When Jade was about three weeks old, she had a few fussy nights where I tried everything to get her to sleep. I bounced and rocked and nursed and walked and changed and repeated. Nothing seemed to calm her. Finally I decided it was more important that I was calm while I was holding her, so I turned on some praise music. By the end of the first song, Jade was closing her eyes; by the end of the third song, she was fast asleep and we went to bed.
That night taught me that sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to help get a baby to sleep. Since then, I’ve often used music to soothe her to sleep—or simply played it in the living room while she slept to give her a consistent noise level that would keep her asleep.
Here are my tips for helping get a baby to sleep and keeping her there.
- Bounce on a yoga ball while holding baby.
- Nurse or bottle-feed baby to sleep.
- Put baby in the stroller and go for a walk.
- Use a white noise app or white noise toy.
- Take baby for a drive in the car.
- Lay down with baby and snuggle together.
- Use baby’s favourite blankie for naptime and bedtime.
- Establish a soothing naptime and bedtime routine.
- Play your favourite music for baby.
- Put baby in a sling or carrier and go for a walk.
- Rock baby to sleep.
- If you cloth diaper, consider using disposable diapers at night to avoid midnight diaper changes.
- Give baby a bath with soothing bubbles before bed.
- Toss baby’s blanket in the dryer for five minutes, then put baby in her crib and wrap her in the warm blanket.
- Use a soother for bedtime and naptime.
- Read baby stories for bedtime (or tell baby a story).
- Try to learn your baby’s sleep habits.
- Put the baby in the sling (or crib) and do the vacuuming.
- Hum or sing a lullaby while baby falls asleep.
- Run your finger from baby’s forehead down his nose and keep doing it until his eyes begin to drift closed and he falls asleep.
- Turn off or dim the lights while baby is falling asleep.
- Involve dad in bedtime routines.
- Pat or rub baby’s back.
- Try skin-to-skin contact, especially for really new babies.
And of course, once baby is asleep, you can get some work done—or get some sleep yourself! What things have helped your baby get to sleep or stay asleep?