep between 6 and 8hours through the night. - Carmen

12. To prepare our daughter for bed, we dim the lights and get her in her pajamas. Then we read a story. Afterward, we turn off the lights (except for her night light) and play "Stops Crying - Heartbeat Lullabies CD Vols. 1 & 2" by Terry Woodford very softly. It was given to me by a nurse who said they played it in the hospital nursery for newborns and it worked wonders...it works like a charm for us too. -Kath

13. Basically, what I do to get my baby to sleep is feed her a bottle of milk and swaddle her firmly, but not too tight. During the whole day I breastfeed her, but at night time I give her a bottle, because she gets full from the bottle more than from my breasts. I keep her awake for two hours before she sleeps, that way she sleeps seven hours at night. She sleeps from midnight to seven in the morning. -Samira

14. Find a noise that calms your baby when they are awake. Then at bedtime, get them nice and full, wrap them up nice and warm, and turn on the calming noise, whatever it may be, and they should go right to sleep. It works for me and my daughter. -Ami

15. My son seems to fall asleep faster when I rub his head - just a few strokes of his head and he's out like a light. -Maranda

16. When my son was one month old I started this and he has been sleeping through the night ever since. I would put him to bed at 9 30 or 10 every night, but he would wake up about 1 a.m. I knew he wasn't hungry, so I would get him up and rock him back to sleep without feeding him (if he was hungry I would feed him, but most of the time he just wanted up) and after about a week of doing this he wouldn't wake up anymore and was sleeping from 10pm to about 6 or 7 every morning. He has always been a good sleeper, but with him sleeping through the night he forfeited his naps. Now at 5 months, he sleeps from 10p.m to 8 or 9a.m. every night and I can usually get him to take a 2 to 3 hour nap a day. Plus with my pediatrician's consent, I started putting one tablespoon of rice cereal in his bedtime bottle. His routine consists of bath at 9, then we talk for about 30 minutes and I get him ready for his bottle at 9:45 and he is in bed by 10 15 every night. -Jess

17. What always helps me is to have bath time before bed. Remember to sing and play. Then a warm bottle while talking or singing gently. Once your baby is quiet or asleep, put on gentle music or a mobile, or gentle natural sounds and lay your baby down. Don't forget to lay them down gentle, so that they don't jump or get startled, and wrap them tight so they feel as if mother or father is close. If your baby is used to noise, keep the television or radio at a normal speaking level. -Terreka

18. It's really simple (if they don't have colic)

  • Be consistent: set up a time for them to go to sleep each night

  • Get rid of the TV: keep the lights off and noise to a minimum in the room the baby's sleeping in

  • Make sure they take regular naps: counter intuitively, sleeping during the day makes for smoother transitions at night. -Chris

19. I usually hold my baby real close to me till she falls asleep. That's her security. Plus, she likes to be close to me like she was when she was in the womb. When I know she's asleep, I put her in her bassinet. -Lance

20. Don't wait till they're too tired because it gets harder to put them to sleep. I have My Baby on a schedule. I make sure he is asleep by 7:30 every night; I swaddle him, dim the light and rock him to sleep. He wakes up twice to eat, but goes right back to sleep and wakes up at 7:30 the next day. -Maria

21. Rock them to sleep. Hold them close to your heart so they hear it beat, swaddle them and sing gently to them; let them know that they are well accepted even if they cry. Have lots of patience; even if you get up early for work or school the next day, count on not getting sleep; even if you are awake for five hours in the middle of the night. Give them a warm bath. And if they're just start getting annoying and you know that they are not in pain, hungry or wet, let them cry, it's good for them. They'll get tired of their own selves and eventually fall asleep. -Anna

22. I know what you are going through. I just had my third baby and I always keep in mind what the nurses did after I had my wonderful bundles of joy. If your baby has a clean diaper and has a full tummy, but just doesn’t want to give in to a little shut eye. Wrap them up in a blanket. Swaddle them like the nurses did. It really works. My baby is almost six weeks old and I still swaddle her. If I don’t she almost always wakes herself up. Good luck and just keep in mind the sleep-deprivation won’t last forever. -Hillary

23. I have a 6-week-old baby girl and what I have done is given her formula at night only. Otherwise she is on breast milk for the rest of the day. I also try to keep her up after 6:00pm. She will sleep any where form 7 to 8 hours a night. - Monica

