Do you ponder this thought a lot? How can I get my baby to sleep at night? Many parents struggle at bedtime with their babies so you’re not alone!
Is it possible to get a newborn to sleep at night without tons of fussiness or little effort?
The answer is yes! Although it does take effort, no matter how well a baby sleeps at night, you can get your little one down for the day.
All it takes is a little finessing, consistency, and strategies. Want to learn the secrets to get a newborn to sleep at night? Keep reading!
Setting The Stage For Newborn Sleep
The first thing for getting newborns to sleep at night is setting the stage for sleep!
Just think of it, you set the table before eating right? Instead of just putting food right on the table you get out a plate and utensils. Same with newborn sleep. You can’t just lay them down, turn off the light and be good to go….(that comes later.)
So set the stage for your baby to promote sleeping through the night. What does the stage look like?
Here are the things to do to signal your newborn that it’s nighttime and bedtime is approaching:
- Create a calm environment in the evening with dim lights and quiet sounds
- Do low key activities leading up to bedtime like taking a bath or reading books
- Know your baby’s sleep signals and start a bedtime routine before they show signs of tiredness
- Prep your baby for sleep by meeting their needs with feeding, fresh diaper, swaddle blanket, and other soothing measures
Setting the stage means toning down the activity level to help regulate your baby into a sleepy-time mode. This is your foundation. Next up is how to become consistent with getting a newborn to sleep at night.
Create Consistency For Newborn Sleep
Perhaps you heard repetition is the key to all learning. The more you do something the more automatic it becomes. There’s brain science behind it!
When you do the same thing over and over with your newborn brain signals fire up and sends messages throughout their body in response to them. The more these signals get activated the stronger they become and the brain knows what to do automatically.
This is why consistency is so important in newborn development and sleep! When you introduce going to sleep with your newborn it might be a foreign concept to them. Their natural tendency is to fall asleep wherever and whenever.
Going to sleep at night is a structured activity for babies and they need to develop their brains into doing it. So consistency is key for getting a newborn to sleep at night. Here is how you can be consistent with newborn night-time sleeping:
- Stick to the same nighttime routine each day
- Refrain from doing an early bedtime one night and a later one the next night and so on
- Select the time that works with your baby’s sleep cues and patterns rather than when you want them to go to bed (like if you want them down every night by 6:00 pm but your baby falls asleep better at 7 pm stick with 7 for the time being)
- Do the same quiet activities at night rather than throwing in an impromptu dance party or laser light show
- Have your newborn sleep in the same crib and room each night
It’s important to address unexpected things with newborns sleeping at night. Things like growth spurts and illness can throw off consistency. Life happens! These are the times when it’s okay to be flexible and do what you need to do to take care of your baby.
Phases and stages pass and when things settle down with your baby you can hop back on the consistency train to get your newborn to sleep at night.
Strategies For Newborn Sleep
So you set the stage and are ready to be consistent to get your newborn to sleep at night. Now, what do you actually do with getting them down for the evening? Strategies! And that includes a simple bedtime routine.
One newborn sleep strategy to try is simplicity. Getting your newborn to sleep at night is new for both of you so keep it doable! Here is a simple routine idea to get you started.
When you become aware of what time your newborn sleepiness starts to set in try this routine BEFORE they get sleepy:
- Quiet the house down
- Bath, stories or songs with snuggles
- Diaper change and jammies on
- Swaddle and turn on any sounds you will use for songs or white noise
- Feed baby
- Rock until sleepy but still awake (for babies older than 3 months)
- Lay baby down in crib on their back
It might not go smoothly at first but keep at it or make adjustments to fit your baby’s needs. With practice, your newborn will get the hang of it.
Other strategies to try to get your newborn to sleep include:
- Lay baby down when they are sleepy but not fully asleep so they get used to falling asleep in their crib or bassinet
- Turn on songs or white noise to soothe their sleeping environment while settling in for the night not after you lay baby down
- Offer a pacifier
- It’s okay to feed your baby in another area like a rocking chair if they wake up but best to return them back to their crib afterward
- Give the routine a chance for a few days to see how it works instead of changing it every day if something didn’t go right
- Discuss the routine with your partner so you’re both on the same page
- Remove any extra blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals from the crib
- Use a sleep sack or sleeper if concerned about the baby getting cold at night
When Thing Get Off Track With Newborn Sleep
As mentioned earlier life happens and things can get off track. Don’t sweat it if it does. Stressing about getting a newborn to sleep when things are irregular adds extra stress! Here are some things you can do when newborn sleep goes astray:
- Remind yourself that getting off track is normal
- Try to figure out the source behind the change, growth spurt, teething, change in development, getting sick, traveling
- If your baby is under the weather or teething do what you need to do to keep your baby comfortable and get better
- If your newborn is going through a milestone make adjustments as needed. Earlier or later bedtime, reduce nap schedule, change feeding schedule, these can help with getting your baby to sleep
- If your baby appears fussy due to gassiness work out the bubbles and discomfort before bedtime
- If traveling try to replicate the routine as best you can
- When things seem to get back to normal re-introduce your regular routine
Getting a newborn to sleep at night takes time and patience, for both of you. Hopefully setting the stage, remaining consistent, and trying a few strategies will help you get on the road to the best sleep ever!