How To Get Newborn To Sleep: 10 Sleep Tips

How To Get Newborn To Sleep: 10 Sleep Tips

Something most parenting books conveniently leave out is that babies are tough cookies to make fall asleep. The world is new to them, full of foreign images and objects. How could they not be inquisitive or stimulated? Despite the great difficulty at times to make the little angels fall asleep, it’s not impossible. Luckily since the beginning of time, people have been trying to find ways to make parenting as easy as humanly possible.

Getting a newborn to sleep may seem easy, and it can be, with the right tips. Here are 10 tips to help even the most fidgety newborns to have a fulfilling night sleep:

Quick Swaddle

Swaddle

Babies are already restless enough when they’re awake, but for the first five months, they’re also prone to jerking around in their sleep. They have a startle reflex, or Moro reflex[1], that makes them feel like they’re falling while they’re asleep. Making a tight swaddle prevents them from jerking around all night and the tight squeeze helps give more comfortable, longer naps.

An easy way to swaddle goes as follows:

  1. Place the baby face up on the blanket.
  2. Straighten the left arm to tuck in the left side, under the chin.
  3. Bring the bottom corner over the baby’s body to tuck under the first fold.
  4. Then loosely twist the bottom.
  5. Make sure everything is secure.

There are multiple different procedures, or instructions, but find the one best for each child.

Limit The Length/ Amount of Naps Everyday

It’s a basic, but a very important step to more fulfilling nap times. Longer naps throughout the day, or more frequent ones, can cut into nap time. Either limit the time or amount of naps per day, whichever are bringing the best results. Studies recommend that a baby should have a different number of naps a day[3], depending on how many months old they are.

  1. Birth- 2 months: varies
  2. 2-3 months: 3-5 times a day
  3. 4-6 months: 2-3 times a day
  4. 7 months- 1 year- around 2 naps a day.

Make Soothing Routines

There are so many out there, but the important thing is finding the best one for each baby. Instituting a naptime as early as possible is beneficial for the baby’s circadian rhythm, helping their body and minds to establish night and day. Predictability is key.

Try to stay aware of their “sleepy cues,” such as eye-rubbing, fussiness, drooping eyes, or yawning. Experimenting at first is normal, to see which routine works best. But soon, get going right away with the most effective routine to get them asleep as quickly as possible. Some ideas include:

  1. Lullabies, poem, book: anything to read to them to indicate it’s time to get sleepy!
  2. Going right after bath time.

Avoid Eye Contact

Yes, very strange, but very useful. Studies show prolonged eye contact can be stimulating to the baby. It may indicate playtime to them, even if it’s just a short glance. So it’s a smart habit to work on in the first few months. The best thing to do is to keep eye contact with the baby’s belly, focusing primarily on a soothing, non-stimulating environment for a baby to fall asleep in.

Try Gentle Infant Massage

Some swear by it, some dismiss it, but if it works, it works. Many use the same variation of massages, which are gentle rubbing of hands or fingers against the baby’s face. The gentle, rhythmic movements are an easy tool to help baby’s fall asleep faster and peacefully. The variations include:

  1. Rubbing in an upward and downward motion on the sides of the face.
  2. Rubbing the temples.
  3. Going from the nose to the ears, in a soft, relaxing motion.
  4. Rubbing upward on both sides of the chin.
  5. Making a number ‘3’ motion on the sides of the face.

Adjust The Environment Around The Baby

Getting a grasp on the baby’s environment, whether it be their own room or in the master bedroom, is a great way to get started making a routine. Some helpful tips include:

  1. Muffling the door lock with thick rubber bands, to eliminate loud entrances and exits.
  2. Investing in black-out curtains to protect their little, sensitive eyes.
  3. Invest in a fan to put in the opposite of the room to help with temperature control and increasing the white noise.
  4. Adding a barrier around the crib for even more protection.
Cuddle

Cuddle

Having skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her child can both create a stronger bond and give comfort to newborns trying to sleep. Multiple studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute[4], have shown that when mothers cuddle or touch their baby, the experiences create brain-cell connections. Harvard[5] found in a study that having the baby in the same room, near the parents, can lessen the risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.

Try Motion Naps

If any baby is having an issue with sleep, most babies love motion. From a carrier to a stroller, they find it very relaxing. For even just once a day, it can help tremendously with nap times. Babies are familiar with rocking movements, so using it to one’s advantage with nap time is the easiest way to get into a routine.

Use White Noise

No baby wants to be awoken by the sounds of rustling through the house. While some work with classical music to lull babies to sleep, some others have had great luck with utilizing a white noise machine. This cancels out other noises throughout the house, while not hurting their sensitive ears. When they were in the womb[6], it was incredibly loud, so they’re happy for the low frequency hums. Try to avoid overstimulation whenever it’s possible.

How To Get Newborn To Sleep: 10 Sleep Tips

Realize Mother Knows Best

Mother’s intuition is a tool as old as time. For centuries, people have relied on it and lives have been saved from it. Experimenting with different tools and routines is part of the job. But the end all, is the gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to it. Something feels right, roll with it. Just remember to take it day by day.


[1] Moro Reflex: What is it and How Can Swaddling Help? (n.d.). Retrieved October 04, 2020, from https://www.nestedbean.com/pages/moro-reflex

[3] Bellefonds, C. (2020, June 04). Getting Baby on a Sleep Schedule. Retrieved October 04, 2020, from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/baby-sleep-schedule.aspx

[4] Nicole Nifo August 8, 2. (2018, October 26). How to do baby massage and why it’s beneficial. Retrieved October 04, 2020, from https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-development/benefits-baby-massage/

[5] Claire McCarthy, M. (2020, August 18). Room sharing with your baby may help prevent SIDS-but it means everyone gets less sleep. Retrieved October 04, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-having-your-baby-sleep-in-your-room-2017060611855

[6] How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep: Tips to Get Your Overtired Baby to Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved October 04, 2020, from https://www.nestedbean.com/blogs/zen-blog/how-to-get-your-newborn-to-sleep/

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