The How To Of Putting Baby To Sleep


The How To of Putting Your Baby to Sleep

When you know the how to of putting your baby to sleep, you will be in a better position to sleep train your baby by fostering excellent sleep habits in him or her. This will also give you a chance to get some well-deserved rest. A baby who sleeps well is a more engaging, tolerant, and patient baby after a good quality nap or night’s rest. New parents usually have a hard time trying to get their newborns to sleep through the night or even fall asleep at all.

My son is currently 18 months old at this time and poor baby, he has always had a tough time when it comes to settling down and going to sleep. My sons erratic sleep patterns is what has inspired me to create this website in the first place and I have learned SO MUCH so far! Right now he is going through his 18th month sleep regression and I just can’t wait for it to be over!

Sometimes, as a tired desperate mom, sometimes I do things I know that I shouldn’t, just to get my 18 month old back to sleep quickly. So then I can go back to sleep. So that we can both have a quick win-win situation. What do I do? Well, I am guilty of bringing my son in bed with me, in the middle of the night, which is TOTALLY not fair to neither of us. Mostly because I sleep in a small twin bed, so its literally me teetering off the edge. My son has his own bed, and we share a room, so its pretty hard for me to ignore him when he decides to stand up in bed and call for me, EVER so loudly…. so, I kind of promised myself I would let him sleep in his own bed, I sleep in mine, we can share the room and our beds both fit, we should BOTH be happy, right? No. He still wants to sleep bedsides me. Even though I compromised my bed space so he could share this room with me and be in the same room as mommy. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I had a big house with many rooms I would still want my son in my bedroom with me. But…. in the same bed? Mm, no not so much. Just because he wiggles and moves around so much in his sleep and I

am such a light sleeper.

Sometimes, I will even get up out of bed, go to the kitchen and pour some milk in a bottle and give it to my son, in the  middle of the night. That is a BIG no no! Because only babies under 6 months still drink milk / require milk at night because they need to eat around the clock. By now my son should not only be weaned off the bottle, he should most definitely be weaned from night “feedings”!!! But here I am, pacifying him and not really doing a good thing by promoting him drinking a bottle in the middle of the night, again and again. I try to do this so seldom, but during the night I have two choices to pacify my screaming, awake child…. and sometimes I cave in and make a bottle…. So sue me!

… just because I want to go back to sleep myself!

Baby-Doppler-Sonoline-B

Tips on the How to of Putting Your Baby to Sleep

As a single mom, I am the only person responsible for putting my son to sleep. Every night. I do not have to be “on the same page” with a partner, although if I had a partner I think things would be a little easier with regard to “taking turns” putting the baby to bed. I do not have to report to another person if I decide one night I want to bring my son in bed with me, or if I am caving in and allowing my son to drink a bottle in the middle of the night ( even if I made a pact not to do that anymore ) – I can break the rules I set for my sons bedtime and switch things up at night to suit whatever is going on for me that evening. Although I have to admit that my inconsistency has led to it being much more difficult to get my toddler to sleep easy. However, I have tried many tricks and below is what has worked best for me:

Swaddling

Babies usually have a startle reflex from birth to about 5 months. This startle reflex usually makes them feel like they are falling. This falling sensation will result in jerking movements that will make the baby wake up. This is why swaddling the baby tightly helps to keep him or her from being startled awake, not to mention it helps the baby sleep longer and better. Keep in mind that your baby also spent 9 months in the fetal position so they are much more comfortable with their arms & legs bonded.

Dreamfeeding

This involves feeding the baby right before you turn in for the night to prevent your baby from waking up hungry a few hours later. So even though they are already asleep, it is a good idea to rouse your baby gently around 11pm and sneak in one more feeding before you retire to bed. Research shows that sneaking in a feeding between 10 p.m and midnight reduces the chance of night-wakings among babies 3 to 6 months. Dreamfeeding can be very helpful in making your baby sleep longer while you do the same.

