Every parent knows that when you have a baby, getting sleep is the like the holy grail– something everyone talks about but nobody believes actually exists. You spend hours Googling sleep training and buying every gadget you can think of to aid your mission. Everyone wants to know what the magic recipe is for getting a baby to sleep through the night. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. Some babies are just naturally better sleepers than others. Yes, consistency and a predictable routine will go a long way to help your baby know when it is time to sleep, but some babies will just never sleep 12 hours straight.
However, there are a few tips you can try to give you baby the best chance of sleeping 6-8 hours straight.
- As I mentioned before, having a consistent predictable sleep routine is key. This can be as simple as pajamas- story- bottle/ breast- bed or include a bath, massage, lotion etc.
- Do your best to start laying baby down drowsy, but awake, when they are still a newborn. This reinforces their natural self soothing and helps them learn to fall asleep without you.
- Ensure baby is getting enough sleep during the day. It sounds counter-intuitive, but an exhausted baby is a stressed baby and a stressed babies does NOT sleep as long or as deeply.
- When you hear your baby wake up, don’t intervene immediately. Frequently, they will naturally calm them self and go back to sleep within 5 minutes if left undisturbed.
- Expect speed bumps along the way. A baby that is teething or going through a growth spurt is going to wake more frequently and need extra cuddles and calories.
- Additionally, if you work during the day and your baby (like mine) chooses to hunger strike rather than drink from a bottle, then they will wake more frequently at night in order to make up for missed calories. Sometimes, formula fed babies will also wake more at night simply to make up the bonding time they missed during the day.
- Take notice of cues that your baby is tired: zoning out, whining, eye rubbing, and rubbing their face into your chest. Once you know what times of day your baby is naturally tired, reinforce them by doing your bedtime routine and nap at those times. This schedule will change as your child grows. Young babies typically sleep 12-14 hrs at night. Then their day schedule becomes 90 minutes awake and 60-90 minutes asleep, alternating until bedtime. As they age the time between naps lengthen and the number of naps condense into fewer naps 1-3hrs long.
Furthermore, I have found there are some items which help you get baby to sleep deeper and longer.
Swaddle Transition: Zipadee Zip
Young infants can be swaddled to provide comfort and decrease the startle reflex that wakes them prematurely. However, once an infant reaches approximately 4 months of age and begins to roll over, swaddling becomes dangerous. This is due to the risk that they may roll onto their belly and not be able to push up on their arms— leading to suffocation. This advance from being snugly swaddled to flailing in the open can be quite disruptive to their sleep cycle leading to frequent awakenings and exhausted parents.
To help ease this transition I came across an amazing product called the Zipadee Zip. The Zipadee Zip allows a baby to feel the comfort of boundaries while still having the ability to roll and push up on their arms. Immediately I noticed a difference. Luke went from waking himself every 30-60 minutes to sleeping 6-8+ hour stretches. Plus as a bonus, he can chew and suck on his hands to self soothe without scratching his face.
Comfortable Pajamas: Softsie
Physical comfort is pivotal to helping baby fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. When I put my son to bed at night I want to know that he is wrapped in pajamas that are soft and nourish his skin. Softsie’s are deliciously soft! Infused into the Softsie Footie are aloe vera, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. These organic, all-natural ingredients are infused into the wonderfully soft fabric through a specially capsulation process. Softsies literally bathe your baby in nourishment. I wish these came in my size!
I would especially recommend these if your baby has sensitive skin or struggles with drying skin conditions such as eczema. While these pajamas alone are not enough to treat or cure any skin condition, I definitely notice a difference in the softness of Luke’s skin when he has spent an night in his Softsie footie pajamas.
Available in sizes 3 months to 2T. Separates are also now available and those go all the way to 5T.
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DockATot 10%off Link
Designed to surround your baby in a bed of breathable softness and security DockATot helps baby fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Prior to DockATot the only way my son would sleep would be to prop him up next to his boppy pillow so that he felt like he was being held. Unfortunately, this option only lasted 10 minutes maximum and meant I had to stay very close in case he wiggled off the Boppy in his sleep.
PLEASE NEVER USE DOCKATOT IN A CRIB! This is not it’s intended use and can lead to entrapment then suffocation if baby climbs out during sleeptime.
Once a child reaches approximately 1 year of age the risk of SIDS significantly decreases. At this point it is safe to introduce a small comfort object such as a lovey to help signal it is time for sleep and remind them of the safety of home when they are in a new place.
Slumberkins is a small company created by two moms as a new spin on the lovey. These creatures– the Slumber Sloth, Bigfoot and Yeti– are all cozy soft and utterly adorable. Each one is hand created with love and designed to help promote healthy sleep and relaxation. All of the Slumberkin creatures are accompanied by a unique Sleepytime Rhyme. These can be used by parents at bedtime while their child snuggles up with their creature to prepare the child for bed.
Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. Patricia Bast was born and raised in Southern California. She earned a bachelors degree in science at UC Irvine, then went on to graduate medical school from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Northern California. After several years working as a pediatrician Dr. Bast choose to expand her training to include lactation consultant. Dr. Bast is now raising her children and taking care of patients in beautiful Georgia.