How to Put a Newborn Baby to Sleep (7 Foolproof Tips)

February 18, 2022

How to get your newborn bay to sleep

One of the biggest challenges new parents face is putting their newborn baby to sleep. It’s no joke when you hear that new parents are sleep deprived because their baby won’t sleep during normal hours. Putting a baby to sleep is nowhere near as easy as you’d think.

When do babies sleep?

The truth is that there’s not a single, universal sleep schedule that babies follow. Some babies sleep uninterrupted for longer periods of times, others sleep in short breaks.

Additionally, some babies sleep through the night and stay up during most of the day, while others may sleep during the day and stay up at night. There’s no rule of thumb and rest assured that every sleep pattern is normal.

Each baby has its own unique sleep pattern and the pattern can change as your baby grows. Unfortunately it’s really hard for your baby to get used to your sleep pattern so better try to get some sleep when your baby is asleep.

Where should your baby sleep?

You should aim to have your baby sleep in the same room as you during the first 6 months. This will help somewhat your baby to follow your own sleep pattern and make it feel safe and comfortable.

It’s not uncommon that during the first few weeks your baby won’t be able to sleep on its own unless it’s in your arms.

7 tips to help you put your newborn to sleep

Read on to discover seven tips to help you put your overtired baby to sleep.

1. Swaddle your baby

What is swaddling? Swaddling means that you wrap your baby snugly and cosy in a soft and warm blanket or sheet.

Swaddling provides a sense of security, warmth and safety for your baby because it reminds her or him the feeling it had in the womb. Swaddling not only makes your baby feel secure, but in many cases it’ll help it sleep.

2. Having a warm bath

Giving your baby a warm bath could be all it needs to relax and help it go to sleep. First of all you need to make sure that the water temperature isn’t too hot or too cold but comfortably warm. Aim at a water temperature from 98.6°F to 100.4°F (37°C to 38°C).

3. Use white noise

White noise can be a huge sleep inducer and enabler. But what is white noise? In simple practical terms it’s a type of sound that’s used to mask and block background sounds from your environment.

White noise can help put your baby to sleep by soothing it and blocking the ambience noise. There are quite a few free white noise sounds that you can find online and put them on repeat:

4. Keep your baby’s room completely dark

It’s a well known fact that light, and blue light more specifically, can prevent us from falling asleep because it blocks a special substance, melatonin, which is sleep-inducing. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is made by your body’s pineal gland and controls night and day cycles (sleep-wake cycles).

Any light source will decrease the production of melatonin as it signals the body that it’s time to wake up and be active. While you can buy OTC melatonin, it’s not advised. It’s better if you ensure that all the lights are turned off and there’s outside lights coming in your baby’s room. Make the room completely dark and your baby will enjoy a good night’s sleep while its body will produce the necessary melatonin that will adjust its body’s internal sleep/wake clock.

5. Create a bedtime routine and train your baby it’s sleep time

If you create a bedtime routine, you’ll help get your baby used to a healthy and stable sleeping schedule. Expect to stick to your routine for at least 3 months before you start seeing any results.

As a starting point you can set a specific time when you start dimming the lights, slowing down any activities around the house, minimizing any sounds and slowing down your movement while relocating towards the bedrooms. Slowly but surely your baby will get into the habit that it’s bedtime and will start being easier to get it to sleep.

6. Let your baby sleep on its own

Sometimes all you need to do is to take a step back and let your precious newborn baby sleep on its own. It’s not unusual for babies to self-soothe themselves to sleep. This happens more often after the 4 month mark but that doesn’t mean that if your baby is under 4 months you can’t try this method.

7. Get a swinging/rocking crib

A rocking crib’s swinging motion can help put your newborn baby to sleep in a matter of minutes! The swinging movement soothes babies and helps them settle and feel comfortable. Add to that the fact that there are automatic rocking cribs and your job is done! But even if you get a “manual” swinging crib, it takes very little effort to gently swing your baby to sleep using your feet on the crib’s rocking base while reading or doing something else.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.
Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

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