Want to know the secret recipe for getting your baby to sleep through the night? So does every other mom of a little one. But there is no secret formula for baby’s sleeping through the night. However, there are simple, strategic steps you can take to move in that direction. Getting your baby to sleep all night long requires some simple planning all day long. Here are 5 sleep tips for newborns you can try today to help your baby sleep better.
Newborn Sleep Tip #1: Don’t Be Awake Too Long
Did you know that being tired is one of the biggest enemies of sleep? That’s right; your wee one can actually be too tired to drift off into dreamland.
And it happens more quickly than you might realize. Here are some general guidelines for the amount of awake time your little one should have between sleep times:
- Newborns (0-12 weeks): 45 minutes of awake time
- 3-5 months: 1.5-2 hours of awake time
- 6-8 months: 2-3 hours of awake time
- 9-12 months: 3-4 hours of awake time
- 13 months to 2.5 years: 5-6 hours of awake time
So how do you make this happen? You put your child down for a nap before they are too tired and desperately need it. That will help at bedtime as well.
Newborn Sleep Tip #2: Eliminate The Feeding-Sleeping Association
Feeding-sleeping association is pretty common amongst babies. They are used to nursing or bottle-feeding to sleep, or even a big snack of their favorite foods before being hustled into their beds for nap times.
But that works against you in the wee hours of the night when they wake up and need that same comfort to fall back to sleep because feeding and sleeping are inseparable partners in their minds.
By feeding your child right after nap time, you help break that connection in their mind and they’ll be able to fall asleep in the night when they wake up between sleep cycles.
However, you do want to feed them about 20-30 minutes before their evening sleep because a full belly is critical to a longer sleep at night.
Newborn Sleep Tip #3: Be Predictable & Boring
You’ve probably noticed that your little one loves a routine. Routines provide a reliable rhythm to their day and offer comfort. Doing the same things in the same order is security.
By creating a predictable rhythm for your baby in the 20-30 minutes before sleep, this lets them know sleep time is coming and helps prepare them for it.
For instance, have a bottle or nurse, take a warm bath, get in jammies, and read a story. Just like that, the same way at the same time each day.
And keep it boring. No extra excitement before bed. If your little one tries to “play” with you by throwing stuffed animals on the floor or running away when you’re about to sit with a book, don’t playback.
Those final 5 minutes before bed should be particularly calming, too.
Newborn Sleep Tip #4: Keep It Dark
Our bodies know that we sleep when it’s dark because that’s the natural order of things. So whether it’s nap time or bedtime, keep your baby’s room as dark as possible.
Consider blackout curtains and blinds, but also be aware that nightlights and clocks that glow can also disrupt sleep.
Newborn Sleep Tip #5: Consistent Time & Place
Just like your child does best with a predictable routine, your baby will sleep through the night better if he is sleeping in the same place at the same time, too.
Your child should be able to know “sleep happens here,” regardless of nap time or bedtime. Try to avoid sleeping in stroller, car seats, or your arms if you want them to sleep well, longer, and fall asleep better.
Also, they will ideally fall asleep where they’ll stay asleep. That will alleviate any shock from falling asleep in Mama’s arms and waking up in a different place.
If you start applying these five simple steps today, your baby can start sleeping better tonight!
Monica Maldonado is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant with Sleep Wise Consulting. Sleep Wise has helped over 4,000 families of newborns, infants, toddlers, and school-aged children become better sleepers. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that affects the health, relationships, and life-long sleep skills of everyone in your family.