How to get a baby to sleep

Are you spending hours trying to get your baby to sleep only to end up wondering what you should have done differently? Here are 7 fave tips from parents on how to get a baby to sleep and sleep well.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – How to get a baby to sleep: it's difficult but these top tips from parents can help you.
Clean diaper, full tummy and plenty of closeness and cuddles can make it easier for your baby to fall asleep.
Photo: Johnér

Babies’ sleeping pattern differs greatly from that of adults. Our little ones sleep in intervals and wake up to eat between naps. That’s normal. For a baby. But not for you! We asked parents to give us their top tips how to get a baby to sleep and we’ve put together a list.

Facts and helpful advice: A midwife explains newborn sleep

Plenty of closeness and cuddles all day long.

How to get a baby to sleep

  1. Always stick to the same cozy bedtime routine, like a bath, pajamas, bottle, and bedtime song or story, followed by a kiss and a “Goodnight”!
  2. Clean diaper, full tummy. Check off the following before your baby’s bedtime: clean diaper, full tummy, low lighting, cool but not too cold in the room, and plenty of closeness and cuddles all day long.
  3. Some babies like a pacifier. If your baby uses a pacifier, keep several spare ones close to their cradle or crib so you don’t need to look in/under it when they wake up at night and cry because their pacifier is gone. Once your child is a bit older and can put a pacifier in their own mouth, put several spares in their bed so they can easily find one in the night themselves.
  4. Some babies like to fall asleep to special sounds. This could be anything from soothing music to whale songs or the sound of the dishwasher (perhaps because they’ve got used to being surrounded by noises in the womb?). A favorite lullaby can become part of their baby sleep routine. Tips for lullabies
  5. Gentle rocking will often help a very young baby to fall asleep. So, a cradle is a good place to get a baby to sleep. If you have a rocking chair or a Pilates ball, you can sit in or on it and rock to help your baby settle down and feel drowsy. Carrying your baby in a baby carrier or gently rocking them for a while in a baby bouncer are other good ways to calm most babies.
  6. Make sure they’re not overtired. When you put baby to sleep, make sure they’re not overtired or too wide awake. Wind down with soothing activities and low lighting for the last hour or two before bedtime so your baby is sleepy enough when it’s time to sleep.
  7. Help them fall asleep on their own. If you’ve rocked your baby in your arms until they’re drowsy, put them in their crib or cradle before they’ve fallen asleep (if your baby is happy about this, of course). This can help your baby to fall asleep on their own.

Read and suffer with other desperate parents: Michelle’s story on 4 years of broken sleep