Restrict Nap Lengths During the Day

It might seem counter intuitive to wake your baby from sleep but actually, when the baby sleeps for too long during daytime, then sleeping at night might be a problem. It is advisable to wake your baby after she sleeps for 2 hours to feed, keep her awake for some time, and then put her down to nap again. Should you feel your baby needs to nap for longer, you can increase nap time to two and a half hours. Interrupting your baby’s sleep during daytime will help him/her sleep better during the night.

White Noise

It can be difficult for your little one to get to sleep and stay asleep if he can hear everything happening in the house. Take advantage of white noise in the baby’s room by putting a fan on the medium setting in the baby’s room and not next to the baby directly. You can also use a white noise machine. White noise is quite helpful in putting the baby to sleep particularly when you are traveling.

The Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle

His cycle involves the baby waking up, eating immediately, staying awake to play for some time, and then going back to sleep. The cycle serves to promote full feedings by enabling the baby to eat after she wakes up immediately. The baby also has more energy after waking up so he will be more willing to go longer before feeding again and to take full feedings. Feeding the baby after he/she sleeps instead of before, keeps the baby from correlating sleep with food.




Use Routines before Naps and during Bedtime

Babies are known to flourish on predictability, structure, and routine. If you want your baby to generate order in a chaotic world, you need to generate a consistent routine for her. A routine before any nap can include taking baby to her room, putting her in a wearable blanket or a sleep sack, putting on some white noise, singing a lullaby, cuddling her a bit, and saying some sleepy words. The bedtime routine may be lengthier and consist of a massage, a bath, story time, a feeding, swaddling the baby or putting her in a wearable blanket, switching on the white noise machine, cuddling her, and saying sleepy words to her. If you follow the same routine consistently, this cues your little one to prepare to fall asleep thus with time she learns that sleep follows both routines.

Strategic Diaper Changing

If you change the baby’s diaper right before giving him a night feeding, this keeps him from awaking too much after the feeding. When he wakes up, make sure you change the baby’s diaper and swaddle him again immediately after a night feeding to help him prepare for sleep. Changing the baby’s diaper after feeding him may make him too alert and thus it will be harder to go back to sleep. It will be very frustrating to find out that you have woken your baby up while changing her diaper instead of just leaving her alone to sleep peacefully. If you have good quality nighttime diapers, the gel inside the diaper will keep moisture away from your baby’s skin. So unless there is poop, save yourself the trouble and leave the diaper on until morning.

Understand How Babies Sleep

Most parents think that keeping the baby awake for longer will tire him/her out so the baby will sleep more and the opposite is actually true. This will end up over-stimulating your baby making it harder for her to go to sleep and stay asleep. Overtired babies rarely sleep longer. To be clear, it is important to restrict nap-lengths in order to encourage nighttime sleep. Ensure you feed the baby as much as you can during the day so you so not have to do as many nighttime feedings. You should not keep your baby awake for too long because she will have trouble going to sleep in addition to being fussy or overtired.

Sleep Train

These tips will be very helpful in helping your baby develop healthy sleep habits. Babies are considered officially ready for sleep training once they get to four months of age. At this juncture, your baby will be able to sleep for longer and will be more responsive to sleep training techniques such as Ferber sleep training, babywise sleep training, and extinction sleep training. These are just a few of the many sleep training methods available and I will cover them all soon so you know which direction to take when the time to sleep train your baby reaches.




Sleep Regression is Bound to Happen

After sleep training your baby, you will have a few peaceful weeks before he or she starts waking you up in the middle of the night again. This is called sleep regression and it is completely normal especially when your baby is going through significant developmental milestones including a new sibling, illness, travel, or routine changes. Sleep regression can happen at around 4 or 9 months when sleep patterns change or separation anxiety kicks in. You can get through this hiccup by going back to the basics. Establish a consistent and predictable daytime routine that you stick to and a soothing evening bedtime routine. You can try another sleep training approach for a week and reexamine your approach if there are no changes.

