5 Baby Sleep Tips: What Helped My Child Snooze More

Updated on March 12, 2020
LaurenMBarrett profile image

I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I'm a lover of reading, running, scrapbooking, and crossword puzzles.

Let's face it: When a baby comes to town, sleep, undoubtedly, is a hot topic of conversation. Everyone wants to know if the baby is sleeping "through the night." And everyone has a trick up his sleeve: Co-sleep. Put the baby in his own room and own crib. Feed on demand. Create a feeding schedule. Rock the baby. DO NOT rock the baby. Put cereal in the milk right before bed.

It all seems so tiring for already-tired parents to navigate through. That's why I did a ton of research. Here are a few uncontroversial tips that, rest assured, will decrease those restless nights and naps for the rest of baby's first year.

"I wake to sleep and take my waking slow . . . "
"I wake to sleep and take my waking slow . . . "

1. Wake to Sleep

I am sure that you heard over and over to never wake a sleeping baby. While this is sound advice, there is always an exception to the rule. Babies need to learn to self-soothe. Imagine this:

You're a wee bitty baby, and you're used to falling asleep in Mommy's comfy lap. It's so warm and her smell is so pleasant. While you doze off, Mommy so gently places you in your bassinet. Then you inevitably wake up because, duh, you're a baby and you're still learning about sleep.

When you wake up, alarm bells sound. Where is Mommy? The last thing you knew, you were in her lap. Now, you are alone in this box thing. You become scared. You start wailing. Mommy comes to the rescue, and the only way to put you to sleep is the same thing as before. Repeat every night.

Exhausted from just reading that? How about doing it? So save yourself the trouble and when you place your peaceful cherub in her bed or bassinet, gently tickle her feet or nudge her to wake up if she has fallen asleep. Eventually, I would put my tired baby down when I could still see the whites of his eyes and simply say good night, turn up the sound machine, and walk out.

A phone-controlled sound machine.
A phone-controlled sound machine.

2. Sound Machines

I can't stress the importance of this one enough. Get a good one. Why? Inside the uterus is loud. There is noise 24/7. Then, one day, your cute little baby is plucked from its comfortable, cozy home and expected to sleep in utter silence in the picture-perfect, gigantic nursery you created . No way! Imagine how terrifying. Get a sound machine and turn it on for bedtime and naps.

When nighttime feedings were decreasing and we were aiming for that all-night stretch, we would feel dismayed when our son would start to wake and whine. Then, we learned to try pausing first, followed by turning up the sound machine without even leaving our bed (phone-controlled sound machine for the win). Worked. Like. A. Charm. Our son was back to sleep in no time, and we could breathe a sigh of relief.

A massage is a common part of a bedtime routine.
A massage is a common part of a bedtime routine.

3. Routine

Babies are creatures of habit. Already at a young age, they are picking up on cues: When Mommy sits in that chair, she's going to feed me. That's the reason why you want to create a bedtime routine. It lets baby know, Hey it's almost time to go to bed. Start getting sleepy.

It doesn't have to be an elaborate song and dance complete with performances and different voices from Mom and Dad. It doesn't have to follow a strict time schedule, either. At 6:50 read story. 6:52 massage for exactly three minutes. 6:57 sing a song. 7:00 lights out. No. Try this instead.

My Routine

Here is an example of my routine:

  • Warm, peaceful bath with dimmed lights (not every evening)
  • Towel off and put into pajamas.
  • Breastfeed
  • Massage
  • Swaddle
  • Read short story
  • Prayers
  • Hush, Little Baby
  • Put in bassinet awake

I would program the sound machine to play a Getting Ready tune (usually the lullaby or rain setting) which would switch into a Going to Bed sound (wind or dryer sound).

As my son got older, we gradually switched to doing more of the routine in his nursery instead of our bedroom to get ready for his switch to permanently sleeping in the nursery and crib. We also did a shorter version of this routine for naps once we established a nap schedule around 4 months. Later on, we dropped the swaddle, and breastfeeding got shorter, so overall the routine can last anywhere from 15–45 minutes. Time I would gladly trade for a full night's rest!

Room-darkening shades are a must-have.
Room-darkening shades are a must-have.

4. Room-Darkening Shades

This is an absolute must! I didn't believe it at first. Around the 4th month when my son would no longer nap anywhere or any time, I would put him down for a nap, and then he would wake up about 30–40 minutes later. It was frustrating.

Finally, I caved and got the room-darkening shades, and he slept—well, he slept like a baby. He would go for over 2 hours sometimes. Room-darkening shades also can cure early morning wakings when the sun is starting to peek through. Trust me when I say to make the room as dark as possible.

Something that smells like you, such as a shirt or a lovey, can help your child get to sleep.
Something that smells like you, such as a shirt or a lovey, can help your child get to sleep.

5. A Shirt That Smells Like You

Mom's (or dad's) scent is the best scent. To baby, that is. One day when I was resting my hand on my son's stomach and gently soothing him with a gentle shake (another strategy to get a baby to sleep), an idea came to me. We've had to do this for a few days now, and it was seeming to take longer for him to settle than we (and he) would have liked. So I whipped off my shirt and gave it to him. He stopped crying, cuddled up with the shirt, and fell asleep. From then on, I would have a shirt on hand when it was time to go to sleep.

A lovey can work well, too. Sleep with a little blanket for a few day to get your musk attached to it, and then introduce it to your baby.

Happy Sleeping!

I hope these tips help! It takes a village, and once you start sleeping, you can be an overall better person physically and emotionally.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)