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How to Get a Baby to Sleep Easily & Every Time?

a headshot of our reviewer Connie

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

Baby sleeping with toy

9 April 2024 6 min read

Your cute little baby has a world yet to discover. They don’t know how to walk or talk or how to fall asleep on their own. Older children and adults simply go to bed, relax themselves and fall asleep. Simple, right? But, how to get a baby to sleep?

Well, for your baby that’s not simple at all, it’s more like a rocket science. Babies need their parents’ help to get relaxed and fall asleep. Your baby completely depends on you when it comes to sleepy time. So, in this article, we are going to talk about how to get a baby to sleep. But, before we get to the part how to make your baby sleepy, we are going to talk safety and some science. Do you know how your baby’s sleep cycles work? Let’s find out!

Tricks for putting a baby to sleep:

Understanding your baby’s sleep cycles

Did you know that your baby’s sleep cycles differ a lot from those of grownups? Babies spend the most of their sleep in REM phase. Their deep sleep phases are short and it takes a lot longer for babies to reach them. Sleep cycles of babies last for only 30 to 50 minutes. So, expect your baby to need more time to fall into deep sleep phase.

Now we can get the tips and tricks for putting babies to sleep!

Sunrise – sunset: follow the rhythm of nature

First things first – understand your baby’s circadian rhythm. We are all dependent on natural day-night rhythm, but the babies are extremely dependent on it! Infants are very sensitive to the sunrise – sunset pattern. Smart use of this is one of the most effective tricks for putting babies to sleep.

In the early morning open the shades and move the curtains, let as much natural sunlight as you can! Then, in the evening, start to dim the lights and close the curtains.  

Peaceful and soothing bath

a baby is having a bath before bed time

A warm and pleasant bath can help your baby to relax and feel sleepier. Even adults get sleepier after taking a hot bath. Just, don’t make a mistake with using toys as they can overstimulate your baby. Again, dim the lights, get rid of the rubber ducks and make your baby’s bath quiet, peaceful and relaxing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you ideally don't want to make the bath too hot or too close to bedtime. This is because a person's body temperature needs to drop in order for them to fall asleep.

After the bath, a nice massage

This is one of the quite useful and cute tricks for putting babies to sleep. Babies love getting a nice massage from their mommies. This help the bonding between mommy and baby, it helps baby’s emotional development and it helps baby to get sleepy! So, just before bedtime, give your baby a light massage. You can use lotion, just be sure that is mild and sensitive.

Don’t stimulate your baby by making eye contact

Babies can easily interpret eye contact with their parents as an invitation to a fun activity. Avoid looking your baby directly in the eyes when you are trying to put them to sleep. You can accidentally make them all woken up by meeting their glance.

Adjust the temperature

a woman setting up the temperature on a thermostat

The right room temperature is important for sleep, both for adults and for the babies. Experts say that the ideal bedroom temperature for babies is between 68–72°F (20–22.2°C).

With that being said, some do recommend sleeping in a cold room, since it helps your body temperature drop more quickly. However, we wouldn't recommend doing this with your baby.

Take the control over daily naps

When it comes to daily napping you have to be cautious, moderate and smart. Too much napping can leave your baby not feeling tired and sleepy in the evening. But, baby that is too tired can get cranky and very hard to put to sleep. Beware from both traps – space out the naps during the day and control their length.

Co-sleep with your baby

an image of a mother sleeps with a baby

Co-sleeping with a baby can be a great and pleasant experience for both the baby and the mother. But co-sleeping is also one of the tricks for putting babies to sleep! Babies get relaxed when they sense their mother’s presence.

Plus, you get to bond with your baby, make some sweet memories, and maybe even take a few cute pictures. So, there's honestly no reason not to co-sleep with your baby!

Don’t interrupt the crying

Sometimes babies cry when there are not quite awake. They cry just a little bit and then go back to sleep. So, when you hear your baby crying don’t jump into their room immediately! It may just happen that you would be the thing that actually woke them up. It sounds hard not to react at your baby’s cry, but, babies are not always fully awake when they cry. So, leave them alone for a few moments or very gently check on them. Just avoid disturbing them in these situations.

Dream-feed

Feeding your baby before sleep can help them to have longer and more pleasant sleeping experience. Dream-feed is often advised both from experienced mothers and the experts as one of the good and healthy tricks for putting babies to sleep.

A soothing touch

an image of a mother playing with a baby

Babies get relaxed when they sense their mother’s touch. Place your hand gently on your baby’s tummy to get them feel relaxed and secure.

Plus, according to Stanford, having skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby is important in other ways as well! In fact, it's even recommended to hold the baby immediately after birth.

A quiet whisper

One more thing that babies enjoy a lot is hearing their mothers voice. Talk to your baby when you are putting them to sleep. Just be sure to talk in a soothing, quiet voice that will get them sleepy rather than stimulated and playful.

Routine

Maybe adults get desperate when they are going through the motions, but babies love the routine! Begging and ending a day in the same way, helps your baby to understand the world around to feel more relaxed and confident about it. Having a routine that precedes bedtime is one of the great tricks for putting babies to sleep.

Calm yourself down

Your baby can get relaxed and sleepy if they feel that you are calm and relaxed. So, make your breathing calm and deep, something like you would if you were meditating. Use this trick the entire time when you are preparing your baby for bed.

Sweet words

an image of a mother singing to her baby

When whispering to your baby before bed, choose a subject. Tell them soothing and warm things, tell them that you love them and that they are secure. Your baby may not understand your words yet, but they will understand your mood. While talking sweet words to your baby you will get mellow and relaxed and the baby will pick it up.

And while slightly different, we'd also put lullabies under this category.

White noise or classical music

Babies don't need complete silence and they enjoy some pleasant audio stimulation. Use white noise machines or a soothing music when trying to make your baby sleepy. Classical music can be a great choice because it can remain a habit for when your baby grows up. As your baby gets older they will start to “understand” and appreciate these sounds more and more. So, as time goes by, this music will from a simple bedtime trick become something that will help your child's intellectual and emotional growth.

Preventing the “scare jumps”

Babies can often get a sensation that they are falling, and thus be startled and woken up by it. Using a swaddle is a great way to prevent your baby from waking up this way – One more of the tricks for putting babies to sleep that many mommies use.

Understand what's your baby trying to “say”

You can read your baby's behaviour and understand when they are the sleepiest. Look for the clues such as: losing interest during the playtime, closing fists, losing concertation, sucking on fingers or arching, leaning backwards.

Timing the diaper-change

You can use the diaper-change in two ways. First, time it smartly before bedtime, so that your baby can sleep longer. Second, use it as a routine that will “signal” your baby that it's sleepy time. This is one of the tricks for putting babies to sleep that many parents use.

Final words

The main long-term aim of all tricks for putting babies to sleep is to learn your baby of independent falling asleep. Young infants don’t know how to fall asleep on their own, that’s why they can cry when they wake up in the middle of the night. The main goal of these tips and tricks is to eventually help you teach your baby how to relax and fall asleep on their own. Until that time comes, we hope that these tricks on how to get a baby to sleep will help you to catch some shuteye.

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About the author

Connie
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
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