7 Gentle, Natural Ways To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Better

7 Ways To Gently Naturally Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep

Fact: newborns and young infants aren’t usually the best sleepers, what with the waking every few hours to eat and all. That’s why the phrase ‘sleeping like a baby’ is so misleading, in my opinion! 😉

Understandably, parents often become very interested in how to help their newborns sleep pretty soon after delivery. The thing is, newborns and young babies aren’t ready for sleep coaching (we usually advise waiting on that until baby is at least 4 months old and have moved past the 4 month sleep regression).

Don’t let that make you feel hopeless, though – just because your newborn is too young for sleep coaching doesn’t mean you’re destined to endure months of sleeplessness. There are steps you can take to naturally, gently encourage your newborn to sleep better.

And that’s what we’re looking at today! Below are 7 ways you can naturally and gently promote better sleep for your newborn. Let’s take a look!

7 Ways To Gently, Naturally Encourage Your Newborn Baby To Sleep Better (and Longer!)

  1. Go for a walk with your baby. Turns out your grandmother was right – fresh air really does help children sleep better! Once your baby is a few weeks old, you can start incorporating a daily walk, or some time spent sitting outdoors. This will go far towards helping improve sleep at night and during naps.
  2. Give infant massage a try. We’ve written before about the benefits of infant massage in improving baby sleep, but we’ll say it again – infant massage is an easy and natural way to help your newborn relax, which in turn can help promote better sleep. In fact, this study showed an increase of approximately 1.3 hours a day in sleep quantity for 3 to 6 month olds. Not only that, but infant massage can improve digestion (great for colicky newborns), strengthen the mother-child bond, and even aid growth and development!
  3. Keep days bright and nights dark. Newborns aren’t born knowing that days are for playing and nights are for sleeping – in fact, many newborns have their days and nights mixed up, and sleep for long stretches during the day while being up every hour at night! You can gently, naturally correct this by making sure that your baby is exposed to sunlight during the day (not direct sunlight, but rather filtered sunlight in a bright, sunny room). In addition, work to keep nights dark – keep the room dim during diaper changes and feedings, for example. Over time, this will help re-set your newborn’s circadian rhythms and guide her towards sleeping long stretches at night and napping during the day.
  4. Cluster feed in the evening. It’s perfectly natural for newborns and young babies to ‘tank up’ on feeds in the evening, and to feed more frequently than they do during the the rest of the day. While cluster feeding can feel overwhelming for mom and dad (especially for mom, if she’s nursing – she may feel like she needs to camp out on the couch for hours every night!), many experts agree that cluster feeding is a natural part of the newborn stage. In fact, many agree that newborns do this as a way to get in a longer stretch of sleep at night- many babies will sleep their longest stretch of the day after cluster feeding! So if you’re looking to promote longer, better nighttime sleep, cluster feeding is a good strategy.
  5. Keep baby close. We don’t mean simply holding or wearing your baby (more on that in a moment). Keep baby close at night, too – consider sharing a room with your baby, and having your baby sleep near your bed in a bassinet or small crib. There are lots of benefits to having your newborn nearby at night – it can make middle of the night feedings more convenient, for one. But research indicates that room-sharing is more than convenient; babies who room-share and sleep close to mom have actually been shown to sleep better. They tend to cry less and sleep longer. They also tend to have slightly lower rates of SIDS. For these reasons, the AAP actually recommends room-sharing as the best sleeping arrangements for babies. Of course, room-sharing isn’t for everyone; there are definite pros and cons to sharing a room with your baby. As always, we recommend you find a sleeping arrangement that works best for your unique situation.
  6. Strive for adequate daytime naps. If your newborn or young baby is up every hour, all night long, then you’ve no doubt toyed with the idea of keeping him up more during the day, in the hopes that it will encourage him to sleep better at night. Be wary of this line of thinking – generally, babies who don’t nap well during the day actually sleep worse at night, because they are overtired! Yes, it’s important that your newborn have some awake time during the day (this helps correct any newborn day/night confusion). However, your newborn’s awake time should be relatively short (no more than 45-60 minutes, generally), and your newborn should take plenty of naps during the day.
  7. Carry/wear your baby. Nothing is more soothing for baby than being held close to mom or dad. Consequently, most newborns sleep best when they are in mom’s or dad’s arms, or held snugly in a baby sling. This is especially true for colicky babies – baby wearing is a great way to soothe colic! Remember that holding your baby, or wearing her around the house, certainly are not permanent sleep solutions. Rather, these are short-term strategies that will help maximize your baby’s (and your) sleep during those first few months after birth.

Need Newborn Sleep Help? You Came To The Right Place – Check Out These Resources!

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNeed help encouraging your newborn to sleep better, and to sleep longer stretches at night and during the day? We have a great resource designed to do just that. Check out Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, the latest e-Book from The Baby Sleep Site®. Available in PDF format as well as a variety of e-reader formats, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is the tired parents’ #1 newborn resource. Developed by Nicole and Miriam (a lactation consultant, nurse, and Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant), Essential Keys lays out everything you need to know about helping your baby to sleep better right from the start. It also includes information on feeding (both breast and bottle), baby communication, bonding with baby, daily routines, sample sleep schedules, and more. Download your copy today!
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Interested in personalized, one-on-one help for your newborn? Why not consider one of our personalized sleep consulting packages? Our consultations allow you to work directly with one of our expert sleep consultants, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan® that will work for your family.

