My new friend was coffee when I first had my daughter. I was desperate to survive sleepless nights. I wanted sleep. Any sleep. I didn’t care. I just wanted to sleep. If you’re in the same situation, I feel you, because I know. I was there too. I wanted to know how to get my baby to sleep quickly!
At the time, it was so bad, I was having hallucinations in the mornings, because I wasn’t getting enough sleep. When my daughter was about 4-5 months, I knew something had to change. We realized a few things we were doing wrong, and we changed those things. For example, we were letting our daughter fall asleep in her swing at night and putting her to bed (all the while, being careful not to look at her, because for some reason, this would wake her up).
So, I wanted to discuss some things we learned that were incredibly helpful in helping us, so I believe they can help you get your baby to sleep quickly at night.
We started to ensure that our daughter napped at the same day each afternoon, and we put her to bed at the same time each night. When it was night time, we would use a nightly routine of giving her a bath, putting on pajamas, turning down the lights, and then reading a story. We’d let her relax a little on our laps, and then we’d put her to bed. For this to work, consistency is key. Everyone should be on the same page, so make sure anyone that watches your baby does the same things you do.
We found that if we went to different places, even if it was a trip to the mall, she would be more likely to sleep better at night. We’d also play with her a lot during the day. This helps your baby also distinguish the differences between day and night. When it’s bright outside, it’s time to be awake. When it’s dark outside, it’s time to relax and sleep (So, at night, even if you do wake up with your baby to feed or change a diaper, don’t play with him or her).
Babies should be able to fall asleep on their own at 4 months. Before this age, babies need help falling asleep, so you likely need to rock your baby in a rocking chair or get a good baby swing/rocker. For example, you could try one of these:
So, according to some experts (www.zerotothree.org), letting a baby fuss a little when you put them to bed before returning is ok. Babies that are well-loved and nurtured during the day shouldn’t be hurt by some crying and fussing when you put them to bed. This is exactly the thing that helped us! We never let our baby cry for more than a few minutes before going in and checking on her. We only went a few nights where she’d fuss after we put her to bed, and then after that, she’d go right to sleep.
According to Very Well Family, babies like white noise because they are used to it. For instance, your baby heard your heartbeat and breathing before being born. These noises, therefore, are comforting to them. When your baby was born, the world was different- Others that are around the baby may be trying to be quiet so as to not wake a baby up, but your baby isn’t used to this silence. That being said, a white noise machine can help mimic the womb-like environment to help comfort your baby and sleep longer at night. Your baby typically will go in and out of periods of deep sleep, and during the periods of lighter sleep, the white noise machine can help drown out other noises that may arouse your baby and wake them up.
Here are some examples of white noise machines with good reviews (click on image for more information):
This was a big one for us! Once we started doing this, we started seeing results in terms of our baby learning to go to sleep on her own. According to the Mayo Clinic, this helps your baby associate the bed with the process of falling asleep.
Pro tip: Try not to look your baby in the eye! Lol. They will abandon the mission and become stimulated again!
Swaddling is when a blanket is wrapped “snuggly around your baby’s body” (www.healthychildren.org). This mimics the womb, which is comforting to the baby. Thus, it can help calm your baby and also result in your baby falling asleep faster and potentially sleeping longer. However, if you do swaddle your baby, there are safety considerations to keep in mind. For example, babies typically start to roll over at 2-3 months, so this is when you should stop swaddling, as it can result in suffocation if they do roll over onto their stomach. In addition, always put your baby to bed on their backs.
I was not a pro at swaddling, but our baby was one to always move around a lot and would easily get of anybody’s attempt at swaddling. However, if you’d like to try to learn how to do it, here’s a good video:
Pacifiers are soothing to babies, so it can help your baby fall asleep. However, be aware that the pacifier can become associated with sleep, and you might have to break the habit at some point. In addition, as was the case with my daughter, we often had to go into our baby’s room to put the pacifier back in her mouth when it fell out because she’d fuss (We probably could have done better at just not always putting it back in right away). Also, when you are trying to comfort your baby, don’t use the pacifier first. Try rocking or patting for example.
There were a few nights where our baby would be fussy and cry until about 5 am, which is when we were so desperate for her to sleep that we would put her in the car and take her for a ride. This usually helped. To this day, car rides still lull her to sleep.
I have been there, and I thought I’d never get to sleep through the night again. I was desperate for anything to work. With some time, practice, and patience, we did find something that worked for our daughter, however. Every child is different, so you have to find what works for your child and your family.
If you’re looking for more information on how to get your baby to sleep through the night, check out my post on Baby Sleep Solutions: A Book Review. I read through the whole book, and I do wish I had it when I had my daughter.
Remember that if you are struggling with getting enough sleep, it will end. I promise.
If you like this post, please share it! Also, let me know in the comments if I missed any tips on getting baby to sleep quickly!
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