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Top Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep


When your baby isn’t sleeping well, it can be easy to worry, but don’t, we have lots of tips to improve day-time napping as well as night-time sleeping.

Day-time naps 

Around 2-3 months, your baby should have their days and nights established, and hopefully, they will be sleeping more at night and a pattern for daytime naps will begin to be established.  If that’s not happening, here are some tips you can try to help encourage your little one to take naps during the day.  

Get to know your baby

All babies are unique: some can nap very little and be fine, others thrive with routines. If your baby is happy without much daytime sleep, and is sleeping well at night then don’t be overly concerned about napping. Sometimes, babies won’t establish a nap routine until closer to 6-8 months old, and at that point they may start sleeping for a solid two hour nap.   

Know the signs of exhaustion

On average, a baby that is 3-6 months old can stay away for two hours at a time.  Signs of a tired little one to look for would be: red eyes, yawning, and/or glazed expression. When you notice one or more of those signs, take them out of a stimulating environment and put them down for a sleep. When babies get overtired, they aren’t able to sleep.

Keep nap locations consistent

Where your little one will nap can impact how well they nap. You may enjoy placing your little one in the stroller and going for a walk each day; or maybe you prefer to stay home so you can get a few things done or take a nap yourself. If you would like to establish a firm daytime routine, then their crib/bedroom is the best place. It’s good for your little one to get used to sleeping through noise, so don’t feel like you have to tiptoe around the house- run a vacuum, play music, and just go about your normal routine. 

Create a ritual for before nap

Your baby will quickly learn the sleep cues if you perform the same ritual before nap every time. It could be something simple such as: place them in their crib, shut the curtains, give them a kiss, turn on some soft music or a sound machine and leave the room.

Make sure your baby is “tired enough” to sleep

A newborn baby gets tired just being alive, but older babies need a bit more “play time” in order to get sleepy enough to want to rest. No need to feel like you have to constantly be playing with your little one, but make sure you have plenty of face to face interaction and talk to them throughout the day.  You will want to avoid any TV or screen time at this age.  

Baby only sleeping for 45 minutes?

If your little one is waking shortly after they fall asleep, you can try some quiet patting/shushing. If that doesn’t help, try taking them out for a walk in the stroller, or going for a car ride.  If that still doesn’t help, remember, it’ll be nap time again before you know it.

Night-time sleep

If you are running short on sleep because your baby isn’t sleeping well and all your friends are talking about their uninterrupted night's rest, you likely are frustrated and wondering how you can achieve the same. Here are some tips to try.

Routine is key

You can begin a bedtime routine when your little one is two months old.  You can make your bedtime routine all your own, but most commonly it involves eating, bath time, baby massage, pjs, and a story.  A solid routine will mean a solids nights sleep.  Keep the routine short and calming, and make sure that it’s done in the room you plan to put them down to bed in.

Is your baby getting enough food?

If your little one is always waking up hungry during the night and they are older than six months, it’s a good idea to evaluate your daytime feedings.  You may need to introduce more solid food if they are old enough to have solids (about 6-12 months old).

Too long of a daytime nap?

Most babies that are 6 months old should be getting a total of three hours of naps during the day.  By the time they are a year old, it will be two to two and a half hours.  Some babies don’t need that much, so if they aren’t sleeping at night- cut down on their daytime naps to see if that helps.  Make sure your little one is not napping after 4pm.  

Try moving bedtime up a little

When your little one isn’t sleeping well, it’s tempting to keep them awake longer in hopes that they will be tired enough to sleep, but this may result in your baby getting overtired and not sleeping well.  Try gradually moving up bedtime by a few minutes each day until it’s somewhere between 7pm and 8.30pm, depending on what works best for your family.

Teach them to self soothe

When you aren’t there, it’s important for your baby to be able to fall asleep on their own. Don’t make rocking and/or feeding to sleep part of the nightly routine. Tuck your baby in, say goodnight, and leave the room. If they don’t settle down, wait a short time, then go in and pat them or stroke their check a few times, then leave the room again. Repeat this as long as they need you: be boring and quiet, don’t engage them more than needed.  As the night goes on, try to give them a longer and longer time to settle themselves. It may take several nights, and those nights will seem very long, but sleep experts say you’ll see results in 3-4 days maximum.

Remember, a bad night will happen

It’s important to remember that we are dealing with babies, and our expectations of how they will sleep may not be met.  Do your best to create healthy sleep habits and an environment where your baby will want to sleep, but know that there will always be those nights where nothing seems to work. Tomorrow is another day…

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