My son’s 18th month regression is no picnic I tell you. My son sleeps in the same room as I do but in his own bed. At 1am he will wake up, stand up and rattle his bed back & forth to get my attention. I try my best to stay still and quiet and not let him know I am awake, hoping that he will soothe himself and go to sleep. But once he is up, that is it. He will start crying, and then yelling and he won’t stop until I get up and do something about it. What he wants me to do is bring him in bed with me, but instead I put my earphones in my ears and cover my head with a blanket. Sometimes he gives up trying to get me out of bed and goes back to sleep as if nothing happened. If he doesn’t let up and continues to holler, I will get up and make a bottle for him which usually pacifies him until he falls back asleep. I am not saying this is the right thing to do, but after a year and half on inconsistent sleep, this is how I am dealing with it.

You are probably getting to know your baby’s sleep needs not to mention his/her rhythms and patterns, which are constantly changing. The dos and don’ts, blogs, and books on sleep may overwhelm you for your baby. When it comes down to it, you will be doing what I am; a little bit of EVERYTHING, white noise, swaddling, singing, etc… there isn’t one magic answer of the How To Of Putting Baby To Sleep, it is a holistic, all around approach because sleep with babies is a learned skill. Hopefully, this list of how to tips that will help you get your baby to sleep will allow both you and your little one to get some rest and develop healthy sleep habits that work for both of you.

 


Please follow and like us:

Hi Sophia and thanks for your wonderful article.
You have some great advice here. I’m a grandma now, but have watched my daughter go through two pregnancies. Her oldest is a great sleeper but not her second. And she too, will bring him in her bed lol.
Despite all the reading material out there, you yourself know your child best. And each mom does what they need to, to survive haha.
I think your child is very blessed to have you as mom!!
Cheers,
Suzanne

Hi Suzanne, thank you 🙂 Its really hard to be a mom because you love your child so much all you want is for their happiness. I am sure your daughter assumed all babies were good sleepers! LOL boy was she is for it when the second one came around huh? I think in the heat of the moment it just seems easier for all parties involved to let baby come into bed. It solves a problem immediately but in the LONG run it creates a habit where baby will never go back to bed peacefully. So either you need to invest in a BIGGER california king size bed or climb into babies bed with them…. both sound kind of , impractical? The tough part is dealing with the crying. But it has to happen! Some babies only cry a night or two. Some babies take literally WEEKS ( but that is in the most part with the inconsistency of the parents )

Thank you Kiara. I think parents sometimes tend to let naps run too long because they are trying to take advantage of the “down time” for whatever reason, either working from home or trying to get a couple chores in before baby wakes. But in the long run, it will make baby restless at night and be more problematic for parents.

I completely agree with restricting nap times during the way. Sometimes as parents we just enjoy the peace and quiet when we can and sometimes those naps get dragged on for too long that it causes you problems later. Great read thanks for the tips

Definitely. If you let a nap go on for too long, when it comes down to bedtime, your little one is not going to be tired at all! Sometimes I am guilty of letting my 18 month old nap for too long, and what ends up happening is him waking up at 3 am ready to start the day! Naps shouldn’t be longer than 3 hours they say but I think a good healthy nap is 2 hours max. Ask your pediatrician always because your child may have special needs or different restrictions.

I agree with not waking a baby to feed them. They will wake when they are hungry. Both my babies slept through the night by 2months of age, but every baby is different. We didn’t do any sleep training with out boys. The first has always been a good sleeper, and the second has always been a fussy sleeper, but we know when he cries, there’s a reason.

Hey there,
Boy you sure are lucky to have children who slept through the night at 2 months! Hehe, my son is 18 months old and is going through his 18 month sleep regression. I have had a few months of solid sleep and them BAM, back to waking up multiple times in the night for different things. I never had to wake my son up to feed him, he never had a problem letting me know he was hungry in the middle of the night lol.

