Bedtime: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

Bedtime
Bedtime – depending on your situation, this word either sounds like music to your ears or sends a shiver down your spine! Most of us know from experience just how tough bedtime can be. Far from a calm, gentle wind-down before sleep, for some families, bedtime is alternately a battle of wills, a scream-fest, a marathon hours-long affair, or an eternal game of whack-a-mole in which you’re constantly fetching glasses of water and making trips to the potty.

So how do we get from nightmare bedtime to a peaceful bedtime? As they say, knowledge is power – and a solid understanding about the when, where, and how of bedtime will really help make bedtime a relaxing, happy affair for everyone in your home!

When Should Bedtime Happen?

When exactly you should put your baby or toddler to bed depends on a lot of unique factors, like age and daytime nap schedule, to name a few. In general, though, you can stick to this rule: for babies, stick to an early bedtime. Why? Because babies tend to wake early, AND because later bedtimes lead to overtiredness, which leads to less overall sleep (weird, yes, but true).

Toddlers, however, may actually need a later bedtime. Why? Because toddlers can handle more wake time than babies, and if your toddler is taking two naps, or if your toddler is down to one nap, but the nap extends into the late afternoon, then you may be looking at a later bedtime (say, 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.)

You can see bedtime by age suggestions on our bedtime by age chart (it includes a downloadable, printable PDF!)

Or, for sample schedule templates, view our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Even better – take a look at our custom schedule-maker! Simply enter your child’s age and usual wake-time, and you’ll get a sample nap schedule, complete with suggested bedtime.

What Does A Good Bedtime Routine Look Like?

A key element to a peaceful, sleep-inducing bedtime is a solid bedtime routine. But what does a great bedtime routine look like? Great question! For starters, watch the length of your routine. It should be on the short side, especially for young babies – a routine that’s longer than 5 or 10 minutes may very well stretch past a young baby’s wake time window, and may push bedtime too late, to the point where they become overtired. Older babies and toddlers can handle longer routines, but still, your routine shouldn’t take more than maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

As for what’s in the routine itself – that’s totally up to you! There’s no script. In general, jammies, a bedtime story, and a lullaby work great for all ages. For toddlers, you’ll want to include teeth-brushing and a potty visit. You’ll also want to include a feeding as part of the bedtime routine, for babies – just make sure you’re not feeding your baby to sleep, as that may create negative sleep associations. (Note – feeding a newborn to sleep can be a great way to get longer, deeper sleep, but once your baby is a few months old, you’ll want to work on falling asleep independently.

A bath may or may not work in your routine – some children find a bath calming, while others get really excited at bath time! So use your judgement on this – if your child gets wound up at bath time, try moving the bath to an earlier point in the day.

Finally, no matter what you include in your routine, try to make sure that the routine itself has a definitive end. Maybe say the same phrase each time before turning off the light, or maybe play the same lullaby song before you leave. You just need something that will signal to your child that the routine is done, and that it’s time to fall asleep. If you do this consistently, and for long enough, the end of your routine will eventually become like an “off” switch for your kiddo, and will really help you avoid the long, drawn-out bedtime ordeal!

For more bedtime routine help, you can read our bedtime routine article, as well as our tips on 5 common bedtime routine mistakes to avoid. You may also want to check out our article on whether or not a rigid bedtime routine is right for your situation.

How Does Your Baby Fall Asleep At Bedtime?

Believe it or not, HOW your baby or toddler falls asleep at bedtime has a lot to do with your bedtime successes of failures. Long story short, once your baby is past the newborn stage, the goal is for your baby or toddler to learn to fall asleep independently, without assistance from you. (Don’t worry about this in the newborn stage, though – when you have a newborn at home, you do what you have to do to get some sleep!) Now, “independently” doesn’t mean “in a room by himself/herself” – you can co-sleep or room-share and still work towards independent sleep. Independent sleep means that you are not actively doing something (rocking, nursing, holding, etc.) in an effort to make your baby or toddler fall asleep.

