Despite popular opinion, babies aren’t born knowing how to sleep. Do newborns sleep a lot? Yes. Will it always be this way? No. Creating healthy sleep routines and environments is really important if you want the newest member of your family to actually sleep at night.
Most experts agree that sleep training a baby should start at about 4 months, and if you want to learn to sleep train your baby you can watch our helpful VIDEO on it, but here are some additional helpful tips on how to get your baby to sleep:
Create a calm and dark environment:
Babies don’t do well with chaos. Believe it or not, they’re just like you. Think about the conditions you love to sleep in, a nice cool room that’s dark and peaceful. Create the same space for them.
White noise is going to be your best friend. White-noise machines create a comfortable, womb-like environment that calms anxious infants, encouraging them to stop crying and fall asleep faster and deeper. There’s a ton of options for white noise machines on amazon ranging from $20-$50. It’s worth the investment.
Babies love being swaddled. Swaddle your baby using the snugababe swaddle and they’ll sleep sounder, longer.
Put them to bed drowsy, but still awake:
Some parents think they’re helping their baby sleep better by rocking them to sleep. Then the baby suddenly wakes up and is screaming bloody murder. What happened? The best analogy I’ve heard for this situation is this: imagine you go to bed in your comfortable bed and you wake up naked on the front lawn. You would wake up in a state of shock, possibly crying, curious about what the hell just happened, right? Same thing with babies. If your baby fell asleep in our warm, loving arms, then suddenly woke up in their crib with no mom in sight, they’re gonna freak out too! It’s best to put your baby down when they’re drowsy, but still awake. When they doze off to sleep, they won’t freak out when they wake up because it’s the same environment.
Do the French Pause:
This is the best phrase I’ve heard as a parent. The French Pause. The French are a lot better at sleeping their babies because they practice The Pause. The Pause is when you hear your baby being fussy or possibly doing a small slight cry and you give them a minute before you rush in to rescue them from their nap. The philosophy behind the pause is from the author of Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman. Waiting is the key: the French do not do instant gratification. It starts more or less at birth. When a French baby cries in the night the parents go in, pause, and observe for a few minutes. They know that babies’ sleep patterns include movements, noises and two-hour sleep cycles, in between which the baby might cry. Left alone it might “self-soothe” and go back to sleep.
Set a schedule and stick to it:
Sleep schedules are really important. Babies thrive on schedules. If you decide that your baby’s bedtime is going to be 7pm every night, stick to it. Don’t put them down at 9pm one night and expect them to go to sleep at 6pm the next day because you’re tired and want to sleep yourself. If you have a hard time being consistent, make a sleep schedule log and stick to it. When it comes to daytime naps, the general rule with newborns are they should be 90-UP, 90-DOWN. 90 minutes UP includes playtime, tummy time, feeding and lots of hugs and kisses. 90 DOWN is the 90 min nap they should (ideally) be taking.
Make sure the room is nice and cool:
Is there a specific temperature? Yes. 72 degrees. Experts recommend that your infant sleeps in a room that is between 68-72 degrees to get the best possible sleep.