Hi. Thanks for the tips. What I really got from your article is that inconsistency enables the poor sleep patterns. Kind of like Pavlov’s dog. When you wake the baby and restrict its nap, how old is the baby? Does this go for any age range?

Hi there! You are exactly right. If you switch up your nightly ritual, and change the rules, your baby is not going to know what to expect. They will be the ones running the show if you let them. This goes for babies of all ages, from newborn to 2 years old, they all need consistency. Thank you for your comment 🙂

Hi Sophia
What a wonderful website you have and such great information for new Mum’s and Dad’s
I didn’t realise there were so many great products available for babies and parents so thank you for sharing this information in such an easy to understand way
All the very best to you

Hi Vicki,

Thank you so much, I am really glad you find this information helpful and useful. I am trying to make this parenting journey more informative for new parents because we all know having kids doesn’t come with a manual!

Sophia, I tried ALL of the methods you suggest at some point or another. Sleep training is hard work and oh my goodness when you’re sleep deprived you just want to get it right. I have twins and I was determined that they would be good sleepers because I needed it for my own sanity.
I did everything on quite a strict routine and this really worked for us. I did the dream feed at midnight, then brought it back to 11pm after a few months, then eventually 10pm before I could drop it altogether. I would feed and change one baby, then feed and change the other. Then pray they would sleep!
It gets easier I promise you, and it sounds like you’re doing all the right things. All the very best to you and your delightful little man 🙂

Hi Melissa! Oh my goodness, twins! That is a whole ‘nother can of worms when you have twins. Sleep training IS hard work, but when you have to alternate between two little ones, I just couldn’t imagine! I am certain it gets easier, as most mothers promise. I know that when my son is a teenager I am going to be thinking back on the days when he was a wee little boy. I am definitely enjoying motherhood even though it is very tiring at times!

Fantastic article this is a must read for all parents that struggle with baby’s sleeping. This article is packed with a lot of great Information you’ve done nicely. Thank you so much. Davd

Thanks for this insight of baby sleeping (or not). I have 2 daughters and with regard to sleeping, they were totally different. While the elder one slept through the night right from the start, the younger one woke up 2-3 times every night until she was almost 2 years. As you said, there are plenty of strategies and advises, but everyone have to find out, what works for his own baby or just be patient until this period is over.

Hi Felix, thank you for your comment. You are right, all children are different when it comes to sleep and sleep training. Some start off as great sleepers, so well that some parents even have to wake their own newborns up at night to feed them – imagine that!? This wasn’t the case for me. In my situation, my son has gone through many sleep regressions but we have also had many good sleep nights. It all depends. As in your case, your first daughter was a great sleep, but your second had some trouble, but it seems like in the end it all worked out right? I don’t think my son will be a terrible sleeper when he is older. But to manage the best way you can, is the only way you can it seems. Cheers to good sleep as parents!

Thanks for this great blog post. I didn’t know why swaddling was so important. It seems to have gotten a boost in the past few years. I don’t remember hearing about swaddling so much in the eighties and nineties.

Hi Melinda, you know you are right! Like fashion, the trend of how we take care of our babies always changes throughout time. DID YOU KNOW, that back in 1920’s and 1930s in London, people were putting their babies in CAGES and AIRING them outside? Yup! This was truly a “trend” back then. Some weirdo named Dr. Luther Emmett Holt wrote a book in 1890 called, “The Care and Feeding of Children” and in his book he recommends people placing their children outside for hours at a time, even in the cold weather to “air out”, and because he was a doctor, a lot of people took him seriously and did this strange, strange practice. If you google, “Babies outside in cages” you will see lots of pictures from back in the day when people would do this. It seems very silly and dangerous now, but back then this was the norm! If you didn’t “air your baby” you were considered doing some sort of child abuse. Well… times have sure changed, and all over the world there has been weird customs of how to take care of children and babies. We know now that newborns like to be swaddled because they were in the womb for 9 months and therefore their bodies are accustomed to being like that. It is more comfortable for them to be like that. It seems practical and makes sense. Airing your baby outside 10 stories high off the ground, does not make any sense. lol Humans…. tsk tsk.

