5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep { and a Giveaway! }

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One of the greatest challenges for new parents is when their baby won’t sleep. So often new parents are told to “sleep when baby sleeps.” But what happens when your baby just won’t sleep or at least won’t sleep longer than 45 minutes at a time? That is often when parents start to research how to help their baby sleep better.

Teaching your baby to learn healthy sleep habits is something the whole family benefits from. Your baby is not overtired or quite as fussy and mom and dad feel like they are able to better parent their baby when the whole family is getting some sleep. For those you who might be struggling with a poorly sleeping baby, here are 5 tips to help your baby go to sleep easier:

1. Develop a Good Sleep Routine – Babies and toddlers thrive on routine and predictability. With good nap and bedtime routines, your baby or toddler will know what to expect and will start to welcome sleep as part of their day. We recommend starting your bedtime routine 20-30 minutes before bedtime and can include diaper and pajamas, breastfeeding/bottle/cup (for babies under 2), teeth brushing, potty (if applicable), reading, cuddling, and then lights out. Your nap routine will be similar to the bedtime routine, but is usually about 10 minutes long.

A sleep routine does not have to include a bath. Often a baby or toddler does need a bath each night and, if a child is spirited, a bath may actually do more to energize the child than calm him. Consider moving bath time to the afternoon if you think it’s not a good fit with the bedtime routine.

2. Schedule an Early Bedtime – You’ve likely heard it before: Sleep begets sleep. An early bedtime is a key element to a good night’s sleep for baby. When babies and young children become overtired, they often have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep or will wake too early in the morning. Sometimes parents are told to keep a baby up later as way to get him to sleep later, but the opposite is actually true.  An earlier bedtime is usually recommended to help with early morning waking.

3. Ensure Baby Takes Naps – Good naps during the day are also essential to better sleep at night. We recommend that naps last at least an hour and are in a quiet place. Moving naps, such as in a car, stroller or swing are not quite as a restful.  Shorter, more frequent naps are quite common for babies under 6 months of age. Awake time for newborns can sometimes be as short as an hour before they need a nap. Learn and watch for your baby’s sleep cues to help find a good nap schedule for your baby.

4. Avoid Sleep Associations – Babies, like all humans, have natural sleep cycles, which means that they will wake periodically during the night. Often new parents will use a soothing device or action, like a pacifier, bottle, nursing, or rocking to help their baby sleep, which baby cannot replicate on his own when he awakens between sleep cycles. When baby cannot go back to sleep, he will likely cry out for Mom or Dad to help him. Sleep associations are often at the root of many baby sleep problems. This is why you will so often hear the advice to put baby in bed drowsy but awake. This is so he is given the opportunity to learn to fall asleep on his own which will also help him be able to go back to sleep at night when he wakes.

5. Manage Night Feedings – Through the first nine months, it is considered normal for babies to eat one or two times during the night. Some babies stop much sooner on their own or with a little nudge from mom. If your baby is eating more than 1 to 2 per night or she is older than, you may want to consider cutting back (or cutting out) night feedings. All babies are different and experts disagree as to when feeding baby at night should stop. As parents, we know our babies best and we are the ones who are best able to determine whether our baby still needs to feed at night, More than two feedings after three months old though and you will likely want to assess if there is a developing sleep association with nursing or the bottle.

Every family’s situation is unique and our philosophy is that there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to your baby’s sleep. It takes courage and dedication to work through your baby’s sleep issues but the time you spend teaching your baby healthy sleep habits will be worth it for both you and your baby.

For additional help in creating a plan to help your baby learn to sleep better, we offer The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep eBook . This eBook offers a judgment free approach to helping your baby sleep through the night and is designed to condense all the baby sleep information out there so that you can be better informed to make the right decisions about your baby’s sleep that find what works for your family.

The Giveaway – 2 Winners

The Prizes (2): One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card + one (1) winner will receive The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep eBook.

Giveaway open Worldwide, 18+
Giveaway ends: June 19, 2012 @ 11:59 PM EST

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The Baby Sleep Site™  is owned and operated by Nicole Johnson, a baby and toddler sleep coach, wife, and the mother of two young boys. Thousands of  parents visit The Baby Sleep Site™ each month to find solutions for their children’s sleep problems, including personalized, one-on-one sleep consultations, comprehensive e-books on sleeping through the night, improving naps, and establishing routines and schedules, free articles on timely topics, and a strong community.


image: “Baby Maximus” by bonesdog (cc)


I write stuff, drink too much coffee, and laugh at my own jokes. You can read more here or catch up with me on Twitter @RemakingJune

41 Comments to 5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep { and a Giveaway! }

  1. My guy has always been a good sleeper- I guess I got lucky. He set his own routine very early on and was sleeping through the night before 6 weeks. That just means my next child is going to be a total terror! LOL

  2. I have been blessed with 4 good sleepers. It was important for me to get them on good sleep schedules early on and generally, all of them started sleeping through the night around 9 months old.

  3. I do not have a baby yet.,.. I will in 9 months buuuut I imagine this one will be the same as the last 2 and love to sleep with me. :)

  4. My child was definitely a baby who stuck to her own schedule, lol, she would wakeup in the wee am’s like clockwork. =)

  5. Mary Happymommy

    My kids have been so-so sleepers. I think they could have been worse, but they certainly weren’t “easy”.

