If your baby won’t sleep, has trouble sleeping in their crib or bassinet, or is keeping you up at night, everyone in the house is missing out on much-needed, high-quality rest. This guide is filled with sleeping tips for new parents– from baby sleep training to advice for sleep-deprived parents. Find snooze strategies for the whole family below.
Every parent experiences some sleepless nights with their new baby, but if your baby is keeping you awake night after night, then here are some simple things you can do for sleep training baby as efficiently as possible!
Of course, before anything, always check the basics to make sure baby is comfortable and ready to sleep. Is baby hungry? Does baby have a dirty diaper? Is the room (or baby) too hot or cold? Could baby be in pain or sick? To learn more, check out our other blog – Why baby won’t stop crying?
Once you’ve confirmed your baby is fed and comfortable, follow these sleeping tips for new parents that will help you and baby both get the rest you deserve!
1.) Turn UP the volume on soothing
The room might actually be too quiet for baby to sleep well. Is there even such a thing as “too quiet?” YES, actually!
Inside the womb, it is as loud as a vacuum cleaner (around 80 to 90 decibels). The constant sounds in the womb are comforting to baby– once they’ve made their debut in the world, sleep training baby can be made much easier with a white noise machine capable of lulling them into a relaxing rest.
Just think of how well you sleep with the whirling sounds of a fan or an air conditioner humming in the background. That’s the same constant white sound that babies crave– yet we put them in a quiet room and expect them to sleep. When learning how to sleep train a baby properly, acknowledging environmental factors like white noise will help you both snooze more easily.
The good news is, you can correct this lack of white sound in a variety of ways – a loud “Shhh” into babies ear, an app on your smartphone or tablet, or the revolutionary Sleep & Soother Portable Sound Machine, with 18 soothing sounds. Getting some ZZZ’s has never been so sweet!
And don’t worry too much about babies’ hearing. Remember that their cries (which are practically right in their own ears) are a whopping 100 – 130 decibels! Far higher than anything else you might be able to provide in the way of soothing white sounds. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your baby sleep training process should involve unnecessarily high volume levels, either.
2. ) Get baby moving to help them fall asleep
A piece of sleep advice for new parents that may sound a little contradictory is lulling baby to sleep with rhythmic movements. While this might initially sound bizarre, many people instinctively rock or sway with a baby to help soothe them or get them to sleep. Some babies even like more movement than that – think bouncing on a yoga ball or taking baby on a car ride.
This is because in the womb, baby was suspended in amniotic fluid (similar to water), so anytime mom moved, baby moved too! That’s why when we try to put baby into a stationary crib or bassinet, they cry in protest.
So, when it comes to bedtime, especially for younger babies, it can be ok to give them the motion they crave. And if you can’t keep the vigorous motions up all night just so baby sleeps, try the Baby Brezza Smart Soothing Mat, which mimics the motions of the womb that baby yearns for when getting some ZZZ’s.
3.) Giving baby extra snuggles
This one seems obvious– and yet, many parents don’t think letting baby fall asleep while cuddling is a great idea. Babies love to snuggle because they feel secure in their parents’ arms, but also because they like to feel snug, so their arms and legs (which they can’t yet control well), aren’t flailing about. In the womb, especially during those final weeks, they were in tight quarters with very little room to move around. This may assist those sleep-deprived parents, too– snuggling with your little one can provide you both with an extra sense of comfort.
Once in the world, the vast amount of space can feel terrifying to a baby, and it’s why swaddling your baby can be so effective to help them sleep!
4.) Let baby suck themselves to sleep
Not sleeping sucks– ironically, sometimes baby won’t sleep simply because they want something to suck on! Since babies get their food from sucking, the simple act of sucking can bring them comfort. Getting some ZZZ’s in during feeding time is a regular occurrence in plenty of babies’ routines, so emulating that experience might be the perfect piece of sleep advice for new parents.
So, let baby suckle at the breast or bottle to get sleepy, but don’t let them sleep that way all night! Instead, transfer sleepy baby into their crib and then use a clean finger (for breastfeeding babies) or pacifier to suck a bit more while falling asleep there vs. in your arms.
5.) Heat things up
One reason babies love falling asleep in their parents’ arms is that it’s warm and cozy there. In fact, adults are like built-in baby warmers since our chest temperature actually fluctuates up or down just to keep baby comfortable! Sleep training your baby can often come down to making sure that the temperature is just right for downtime.
To give your baby that warm, snuggly feeling in their crib or bassinet without the risk of overheating (which can increase SIDS risks), put a baby to bed with warm socks or a swaddle blanket fresh from the dryer. Just be sure to test the temperature on your inner wrist to make sure they aren’t too hot for your little one!
While many babies don’t need complete darkness to sleep, keeping the room dark can improve sleep for many babies. Blackout curtains and dim lights (or no lights) are usually the best way to get baby sleepy. A dark room can also help baby fall back asleep by themselves should they wake up in the middle of the night.
It is important to know that night lights are usually for older children who are afraid of the dark, but the flickering lights in them can actually disrupt a baby’s sleep. Forgo these or any other lights in baby’s room to increase their chances of getting some ZZZ’s!
Sleep deprived parents and babies both deserve a good night’s rest, every night. Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help you get your little one to sleep so you can sleep! Getting baby to sleep in their own bassinet or crib can help everyone sleep better and wake up feeling ready to tackle the day!
Written by Melissa Gersin, Infant Crying Specialist, Maternity Nurse and Inventor of the Baby Brezza Soothing Mat.