Hi Sophia, try not to beat yourself up too much about your choices, and do what works for your and your beautiful son. I’ve got 3 kids and their sleep patterns as babies where all completely different. My eldest wouldnt “switch of”f and we would have to sit in her room for her to go to sleep until about 12 months, then from about 14 months she would come in with us. From about 3 she was back in her bed, (when my son came along) and she sleeps now 7-7. My son was a good settler and sleeper until about 8 months, then he got quiet sick with regular colds and breathing problems, so he was in our bed regularly which became a habit. Now he is 3 and starts in his own bed, but guaranteed as soon as I roll over to go to sleep, I hear little pitter patter up the hallway and he still jumps in and settles straight to sleep until 7am. Now with my 18 month old, she has been an amazing sleeper as soon as she was out, she sleeps 7-7 after dinner bath bed routine. She also has a milk bottle in the morning, so dont stress about that either, (so does my 3 year old occassionally.) I’d rather them full, and no mess fed out of a bottle, rather than walking around with a sippy cup spilling it everywhere. They are fed, they are happy, they are healthy. And thats all I can ask for! As a parent, you do what you have to to get through day by day! You are an amazing mum, your son loves you unconditionally so always remember this! xx P.S. swaddling when newborn to about 6 months was a life saver for me!! Love to Dream swaddle up, are amazing and I always gift one to new parents, they are very thankful!!

Hi Nicole. Fed, happy and healthy. Sigh. You know when I read that, I agreed but as a new mom, I feel like my son needs EVERYTHING. I guess if you have 2 more kids, you loosen up a bit and don’t take everything so seriously. I am a first time parent. I feel guilty when my son doesn’t have everything in the daily food pyramid, I get upset if I don’t plan enough structured activity for him and I beat myself up if I am too busy and my son isn’t able to go outside a few times a day. I can tell he is bored and that makes me sad. I am a single mom, so there is so much I need to do, as well as maintain an online business so I can stay home, so its hard to juggle that and keep my little man happy. I should adopt your attitude and just be happy if he is fed, happy and healthy, which he is. My son has his own playroom, his grandparents to play with him and my father takes him to the park so I can get some housework done, I am SO thankful for this. Also as a single mom, I am the only one with my son during the night and when he doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep. I bring him to bed with me, and HE sleeps, but I don’t because he wiggles and moves around and its only a twin sized bed we share. I would like to sleep too. I can’t wait for my son to be able to sleep from 7 to 7, not only so that I can get some rest but wowzers, 12 hours of sleep sure does seem restful and I want my son to feel well rested and sleep well FOR HIM. For HIS little body’s sake. Because I love my son so much. I hate to see him toss & turn at night. I know that even though I have this small bed, he will sleep better if he was next to me, and so I sacrifice my comfort for his. This is #momlife and this my vice, that I want everything for my baby. I am able to see that I am beating myself up and I am self aware enough to know that if I have another child though, I will be a lot more flexible and not so hard on myself. Thank you for your comment and blessings to you and your 3 wonderful children 🙂

Hi Sophia,

Great post. We have our little grand daughter staying with us and although she is not a baby, she is 3, we do have some trouble getting her to sleep. Not every night just the odd night here and there.

I am going to share this post with my partner and go thru each idea you mention here and try the best ones out. Thanks for a great post,

Kev

Hi Kevin,

I am glad you found this site helpful! That is what I aim to do! I want to make sure that all parents know that they have the tools they need to put their babies to sleep. And that there is no ONE right answer, it is a holistic approach because sleeping is a learned skill. Thank you for sharing 🙂

24 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.