  6. great advice . Just attended a sleep conference with some experts here in NJ. Research shows that babies do not “entrain” their circadian rhythms until they are 3-5 months old, so almost all new parents can expect a period of disturbed sleep for a few months. It’s not you and it’s not something you are doing”wrong”. Most babies are nocturnal in the very beginning. GREAT advice to watch for the tired cue – it’s often a yawn or an irritated cry in a newborn.. a change from cooing to kvetching or eye rubbing and hair tousling in a slightly older baby. Pay attention to that tired cure and get your baby read for sleep the minute you see it. good luck to all!

  7. Both my girls were good sleepers, although not necessarily during their first year! Once they hit about 4 months, though, they slept about 7 hours. Hollah! White noise is our friend. :)

  8. Alex Liz Robinson

    I hope my children wil be good sleepers! Who knows, I am a bad sleeper and my husband can sleep anywhere and any time!

  9. Tabathia B

    no she isn’t. she is constantly moving especially her legs in discomfort because of her disability

  10. Tiffany Winner

    yes, she thankfully sleeps 10 hours a night only waking once or twice to feed

  11. Rebecca Shockley

    Everything after the first year would be considered an all niter, nothing before that, so yes

  12. Marlene V

    All three of my kids are good sleepers and they have always slept in their own beds too! I think I attribute it to sticking to a regular schedule for them.

  13. my baby girl goes through phases, for the first 4 months she was a horrible sleeper and then she started sleeping through the night from 4 months until about 7 months and then she started waking up a few times a night again…ahhh!

  14. Jesselyn A/Jesstinger

    At first, yes, except that she was always the first one up at the crack of dawn – but that was fine by our schedules, sleep patterns, and natural rhythms. Problems began when she got a little older and became (YIKES!) BOTH a Morning Person AND a Night Person who was sleepy / tired during the day and at school.

    With the help of lots of reading and research, various professionals and unlikely sources of help and wisdom and some wholistic /. natural / alternative remedies we finally worked things out in a balanced way and fortunately she’s the kind of person who seems to thrive on a relatively small amount of sleep (six hours.)

  15. My child is a dreadful sleeper! She is 8 months old and I have about given up! For the longest time I believed it when people said “you will be shocked the first time she sleeps through the night.” I realize that is not going to just happen for us. I signed up on the baby sleep site and have been using some of the pointers with some success. Wish I could afford their personalized sleep plan! I really think it would help my family.

  16. Lauren Simms

    My kids are opposites. MY eldest is a nightmare and my youngest is fairly dependable, although he liked to nurse up to 5 times a night some nights. My daughter needs more sleep than she currently gets but she won’t stay in bed.

  17. My daughter Lennon will be two the 21st. Her dad and I split shortly after I had her and it has been hard for both of us to get her to sleep er entire life. She never mapped longer than 30 minutes at a time and was impossible to get to bed. She went to stay with her dad for about a week and a half and se came back and would not go to sleep without a bottle. I tried everything!! And I should’ve broke it then but I didn’t know what to do so now I have a two year old that goes to sleep with a bottle. I have tried and failed a couple of times. I just have to rest up and get ready for a fight. The last time I tried she got up at 430 am and cried for a bottle for 2 hours and then we finally got up. She didn’t go back to sleep until noon and she had just had surgery so I let her have a bottle. I don’t know what to do!! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  18. My daughter has been up and down since she was about 3 months. We alternate rough months with amazing months. I have no idea why seeing as though the bedtime and bedtime routine remain consistent.

  19. Sunshine G

    She sleeps 12 hours at night – the challenge is to actually GET her to fall asleep.

  20. My nephew was not a good sleeper. It was always hard to convince him to sleep

  21. My little guy is a few days short of 6 months and night time sleep has always been good for the most part. Naps are a different story. He has almost always fought naps! He takes 45 minute naps, on the dot many times :) occasionally he gets a longer one in here and there. He is a nap fighter and will sit up immediately after I lay him down and just shake his head like he is trying to keep himself awake, even though I KNOW he is tired :)

  22. At first he was a terrible sleeper but later slept all night. We made sure to stick to a routine and not put him to bed too late or too overtired. Eventually it worked! Thanks!

  23. Teresa Thompson

    My youngest wasnt a good sleeper. He was colicky and had to swaddled all the time.

  24. When my kids were babies, they were excellent sleepers.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  25. She has been great for the most part – from the time she was just a few months old, she would sleep 9+ hours straight. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but it just takes some time and patience and she’s right back to her usual routine! We have been very fortunate!

  26. Michelle B

    All my children were great sleepers because we always stuck to a routine.

  27. Maegan Morin

    Both of my children were excellent sleepers. Especially my daughter. She was sleeping through the night at 2 weeks old and now she is 15 months and has been sleeping 12 hours a night since she was 3 months old.

  28. Barbara Montag

    One was a light sleeper and the other sound.
    Why? I have no idea.
    Thank you.

  29. Heather R

    My son sleeps through the night now, but is a light sleeper and will wake up easily

  30. My child was a very good sleeper surpisingly, at first it was hard, but then about when she was 10 months she started sleeping at night without disruption.

  31. We don’t have kids yet but we’ll… hopefully? have all this to come in the next year or two!

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