Why does this matter? Because if your child gets used to being rocked/fed/held to sleep, then that’s going to become a habit. And that means that when your child wakes at night (which is 100% normal, and something all of us do at various points during the night), she’s going to need you to help her fall back to sleep.

Sleep associations like rocking/feeding/holding to sleep can also make for what seems like an eternal bedtime routine! You may find yourself rocking/feeding/holding for an hour, only to gently set your child in her sleep space and have her wail. So frustrating!

So this is really the last step in creating the best, most sleep-inducing bedtime possible – work on helping your child go to sleep without your help. Do that, and you’ll be creating a strong foundation of healthy sleep habits that will lead to sleeping through the night…and who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives? ;)

Banish Bedtime Drama, With The Baby Sleep Site®

Bedtime stalling, never-ending bedtime, bedtime tears (from mom AND baby!)…whatever your bedtime dilemma, we can help. Our team of expertly-trained, compassionate sleep consultants has dealt with just about every sleep issue under the sun, so they are well-equipped to help you! Start the consultation process today, and your consultant will craft a sleep plan that’s 100% personalized to your unique sleep situation, and that fits with your parenting philosophy and goals.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Bedtime questions or tips? We love hearing from you – share below!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

QUICK TIP: When To Stop Swaddling

When To Stop Swaddling

Ahhh, swaddling – for many parents, it’s a miracle of a technique that helps babies sleep longer and better.

That is, it’s a miracle tool…until it’s not. ;)

All good things come to an end, and that includes swaddling your baby. But when should you stop swaddling, exactly? Some babies seem like they’re totally over the swaddle within a month or two of birth, while others seem to really like the swaddle for months and months.

And, of course, as Baby Sleep Site® readers, we know you are no doubt working to build healthy sleep habits with your baby, so you may also be wondering when it’s best to to stop swaddling, in order to avoid creating sleep associations.

Lucky for you, this is exactly the question we are tackling in today’s topic! Keep reading for our top tips on when to stop swaddling your baby.

When To Stop Swaddling Your Baby

The first question many parents have is, “When can I (or should I) stop swaddling my baby?” The good news is that there is no hard-and-fast answer to this. You “can” stop swaddling your baby whenever you feel it’s best. You know your baby best, after all!

Remember that while most people use swaddling as a soothing technique during the newborn stage, and then start to phase it out around 3 or 4 months, it’s not uncommon for babies to be swaddled when they are 6, 7, 8, even 9 months old. Most older babies will eventually start to reject swaddling, but that’s not true for all older babies; some will continue to sleep better while swaddled well past 6 months.

That said, here are some general guidelines you can use to help determine when to stop swaddling your baby:

  • The average age to stop swaddling baby is around 3 or 4 months of age.
  • Newborns are born with a startle reflex, called the Moro reflex, and most babies don’t outgrow it until 4 or 5 months of age. So be careful about stopping the swaddle too early; if your baby’s Moro reflex is still strong, she may startle herself awake at night and during naps.
  • If your baby is able to break free of his swaddle, this isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s time to stop swaddling. However, if your baby is consistently breaking free of his swaddle every night, and if that means you have loose blankets in the crib, then it’s time to either stop swaddling or to switch to a safer swaddling blanket. We recommend the Miracle Blanket.
  • Swaddled babies should NEVER sleep face-down. So if your baby is starting to roll over on to her tummy while she sleeps, that is a strong sign that it’s time to stop swaddling your baby. Remember, when it comes to swaddling, safety first! You can use a sleep sack instead, or a product like the Zipadee-Zip that still provides a swaddle-like feel while leaving baby’s arms free (which is key when they start rolling over).
  • Make sure that your baby is not swaddled all day long. While swaddling for sleep is fine, especially during the newborn stage, babies need time to move freely as well, so that they can grow stronger and develop their gross motor skills. If your baby spends all of his sleep AND awake time swaddled, it might be time to gradually stop swaddling during his awake time.
  • If you are getting ready to sleep train, or sleep coach, you will likely want to stop swaddling first, before you begin sleep training. Part of the sleep training process involves helping your child learn to self-soothe, and babies need to be unswaddled and have access to their hands and fingers in order to learn to self-soothe.

