How can I get my Baby to Sleep?

wiseGEEK Writer

When you ask how to get your baby to sleep, you’re likely to have more advice than you can deal with. Each baby is an individual, and will respond differently to soothing methods. When a baby continues to cry and will not sleep, consider some common causes like colic or needing to burp that might be resulting in the baby’s discomfort. Just like adults and older children, babies tend not to sleep well if they are uncomfortable.

It is normal for babies to wake every couple of hours as they cycle into light sleep.
It is normal for babies to wake every couple of hours as they cycle into light sleep.

The first thing you should do before attempting to get your baby to sleep is to make sure the baby has all needs met. The baby should have a full tummy, be burped, and be wearing a dry diaper. It may be easier to get your baby to sleep if he or she is swaddled. Young babies may miss the comfort of the tight quarters of the womb, and may want to be bundled up so they feel safer and more at home.

Young infants with stomach pain may be suffering from colic.
Young infants with stomach pain may be suffering from colic.

With young infants, you can usually get your baby to sleep quite easily. Most people recommend doing as little as possible for the baby beyond seeing to its basic needs. Infants can sleep over half the day, and they don’t necessarily need rocking, singing, or patting to get to sleep. As the baby ages, you can begin to explore different methods for getting your baby to sleep.

Many studies do show that babies tend to sleep more comfortably when in close proximity to parents. Some parents employ co-sleeping, but others worry they might roll onto the baby accidentally. If you’re concerned about sharing a bed with the baby, consider placing the baby’s crib next to your bed so that baby can hear your breathing. This is also helpful when baby wants to be fed at night, since you don’t have to travel far to reach him.

You can also help get your baby to sleep by gently rocking him, walking around, singing to him, or when all else fails, taking him for a drive. Use this last method only as a last resort, since he may come to depend on nightly trips. While you help get your baby to sleep, try to keep baby close to your heartbeat. This is comforting to the baby, who is used to listening to mom’s heartbeat.

Sometimes you get your baby to sleep accidentally, through pushing her in a stroller, or simply by holding her. It’s a good idea to let baby stay in a stroller or carseat if he’s asleep already. You don’t really need to transfer him to a crib for napping. When you do have to move the baby, consider the following suggestions.

Make sure the baby is sleeping deeply before moving him or her. Usually if the baby is in your arms, allow about five minutes to pass before attempting to move him. Have the baby’s sleeping quarters all set. Ease baby into the crib or bassinet, and keep your hands touching the baby for another minute. These tips will normally help keep baby asleep during a move.

It is normal for babies to wake through the night. They will usually wake at least once, and some wake every couple of hours, when they cycle into light sleep. Especially in the early months, its fairly easy to get your baby to sleep if you simply feed the baby, quickly change him, and employ the rock, walk or hold method. Sometimes babies drift off during a feeding, which you should let them do.

When you are having trouble and can’t get your baby to sleep, consult parenting books and your baby’s doctors. It can help to try several different methods to find one best for your baby. But do recall that babies’ schedules during the first few months will be variable. Try to sleep when your baby does so you can get as much sleep as possible.

The younger a baby is the more they typically sleep.
The younger a baby is the more they typically sleep.

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Discussion Comments


my baby is also a good sleeper during the day but she disturbs in the night. but every baby has the same habit. Regards, eczema cream 


my 9 month old son was once a pretty good sleeper, although we've been co-sleeping with him. he has never slept well in a crib. although it may have something to do with getting 4 new teeth in about a month, he is waking every hour, and will only go back to sleep if he is nursed or rocked. my first son never slept through the night until he was over a year old, and my daughter was an awesome crib sleeper. although how you "teach" your child to sleep is a huge factor, i think some kids are just better sleepers than others. i really don't' want to try the cry it out method with him, but i fear i will have to soon. my husband and i are both exhausted!

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