Babies love to sleep, eat, repeat. Right? Except the sleep bit can sometimes take work. There are no magic tricks but try these 10 baby sleep tips and you might find they help baby sleep better and you’ll get a bit of rest too.
Our tips for helping your baby sleep better
- Learn to recognise your baby’s signs of tiredness. If they’re yawning, stretching, or rubbing eyes and ears, it’s probably a good time to try for a sleep.
- Figure out a baby sleep routine for both daytime and night-time. Bright lights and activity in the day, and dim lights, dark blinds and baths in the evening. They should know what to expect over time.
- Consider incorporating a bedtime routine around 20 minutes before you want your baby to be asleep. Consistency is key and stick to your baby’s bedtime sleep routine as much as possible. For example, feed, bath, book, and bed in the same order each night.
- Keep loud, fun games for daytime and try not to overstimulate in the evenings. Use soft voices and make less eye contact during the nighttime, even if your little one wakes up to play.
- Try not to tiptoe around a sleeping baby. While understanding the difference between day and night is helpful, silence in the house could turn them into a light sleeper when they go anywhere else for naps.
- Try to get your baby used to napping out and about while young. Take your baby outdoors for a walk or to a café at nap time so they get used to all the noises. They have a few years of napping ahead, so it will be better if they get used to going with the flow a bit. Get a cool, breathable cover for the pram for naps on the go (a muslin cloth works well).
- Try white noise (everyday sounds which are repetitive such as your vacuum cleaner). It’s said to remind them of the womb and help them relax. Look for apps or go on YouTube.
- Watch out for certain sleep crutches. Rocking might work now, but soon they’ll be a lot heavier and might expect it every night. Try gradually weaning them off cuddle/rocking time before a sleep-association is established. You could go from rocking to placing your baby in the cot and giving a rhythmic pat and "shhh" to sleep. Once that works, next time decrease the number of pats and "shhhs". Eventually you will be able to put your baby down to go sleep by themselves with this gradual approach. It’s a chance for your baby to learn to self-soothe without crying it out.
- Consider how to share feeds with your partner or ask a friend or relative for help so it’s not always you getting up in the night. If you’re breastfeeding, read our article on expressing breast milk which may help.
- Understand that every baby is different and what works for some may not work for others. Talk to your healthcare professional if you need help. Remember you can only do so much.
Remember, your baby will eventually sleep through the night —there is light at the end of the tunnel.