So there you go, parents! If your baby is older than about 5 months of age, is routinely breaking free of the swaddle, or is rolling over onto his/her tummy, it’s time to start weaning away from the swaddle blanket and to go with something like a sleep sack instead. And remember, if sleep training is in your future, you will probably want to wean your baby off the swaddle before you start the sleep training process.

As for HOW to stop swaddling – we have tips on that, too! Check out this article, When and How To Stop Swaddling Your Baby, for step-by-step instructions on transitioning away from swaddling.

Soothing and Swaddling and Sleep Training – Oh My!

It can be tough to figure out your baby’s sleep…just when you think you’ve got it nailed, your baby changes, and boom! Whole new schedule, whole new set of needs, and whole new sleep problems. But remember, you don’t have to do this alone. We can help! Connect with one of our expert sleep consultants today, and she will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that accounts for your baby’s sleep needs and personality, and your own parenting philosophies and goals.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have swaddling questions or tips? Leave them below – we love hearing from you!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDJoin our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNewborns really can sleep long stretches during the day and at night – you simply have to use appropriate, gentle techniques to get there! Our newborn e-book, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, outlines a number of gentle, baby-centered ways you can encourage better sleep from your newborn. Learn how to create sleep-inducing routines and schedules, how to bond and communicate with your newborn, and more!
 

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftPersistent nighttime struggles demand a more intensive approach. Check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 

Baby Teething and Sleep: 3 Proven Tips

Baby Teething and Sleep
As if sleep regressions, growth spurts, sleep associations, changing nap schedules, and feeding struggles aren’t enough – a parent has to deal with baby and toddler teething pain, too!

Truly, teething can be a tough issue for parents to deal with. While some babies and toddlers seem to just sail through the teething process with minimal pain and fuss, other babies spend days in discomfort and pain. And, of course, discomfort and pain usually translates to NO SLEEP FOR ANYONE.

No wonder, then, that we get so many questions about how to manage teething and sleep disturbances in our Helpdesk!

Not to worry, though – you don’t have to suffer through teething drama alone. Today, we’re looking at 3 tips to help manage your baby’s teething discomfort and sleep disturbances, as well as info on how you can offer comfort without undoing any sleep training progress you’ve made up to this point.

Baby Teething Symptoms

First, though, let’s examine some common teething symptoms, so that you can watch for signs of teething and be proactive. Teething symptoms include the following:

  • Drooling
  • Teething rash (a chapped, red chin from drool, and possibly a diaper rash due to watery stools from swallowing so much extra saliva)
  • Diarrhea (swallowing extra saliva can make your baby’s poop runnier than usual)
  • Refusal to feed (tender gums make it tough to nurse and eat comfortably)
  • Biting (your baby may chew on hands, toys, or – if you’re breastfeeding – on you!)
  • Ear-pulling and/or cheek-rubbing
  • Increased night waking
  • More fussing/crying than usual

Baby Teething and Sleep: 3 Tips To Comfort Your Baby and Promote Sleep

If your baby is teething, and is really uncomfortable, it will almost certainly mess with his usual sleep schedule, at least for a bit. Fortunately, there are ways you can provide comfort while still preserving good sleep habits, and ensuring you don’t inadvertently help your baby form new sleep associations.

