These newborn sleep tips come from my friend Lindsey over as These Hungry Kids. She shares her tips from her experience with two little girls. You can learn more about her by reading her bio at the bottom of this post!
Newborn Sleep Tips
Every mom of a newborn crosses her fingers and toes and hopes for a baby that sleeps through the night.
I have never met a mom who said, “I love when my baby wakes up all night!”
Let’s be real – we all need our sleep!
I have two little girls that are close in age. They’re a little less than 18 months apart, and they are now 3 years old and 19 months.
We’ll have a new baby girl joining us in November, so I am well versed in getting no sleep!
Fortunately, we have kids that sleep really well (most of the time).
I can assure you, this wasn’t by accident! I did a lot of research about creating healthy sleep habits, and tried and tried with my kids until we found something that works.
My oldest daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was 6 months old! We did the Ferber method to get her to sleep, and only because I was working night shifts and one of us had to be on a schedule.
While the Ferber method was effective (it only took one night), it felt mean and I didn’t want to do it again unless I had to.
With my youngest daughter, we had her sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old without crying it out!
I’ve made many sleep mistakes, and learned a ton along the way! Let me share with you my favorite sleep tips for creating healthy sleep habits in a newborn.
1. Be consistent
The bedtime routine should be the same every single night!
It should also start at the same time every night. Your baby will learn to expect what comes next and will learn that when mom and dad do X, Y and Z then I am going to sleep.
This can be kind of tricky, especially if you have other kids at home or busy jobs. There may be days that you have to deviate from the routine, but as long as the routine happens *almost* exactly the same each night your infant will learn what to expect.
If possible, designate one parent to do the bedtime routine (at least most of the time), so that the routine is the same each night.
2. Create a bedtime routine
You can decide what will work best for your family to create the bedtime routine for your infant.
Your bedtime routine may consist of any of the following:
- A bath
- A baby massage
- Pajamas/diaper change
- Playing lullabies
- White noise machine
My youngest daughter had very sensitive skin and eczema, so our bedtime routine did not include a bath. Ours went something like this:
6:45 PM – The baby starts getting fussy. We bring her upstairs, turn the lights down, change her diaper, give her a quick massage with her baby lotion and change her into pajamas.
7PM – Put her into a sleep sack or swaddle. Turn off all lights, turn on the sound machine, and rock baby while nursing or feeding a bottle.
7:15 PM – Lay the baby down in the crib (or bassinet) drowsy but awake. Put in a pacifier, turn on her crib soother and shut the door.
We started this routine from the first night we brought her home! At first we placed her in her bassinet next to our bed, but within a few months we moved her into her bedroom.
3. Lay the baby down drowsy, but still awake
If this is the first time you’re hearing this, I can assure you it won’t be your last.
You’ll find this advice in parenting books, at your pediatrician’s offices, or from well-intended friends, family members, and strangers.
And there’s a reason everyone recommends this: you want your baby to learn to fall asleep without being touched, rocked or fed.
Now, I am in NO way telling you that your baby should never sleep on your arms or chest. I let both of my babies do that from time to time, and I cherish that time with them.
There is really nothing sweeter than your babe sleeping in your arms! Our mama hearts need that from time to time.
However, you should be laying them down when drowsy but awake more often than not.
I know a ton of people that let their baby fall asleep in their arms before every sleep, and it caused many problems for them later.
They ended up having to do intensive sleep training, hire sleep consultants, or letting their baby sleep in bed with them so they, too, could get some rest.
And even despite all of those efforts, some of my friends still can’t get their kids to sleep through the night.
As much as you may want to snuggle your baby all night, it’s a good idea to start forming good habits as well.
4. Velcro swaddles and sleep sacks are life changing!
I am a labor and delivery nurse, so I am a pro at swaddling babies with just a blanket.
But when you have to get up to do a diaper change at 3am, I want to tear that blanket to shreds as I try to wrap my wiggly baby in dim light!
Velcro swaddles and sleep sacks are game changers.
Whoever invented them deserves some sort of award. They will save you so much time and sanity!
I ended up giving away most of our receiving blankets and stocked up on sleep sacks and velcro swaddles instead.
Even my husband can figure them out! And my kids slept amazing in them.
5. Use absorbent diapers
Think about how uncomfortable it would be to sleep in a wet diaper!
There are definitely diapers that work better than others at pulling moisture away from baby’s skin!
Sure, they may cost a little more than the ones you’ve been using, but it may make a difference in your little one’s sleep habits.
Our favorite is the Huggies Overnight brand. As my kids got older, I also added in Sposie pads to give extra absorption!
During the daytime, we use different diapers since we are changing so often. But we always try to use the overnight diapers for bedtime
6. Bedtime may be earlier than you think!
As newborns, we start the bedtime routine at 6:45 PM.
My 19 month old still goes to bed at 7:00! Typically, by 6:45 she is asking to go “night-night” and she’ll sleep until between 7:30-8:30am most days.
When my kids go to bed later, they don’t sleep in longer! In fact, sometimes they even wake up earlier. This seems to be a common trend that my other mom friends have noticed as well!
7. Be patient through sleep regressions!
Sleep regressions are very normal and very frustrating.
I always found my kids had a sleep regression right before they hit a milestone.
If my kids stopped sleeping, I knew it was because they were going to start doing something exciting (like rolling over, walking, talking, sitting, etc.)
Teething is also a huge reason babies stop sleeping! A baby in pain wants their mommy and daddy, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they called out for comfort in the middle of the night.
Be patient with these sleep regressions, and know that they are temporary.
When your child starts acting like themselves again, go back to your normal sleep habits and trust they will fall back into their routine.
There you have it! These tips will definitely help your baby create healthy sleep habits and will (hopefully) help them sleep through the night.
Lindsey is a coffee-loving, sweatpants-wearing, always-running-late mom to two little girls (with another on the way!). When she’s chasing after her kids, she works as a labor and delivery nurse, and shares about all things related to pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and more on her blog. You can also follow Lindsey on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, where she shares everything she knows on surviving motherhood!