Getting a newborn baby to sleep can be challenging, especially during the early weeks, but this can very well last months. Today I want to help you work on a baby’s sleep schedule that will help him, or her get good sleep habits and give you back your nights.
I am NOT a person who can survive on little sleep—I often joke that I wish I could survive on 6 hours of sleep a night…but it’s not how I was created. I am BIG on sleep as you all know, and I LOVE my sleep time rituals.
Sleep deprivation is truly the hardest part of motherhood because I see how it affects my health and my relationship with my darling little ones and my husband. There are so many sleepless nights when a new baby enters the picture. I’ve learned that it truly is a season of life—a messy but beautiful season. It’s honestly a short season, but it seems like an eternity in the middle of the night. It’s ok to love your baby fiercely and also crave sleep—you aren’t alone in that emotion, mama!
Baby sleep and baby schedules are hot topics with many different opinions. 🤪
When it comes to newborn sleep schedules, there isn’t a wrong or best way, just what works for you! I believe in comforting my babies, soothing my babies, and holding them but also laying a sleep foundation and creating an environment that helps my sweet babies thrive because they need enough sleep just as much as mama needs sleep. I’ve found that implementing a simple newborn sleep routine has made all the difference.
Other good things come with having healthy sleep habits for you and your baby. To begin with, an overtired baby (a baby that doesn’t get much sleep) tends to sleep less and have an irregular sleep cycle. Learning to identify overtired newborn babies and following the tips below will help create a baby’s bedtime routine. An overtired baby will show some of these symptoms:
- They have a hard time settling down for sleep.
- They take brief daytime naps instead of full-blown naps.
- They are extremely fussy or even cranky.
- For an older baby, they are more prone to meltdowns.
- They take naps when it’s not nap time, for example, in the high chair when eating.
That’s why it’s so important to create a nighttime routine that, in the long run, will help both you and your baby get a good night’s sleep!
Hudson has been a great sleeper overall—in fact, I don’t even like using the term “good” or “bad” when it comes to babies because they are all perfect and good!
I started working with Molly at Sleep Shore to figure out some kinks with Hudson’s sleep that I couldn’t quite figure out on my own as well as create a gentle newborn sleep schedule that allowed us all to thrive! It’s been great and SUCH a gentle process. Within a few days of working together, his daytime schedule was SO much better and that released so much stress for me.
Molly is a wife, toddler mom, and certified pediatric sleep coach. Her approach is very personalized, age-appropriate, and gentle, which I love! Ready to get your newborn, infant, toddler, or school-age child sleeping an extra hour or the entire night? Check out Sleep Shore and use code FLOURISH10 for 10% off!
From one mama to another, here’s a number of newborn sleep tips I’ve found extremely helpful!
10 Newborn Sleep Tips to Try With Your Baby
1. Pay attention to wake windows
This is my top baby sleep tip! An overly tired baby won’t sleep well, and a baby that isn’t tired enough won’t sleep well either or won’t sleep long (the same is true with adults too)! Wake windows are totally age-appropriate and specific to your baby. This has been the most helpful tool for me and really helps you understand and meet your baby’s needs in their current stage.
2. Lay a gentle foundation
That’s really all you can do at an early age. Your sweet baby is looking to you for guidance. I feel like “sleep training” gets such a bad reputation, and I would never ever let my baby scream alone. All I am doing is making gentle tweaks in our routine and sleep practices to help my sweet baby thrive. Babies need deep, restorative sleep, and laying the foundation helps make this possible.
3. Try your best to put baby in bed drowsy but not fully asleep
This is HUGE and really hard to accomplish sometimes, but that’s ok. It’s best they fall asleep on their own while tired but still awake. This is key to keeping your baby asleep, transitioning between sleep cycles, and a way to get baby to sleep longer. If they fall asleep at the bottle or on mama, when they wake up in a crib or different location, they don’t know where they are and will become startled or scared. Try this when you and your baby aren’t overly tired because it does take a bit of patience at times.
4. Have good alert time + fresh air
Fresh air makes ALL the difference to adults too! Our babies sleep way better after outdoor time. We also love the Lovery play gym for active play; it’s great for newborns too!
5. Invest in a good carrier or sling
I LOVE my WildBird sling the best, and when they say it comes with sleepy dust, it truly does. I love carrying my babies and having them snuggled close on my chest, but these are also a lifesaver for extending a nap, getting dinner ready, or taking a nap on the go.
6. Choose when you guard sleep the most for you
This has been so helpful with both our babies—I guard afternoon nap time as sacred. I either need to nap or work…or just need some peace and quiet, let’s be honest. Most often, I make sure we are home before nap time (so baby doesn’t sleep in the car and ruin nap time). During the week when I’m working, I will say no to activities that interfere with this because I know it makes a difference to our whole family—clearly, life happens, and we have things come up, but most of the time, we guard afternoon naps. Maybe for you, it’s the morning nap—whatever you decide, just keep it consistent.
7. Re-swaddle and try to stretch a nighttime feed
Clearly, if your baby needs to eat, please feed them, but this has been helpful for me as baby gets a little bigger, and those nighttime feedings can be stretched. It takes effort to think about this in the middle of the night, but big picture, it really helps. Try to re-swaddle, offer a pacifier and see if your little one can make it a bit longer, even if only 10 minutes. I found that Hudson would wake up when he was expecting food, but he didn’t actually need to eat or even want to eat. He was just waking out of habit.
8. Use a sound machine
Use white noise for all sleep. White noise helps mimic the sound of the womb and can calm a fussy baby. I love this one because it’s portable.
9. Make your baby’s sleep space as comfortable as possible
I really noticed this made a huge difference with Hudson starting about six weeks—he didn’t sleep as well when we were walking around our room, had a light on, or had the TV on at night. As soon as his environment was calm, he quickly fell asleep. We added blackout curtains in Hudson’s room, which also made the biggest difference in solidifying morning naps.
Newborns can mix their days and nights, so try to expose natural light during the day and keep it dark at night. This will help rectify any day/night confusion. When your child sleeps, make sure the room is pitch black, like a cave. Any tiny bit of light can stop melatonin production, which disrupts sleep. These are my favorite blackout shades, and they’re portable, so you can move them from room to room or if you travel.
10. Don’t compare your baby or your method to others
Really don’t compare—now that I am a mom, I’ve tried not to ask the question, “how is your baby sleeping” because it can bring up SO many emotions, especially if you are sleep deprived. Also, if you have more than one child, it’s so easy to compare their sleep habits, and I noticed this really put me in a negative space with our second baby. But each child is uniquely made with different needs and patterns, and that is ok!!
If you need a few more newborn sleep tips or need help figuring out the right schedule for your sweet newborn, baby, or toddler, I highly recommend Molly at Sleep Shore for one-on-one help! You can use my code FLOURISH10 for 10% off too!
Have you found any baby sleep tips that work well for you and your family?!
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