  • Try teething objects during non-sleep times to alleviate pain. There are zillions of teething toys and rings out there, that can help minimize some of your child’s pain. Many of them are designed to be refrigerated or frozen – the added cold can help numb your kiddo’s gums. But remember, you don’t have to be high-tech with your teething tools…a “homemade” option, like a frozen washcloth, can work wonders, too!
  • Use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for sleep times, to promote longer sleep. Teething toys won’t exactly work during times when your child is sleeping (or, rather, is supposed to be sleeping!). If the pain is bad, and is keeping your child awake, then try offering medicine like Tylenol or Ibuprofen to help alleviate your little one’s discomfort. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before offering any medication. You may want to try and time up when you offer medicine with when you know your baby or toddler will need to feed. So, for example, try offering a dose of medicine with right after the bedtime feeding – the medication will last 4-6 hours, and that will maximize the chances that your baby will give you a good, long stretch of sleep at the start of the night. Also – no benzocaine! That’s the ingredient found in Baby Orajel, and it’s not safe for little ones.
  • Provide comfort without undoing progress. Figure out how you can provide comfort without creating new bad sleep habits, or undoing sleep training progress. For instance, if you want to reinforce the habit of sleeping in the crib, avoid bringing you baby into bed with you during bouts of teething pain – instead, hold your baby until she’s calm, but put her back down in her crib to fall back to sleep. You will definitely want to comfort your baby during teething pain, and when the pain is at its worst, you may need to have a night or two when you break all your “rules”, but do try to avoid doing anything that you don’t want to do long-term. One night of co-sleeping for comfort won’t hurt, but if you do it every night for two weeks, then you’ve most likely just created a brand-new expectation for your little one.

    Here’s a look at how Nicole handled teething and sleep with her boys:

    “My plan with my first son was that if he was extra fussy during the day, I’d give him Motrin (and Orajel which is now a no-no) at bedtime. If he had any night wakings 6+ hours (give or take 1 hour) after the medication, I’d tend to him with another dose and then stay with him for 30 minutes until it kicked in and then put him back down. It was usually only about 2-4 days of super fussy times that he needed extra soothing until the tooth popped through. Other times, I’d have to be more stringent on my nighttime visits, because of the problems it would create.”

Baby Teething and Sleep Training

So, what should you do if your child suddenly starts teething during sleep training? We recommend that you keep on sleep training. Now, this is a general recommendation – there are times when teething discomfort may be so intense that you have to just suspend your efforts for a night or two. But in general, we recommend that you don’t stop sleep training due to teething. There will ALWAYS be “issues” that crop up, which will impact your baby’s sleep, and if you were to stop for all of them, you may never get around to teaching your baby better sleep habits! While you might need to moderate your sleep training efforts a bit, and will definitely need to adjust your expectations during teething, it’s usually best to stick with sleep coaching.

We’d also recommend that you don’t make teething an exclude for putting off sleep training, or for suffering through interrupted sleep. Remember, your child will teethe for a solid 2-3 years – so if you wait until teething is over to start working on sleep, you’ll be waiting forever!! You will no doubt always be able to find a reason to avoid or delay sleep coaching, but if your little one’s sleep is truly problematic, then it’s usually best to just start sleep training, and deal with any speed bumps like teething as they crop up. We know that when it comes to sleep training, the first step is usually the hardest to take – but once you take it, you’ll be well on your way to better sleep!

Baby Teething Doesn’t Have To Ruin Sleep: Let Us Help!

Teething can be a tough thing to handle when you’re also trying to sleep train – that’s why many parents choose to sleep train with the help of The Baby Sleep Site®/s team of expert sleep consultants! When you purchase a sleep consultation package with us, you get access to your own consultant, as well as your very own Personalized Sleep Plan™, created just for you! What’s more, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing your plan and will be available to answer your follow-up questions.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have swaddling questions or tips? Leave them below – we love hearing from you!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDJoin our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNewborns really can sleep long stretches during the day and at night – you simply have to use appropriate, gentle techniques to get there! Our newborn e-book, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, outlines a number of gentle, baby-centered ways you can encourage better sleep from your newborn. Learn how to create sleep-inducing routines and schedules, how to bond and communicate with your newborn, and more!
 