Want to offer sleep tips with other parents? Share them below, in the comments section!

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10 thoughts on “7 Gentle, Natural Ways To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Better”

  1. My baby girl is 11 weeks old now. She sleeps adequately during the day and has naps in which shes in deep sleep. However at night she takes ages to fall asleep. Shes drowsy but she wakes up even at the slightest sound. Initially i thought it was because she was hungry but even when shes full she would still take time to sleep. I dont know what the reason could be. Plus she sleeps properly really late at night like at around 2am or a little after.

    Looking for some help before i actually lose it 🙁

    • Hi @Hafsa,
      Thank you for writing to us! I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your baby’s sleep, but you are certainly not alone! Some babies are very light sleepers, and this can make it tough for parents! For some really helpful and age appropriate tips, if you haven’t yet, you can sign up to receive our free guide written just for families with young babies, “15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need to Know” here:
      We do offer a few more in-depth solutions for parents who need more help. Our e-book, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, may be a good option. In it, we give you a complete tool kit to help your baby establish healthy sleep habits today and throughout the first year.
      In addition, our highly trained sleep consultants can help! Our sleep consultation packages are perfect for helping you feel confident in your daughter’s sleep, and we’ll work with you to provide a path forward too.
      You can read more about our wonderful newborn options here:
      Hang in there Hafsa!

  2. Hi! My son is 8 weeks old with fairly irregular sleep patterns. He’s nursing, so we’ve been trying to let him lead us in terms of his eat, play, sleep pattern. Over the past week he’s been sleeping for a longer stretch at night, 11pm – 3am. Once he wakes to nurse at 3am it’s tough to get him to settle back down to sleep quickly. Usually take almost 1.5 hours. :/ I keep the lights low, limit interaction, etc. Once he does fall back to sleep he doesn’t like to be put down. Any suggestions?

    • @Stephanie – Thank you for stopping by our sleepy little village and for sharing with us. We so feel your pain!! But hooray on the nice long stretch your little guy is giving you – that’s definitely something to cheer about! 🙂 It’s like now that your little guy is more alert and aware of what’s going on, he can’t enough of it – but 3am is not the best time for the wide awake alertness for sure. Be assured – this is very common! Check out this article on getting your 8 week old to sleep better for more tips: https://www.babysleepsite.com/how-to-get-my-baby-to-sleep/how-to-get-my-8-9-or-10-week-old-to-sleep/ I hope it helps, Stephanie – hang in there and please keep reading!

  3. Hi, my son will be 6 weeks in two days. The past couple nights he has been wide awake and fussy most of the night and not sleeping until after 7am or falling asleep on our stomachs. He is a bit colicky too. I think he’s not sleeping b/c he needs to poop and it hasn’t happened yet. Any tips/tricks? Is he going through a regression or growth spurt? Thanks for the help!

    • Hi @Allison – congratulations on your new baby boy! I am sorry he has been struggling the past couple of nights. It is quite a transition for them and in these early months so much is changing all the time there could be a lot of factors. I will provide you with several links that will hopefully help give you more info on where to go next, and if you have more questions after reading these other articles, please let us know! We are here to help.
      As you can see in the first article, there is a growth spurt that is going on at this time, so it can certainly be the cause for what is going on. The other thing to pay attention to is his wake times during the day. Try to keep the time spent awake short- you may feel like you never get to see your baby’s eyeballs for the first few weeks/months because they are sleeping so much. This is to help prevent him from getting overtired (which oddly enough, will result in him fighting sleep longer and harder which we obviously don’t want).
      There is quite a bit of information in the linked articles as well as links to other articles and resources within those. Let us know if you have more questions! Thank you for using the Baby Sleep Site as a resource for sleep! I hope you get some rest soon — hang in there!

  4. Baby should only be awake 45-60 minutes…my son has spurts of staying awake 2-4 hours! This has been since we brought him home and he’s 5 weeks now. We try everything to get him to nap but he’s getting an average of 14 hours every day. Not sure what else to do

    • @Sam, Hi and thank you for commenting! I am sorry to hear you are struggling with your son’s sleep. At the age of 5 weeks the average baby needs between 14-16 hours so he is right within that range, but it sounds like he’s got some stretches where he’s likely getting a bit overtired and starts fighting you on sleep.
      Without a picture of the full schedule, it can be difficult to try to help with what’s really going on, so here is an article about newborn sleep that may help give more info: https://www.babysleepsite.com/newborns/newborn-sleep-schedule-patterns/
      If you’d like to share more information on when/how he’s getting those 14 hours in a 24 hour period for more resources, I’ll be happy to help! Thank you for stopping by the Baby Sleep Site. 🙂

  5. It is hard to be a mother specially when you are a first time mother, thanks for sharing this.
    I hope this will help me when it comes to my baby’s sleep.

    • Hi Caroline,
      Thank you for commenting, and for checking out The Baby Sleep Site! It is hard to parent, that’s for sure, and sleep deprivation can harm new families so much. We do hope the article helps you, and please let us know if we can ever be of further help. Good luck!

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