24. Our baby has been sleeping through the night since he was 6 weeks old. I had to be back to work by 10 weeks and knew I had to get him on some kind of schedule or I'd be a tired wreck. I would have never of thought at such a young age I would be able to develop a schedule for my baby. I started off by keeping him up throughout the day for 3 days (With very small naps here and there). He would cry and fuss and it would just break my heart. I made my boyfriend deal with him. I'd have to walk out of the room because I knew how tired the baby must have been. So, by 8 PM I would take him a bath give him a bottle and off to sleep he would go. Now that he is 12 weeks old the schedule still lives on. 8 PM bath (Even if I don't wash him and just let him play in the water for 5-10 minutes) which he loves, then a feeding in his room in the dark in a rocking chair, then burp him and off to sleep he goes. I try to make sure he is in bed and a sleep my 9 PM but sometimes it can run into 9:30 PM depending on how long he decides to drink his bottle. I make sure to keep him upright after his feeding for about 15 minutes so that he doesn't spit up (It's easy for me to monitor the time because he as a toy that plays songs in the increments of 5, 10, or 15 minutes. So, I turn on the music at a low volume and let it run for 15 minutes). Since, 6 weeks old he has never woken up in the middle of the night for a feeding. He sleeps until 6:30 AM or 7:30 AM straight. And when he wakes up boy is he hungry. I've heard from my family and friends that I'm very lucky that he has adapted to this schedule so quickly. I am blessed. He's a beautiful baby. -Anna

25. My four month old daughter goes to bed between 7:30 - 8pm and wakes up at 8am every morning. Around 7pm I start the process, ( yes, it is a process ) by giving her a night time bath with Johnson's night time wash with lavender, then giving her a gentle message with the Johnson's night time lotion with lavender and put her jammies on. If you bathe your baby every other day you can still message her with the lotion so they associate the smell with bed time. Lavender is very calming. After that I feed her very well in a dim lighted room with calming music or the television on low volume and rock her. When she starts falling asleep, I swaddle her in a receiving blanket (babies move a lot and probably wake themselves up by doing so) and lay her to bed with no night lights on or anything like that. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can always turn it back on once your baby has fallen asleep but I think the total darkness helps them stay asleep. Hope this works for you too! If it does not happen the first time, keep trying. It is a great routine that can help them when they are older as well. -Angel

26. I swear by swaddling - both of my children slept by 12 weeks through the night. Kiddopotamus makes great ones that are so easy to use and keep baby snug. They need it, even if you think they hate it...they don't. -Hayley

27. There are a few things I do to get my son to sleep. After he eats for the last time that night, I swaddle him, rock him and pat his back. I have been doing it since he was born so he knows it is time for bed. Also, I limit the rocking to 10 or 15 minutes, depending on how tired he is. Then, I put him in him crib whether he is asleep or not because at that point, even if he isn't asleep, as soon as I put him down, he falls asleep. -Jessica

28. I usually give my son a bath with Lavender Baby Wash. Afterward, I usually massage him with Baby Lotion. Then I play with him for a while and then give him a warm bottle. He usually falls asleep. This worked for me for both of my boys. -Camilla

29. Sometimes if I can't get my baby to sleep in her bassinet I will put her in bed with me and she will fall fast to sleep. I think it's because she feels warm, and content next to her mommy like she did in the womb. -Anon

30. We recently purchased a white noise machine which helps immensely. -Tom

31. "I put non-carbonated, zero everything strawberry-flavored water in my baby's bottle before bed. It took a little while, but before long he learned that when he got this special treat it was time for bed. It worked much faster than teaching him a drawn out routine. If he woke up in the night I gave him another strawberry-flavored bottle and he went right back to sleep. Then in the morning I would go back to the regular bottles."  - Diana

32. "My baby goes to sleep so much more peacefully when I put him down before he gets too tired. I think a lot of new parents make the mistake of trying to put a baby to sleep when he is "obviously tired," which is too late. Put your baby to bed in his bed or bassinet while he is still happy and "quietly alert"!" - Annida

33. "Ja'Shawn is my grandson. We calm him down by lying him on his back and turning the ceiling fan on low. He loves it." - Patrice

34. "I have a five-week-old baby, and the way we get her to settle down and sleep is by playing music. She loves it. She'll be fussy and restless, and we'll put on some music and she's out in a couple of minutes. She'll sleep for hours." Lacey

35. "At night when my little one wakes up and wants to be rocked back to sleep, I wrap a blanket around her back. This way, when I lay her back down, she doesn't wake up from the temperature change of going from my warm arms to a cold bed sheet." - Jesse

36. "I am a new mother of a budding 12lbs 10oz baby girl. I have tried everything that people have told me to do, and I finally found what works for me. Around 9:30-10:00pm, I give her a warm bath and a warm bottle, and before she's finished with her bottle she is fast asleep until about 3:30-4:00am. Now, this may not work for everyone, but it's worth a try." - Tomesha

37. "Try feeding your baby a 4 - 5oz. bottle of rice or cereal before bed. They get full and fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Ask your doctor first to see if your baby is old enough for cereal. " - Butterfly14me

  • [Editor's note: it's very important to check with your doctor first. Young babies can develop allergic reactions if they are introduced to cereal too soon.]

38. "I have found that keeping my baby on a tight schedule and no naps past 6pm works. I try to keep her very active for the three hours before bed time. My daughter is nine weeks old and sleeps for eight to ten hours straight through the night." - R14blondie

 
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