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftPersistent nighttime struggles demand a more intensive approach. Check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 
 

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

Toddler Sleep Training
Baby sleep training can be challenging, but toddler sleep training? Whew, boy…that can feel like an impossible task sometimes! That’s why many parents find they need sleep training methods and techniques that are especially for toddlers…sometimes, the tips that work well with baby sleep training fall short with toddler sleep training.

Fortunately for you, we know thing or two about toddler sleep training! And today, we share 7 key toddler sleep training tips and tricks – keep reading for details!

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

  1. Establish sleep boundaries in advance. With toddlers, sleep training is as much about enforcing boundaries with discipline as it is about teaching new and healthy sleep habits. We usual recommend that parents who are planning to sleep train their toddlers start by outlining sleep-time boundaries they want their child (and themselves) to follow. For instance, decide ahead of time how you will handle middle-of-the-night waking, or nap refusals, and then stick to those sleep rules so as to help your toddler understand what your boundaries look like.
  2. Optimize your toddler’s schedule. Sometimes, toddler sleep problems are due as much to schedule issues as they are to sleep associations and unhealthy sleep habits. Take a hard look at your toddler’s daytime nap schedule – are naps ending too late in the day? Are naps themselves too long? Remember, too much nap sleep can result in less night sleep, especially for toddlers. If early-waking is one of the problems you want to solve with sleep training, be sure that bedtime isn’t too early – many toddlers who are still napping during the day actually benefit from a later bedtime, to help prevent early waking. You can use our schedule resource page to see sample schedules by age, and to create a custom sleep schedule with our schedule-maker.
  3. Offer a snack before sleep times. Toddlers are mobile little things, aren’t they? And all that mobility can seriously make a kid hungry! That’s why we usually suggest offering a snack (or a breastfeed, or a bottle, perhaps, for younger toddlers) before a nap, and before bedtime. While you don’t want a child who grazes constantly and never eats a real meal, most toddlers do need healthy snacks between meals in order to sleep well, and to not wake from hunger. Just be sure to brush your toddler’s teeth after the bedtime snack, before your little one goes to sleep.
  4. Give your bedtime routine a clear, definitive end. Hopefully, you have a bedtime routine at this point. (If you don’t, get one soon!) It’s really important, for toddler sleep training purposes, that you give your bedtime routine a very clear end. Toddlers are masters of bedtime stalling, so be sure that your routine has a strong end that clearly signals to your toddler that it’s time to lie down and sleep. This can be a phrase you say, a song you play, a prayer, etc. If you do this consistently, over time, you can help to cut down on (and maybe eliminate) your toddler’s stall tactics.
  5. Provide incentives for progress. Older toddlers will really benefit from being able to see their progress somehow – like on a sleep training chart – and will also do well with periodic rewards for progress. For instance, you may want to offer a small reward, like a sticker to put on the chart, each night that your toddler stays in bed at bedtime and falls asleep without getting up. But you may also want to offer bigger rewards – maybe after a week of great sleep behavior, your toddler gets to pick a small toy from the store.
  6. Be calm, because your toddler may not be! Toddler temper tantrums may very well be a part of your toddler sleep training…most toddlers don’t respond well when their usual routines and ways of sleeping are altered! This is one reason why sleep training a toddler can feel so difficult. Just remember that throughout this process, you will need to keep your cool and remain calm. While you may feel sorely tempted to match your toddler’s wails with your own, it’s best if you can remain calm and in control.
  7. Remain consistent – this is key with toddlers! Staying calm is important – staying consistent is vital. Most toddlers are incredibly smart about this; if they sense that they can breach any of your sleep boundaries, and that you will give in, they will surely do it. So even thought it may be tough, stay firm in enforcing your sleep-time rules, and in your sleep coaching plan – if you do, it’ll pay off soon, and your whole family will be sleeping better!

Need Toddler Sleep Training Help? Look No Further!

If you’re struggling with frustrating toddler sleep training problems, we can help! We have worked with thousands of families to overcome toddler sleep problems, and we can help you overcome yours, too, with one of our Personalized Sleep Plans™! Connect with a sleep consultant today, and she will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your toddler, that accounts for your unique circumstances. She’ll help you implement it, too, and will be available to answer any of your sleep training questions.
 
Browse our list of sleep consultation packages here.
 
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

Have toddler sleep training tips or questions? Share them below, and we’ll answer!

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDJoin our Members Area and get exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

15 Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Tips

Newborn Baby Sleep Feeding Tips
Newborn babies are so wonderful, aren’t they? They’re all soft, new skin and sweet-smelling heads and tiny, adorable features. I remember each one of my children (now 7, 6, and 3) as newborns, and each of them just broke my heart with their cuteness when they were tiny.

But caring for a newborn? Trying to figure out feedings and naps and swaddling and all the things that go along with parenting a new baby?

That usually doesn’t feel so wonderful. In fact, if you’re a new parent, it may feel totally overwhelming!

Whether you’re a brand-new, first-time parent who’s completely befuddled by your baby, or whether you’re a “seasoned veteran” parent who’s expecting another baby and just needs a refresher course in newborn care – we can help. Keep reading for our top 15 newborn baby sleep and feeding tips! (And don’t forget, you can download our newborn free guide, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know!)

15 Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Tips

1. Swaddle Your Newborn Full disclosure: swaddling is generally a great way to help newborns sleep longer and more soundly, but not all babies like to be swaddled. You may need to try different swaddling techniques, until you find one that works with your baby’s temperament – or, you may need to scrap swaddling altogether! Of course, whatever you do, remember that safety comes first, with swaddling – never put a swaddled baby face-down in the crib, never co-sleep with a swaddled baby, and make sure that your swaddle is tight enough that the blankets won’t come loose, but not so tight that it interferes with hip movement or breathing.

2. Wear Your Newborn Baby Baby-wearing – when done safely – is a fantastic way to not only bond with your baby, but to also improve sleep. Even the fussiest, most colicky babies generally calm down when held snugly against mom or dad’s body! Wearing your baby can also be a great way to deal with reflux symptoms. (Keep reading for more info about reflux.)

3. Your Newborn Baby’s Colic If your baby is fussy all the time and just won’t settle, you may wonder if colic is to blame. It’s important to remember that periods of crying are normal in the newborn stage. But if that crying is intense and lasts for hours on end, then you may be dealing with colic.

4. Newborn Baby Fussiness It’s important to remember that not all fussiness is due to colic. It’s normal for newborns to have fussy spells – and fussy times of day, for that matter. In fact, many newborns are fussy in later afternoon and early evening. This is generally referred to as “The Witching Hour”.

5. Room-Sharing and Co-Sleeping With Your Newborn Baby Many of us in the western world have been conditioned to believe that babies sleep in cribs, alone, in a separate room. And while that sleeping arrangement may work just fine for some families, many other families find that the inconvenience of having to walk down the hall for every night feeding and diaper change is more trouble than it’s worth. Room-sharing can be a great solution – simply sleep your newborn near your bed in a portable crib or bassinet. You can even use a product like the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper if you want to make nighttime nursing easy. Co-sleeping is a popular option for many families, too, since it makes breastfeeding super easy at night. Just be aware that co-sleeping absolutely must be done safely, if you intend to co-sleep with your newborn.

6. Your Newborn Baby’s Routine Gentle but consistent daily routines are GREAT for encouraging better sleep. The Eat-Sleep-Play routine (or the E.A.S.Y. routine, if you’re a Baby Whisperer fan) is great for newborns, as it helps gently guide sleep and feeding times. Remember, your routines don’t need to be driven by the clock – instead, use your baby’s sleep and feeding cues to shape your routines.

7. Newborn Baby Massage A bath may not be the most relaxing activity you can do with your baby, but baby massage is a VERY relaxing activity! Baby massage has been shown to help babies (and parents!) relax, and to promote better sleep.

8. Fresh Air and Sunlight What do fresh air and sunshine have to do with sleep? Plenty, actually. Did you know that exposing your baby to sunlight can go a long way towards helping re-set her circadian rhythms and to correct day/night confusion? It can – more on that in a moment! And fresh air helps, too – studies show that a daily dose of fresh air (like the kind you’d get from a brisk, 20 minute walk) really does help babies sleep better and longer.

9. Your Newborn Baby’s Day/Night Confusion Babies don’t spring from the womb understanding the difference between night and day – in fact, many newborns have their days and nights completely mixed up! If your baby sleeps all day and is up all night, you can take steps to correct this day/night confusion. Try feeding and playing with your baby in a brightly-lit room during the day, and then keep the room very dark and your interactions minimal at night.

10. Newborn Baby Awake Time Speaking of day/night confusion – one way to help your newborn sir out days and nights is to keep your baby awake for a short time between daytime feedings. However, be sure that your newborn’s wake time is on the short side – aim for 45 or so in the first 6 weeks after birth.

11. Growth Spurts Your baby will go through many growth spurts in the first year of life, but a number of those happen during the newborn stage. It’s key to know approximately when these growth spurts will happen; it’s also key to feed your baby often during these times. It may feel like all your baby does is eat and sleep during a growth spurt, but that’s normal! You can read more about newborn growth spurts here.

12. Reflux Many babies spit up occasionally, but true reflux is something altogether worse – burning stomach acid and constant vomiting make sleep almost impossible! Fortunately, there are ways you can treat reflux at home, and can work to help you newborn sleep better even when reflux symptoms are bad. Read more about newborn reflux here.

13. Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is a great way to feed your baby, but many new moms find that breastfeeding is tougher than they’d anticipated. But you really can breastfeed your baby AND work towards better, longer sleep!

14. Sleep Associations Many of the strategies and techniques you will use to help your newborn sleep in the early weeks and months after birth may very well become negative sleep associations. If you rock or hold or swing or feed your newborn to sleep, pretty soon, she’ll NEED you to do those things at nap time and bedtime – and each time she wakes early. Sleep coaching is simply the process of gently helping your baby learn a new way to sleep – one that doesn’t involve you. However, don’t let the fact that your newborn may form sleep associations make you nervous – we usually recommend that you do whatever you have to do to help your bay sleep in the first two months or so after birth. Then, once you feel comfortable and your baby seems ready, you can slowly begin working towards more independent sleep. For instance, you can try putting your baby down slightly awake for the first morning nap – that’s a step in the right direction.

15. 3/4 Month Sleep Regression Why are we including a link to the 4 month regression in a newborn-focused article? Simple – this is the first big sleep regression a baby goes through, and it usually jumps up and bites parents in the backsides, in our experience! Most parents are floored by this regression – just as they get baby sleeping well at night and napping better, BAM. Baby is fussy as all get out, sleep falls apart, and mom and dad are left wondering what on earth happened. But don’t worry – we’ve helped thousands of parents with this sleep regression, so we know a thing or two about it!

Newborn Sleep Help That Works – Guaranteed!

Being the parent of a newborn is simultaneously the most difficult and the most wonderful thing on earth, isn’t it? But all of us at The Baby Sleep Site® know first-hand how exhausting and overwhelming it can be to try and help your newborn sleep well. Yes, newborns are supposed to wake around the clock for feeds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gently encourage better, deeper sleep from your baby. And we can help with that! Connect with a consultant today, and she will craft a newborn-focused Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your baby, that aligns with your unique situation and challenges, and with your parenting goals.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have sleep or feeding questions about your newborn? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.