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18 Sleep Tips For Newborns (and you)

How To Help Your Baby Sleep So You Could Sleep

These sleep tips for newborns are some of the best tips I have personally used to help my son fall asleep easier and longer. If you are ready to try a few things to increase a nap, or get your baby to sleep longer stretches at night and even (gasp) sleep through the night.

You are in the correct place at the correct time, ready to help your baby get some sleep so you in turn can sleep!

Alright let’s get right to it.

This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure see here.

What To Do First
Get The Newborn Basics 101 Course and learn more about baby sleep, common issues we face as a new mom, and help with your newborn.

What To Expect From Your Newborn Regarding Sleep

Newborns don’t sleep through the night. The reason being is their tiny stomachs.

You feed them every 2-3 hours and they digest it so fast that by the time you lay your head down they are crying to eat again.

  • A newborn is considered to sleep through the night when they can go 5 hours straight of sleeping
  • Newborns 6 weeks and younger should be eating every 2-4 hours
  • A newborn will normally start sleeping 5+ hours by week 7 and up
  • A majority of newborns will continue to wake well into their first birthday (or later)

First, let’s look at this super helpful sleep-map to see how long and on average a baby (by age) should be sleeping.

This will help you out so much because as I said above newborns don’t sleep through the night.

0-3 Months4-6 Months7-9 Months9-12 Months
Wakes to eat every 2-4 hours Wakes to eat every 5-8 hours at nightDoes not need to wake to eat at night (but they will wake to eat 1-2x a night)Does not need to wake to eat at night (but they will wake to eat 1-2x a night)
Sleeps 16-18 hrs / daySleeps 12-14 hrs / daySleeps 10-15 hrs / daySleeps 12-14 hours / day
Shouldn’t go longer than 5 hours without feedsCan sleep at stretches 5-10 hours at nightCan still wake up to eat at night for comfort but not a necessity*Can sleep through the night – occasional wakes but not as often

*Unless a medical professional insists that you wake baby up or that they keep eating at each waking*

What Positions Are Safe For Baby To Sleep In?

You may be wondering if it is okay for baby to sleep on your chest? Or if baby sleeping on the side is ok. Here is what the pediatrics academy deems safe for newborns and infants.

“It is best for babies to sleep on their backs until they are able to roll from back to front and back again. Side sleeping should be avoided unless baby can roll and does so on their own”

– American Academy Of Pediatrics

It is however safe for baby to sleep on your chest for moments at a time like a nap.

It is always best to lay baby on a firm surface, on their back when it is time for bed.

The reason for having baby sleep on their back is to help reduce the chances of SIDS. (sudden infant death syndrome)


Related: How To Get More Sleep As An Exclusive Pumper (with a newborn)

The Best Baby Breathing Monitors (peace of mind and sleep)


What Can You Do To Help Baby Sleep Better?

You are your infants advocate right now, they cannot talk, they don’t know how to express themselves and say “hey mom, can you turn down the lights, I’m trying to sleep”.

Here are 3 essential items that you can have in your home to help soothe baby to sleep.

Black Out Curtains

With so many options on black out curtains, these are my personal favorite. They have an assortment of colors to choose from and they block out that sun like no other.

White Noise Machine

Baby’s actually like noise. The noise in the womb was the world, it didn’t stop when they would take a nap. Because of that a white noise machine sort of mimics the inside of the womb and helps baby remember that relaxing time so the can drift to sleep easier.

Swaddles

If your baby is 0-4 months then this is the time to perfect the swaddle and snuggle that baby up.

If your baby is around 4-6 months you may have already stopped the swaddling. That is fine. Most babies outgrow the swaddle by 4-6 months.

How Can I Get My Newborn To Sleep Longer At Night?

If your newborn falls into the category of longer stretches of sleep but is continuing to wake up every few hours then these things will help baby sleep a little longer at night.

  • Do a last feeding before YOU go to bed – gently nudge baby with your breast to get them to latch on, or tickle mouth with the bottle to get them to start sucking.
  • Don’t change diaper at night – unless they pooped, if they only have a little bit of pee just them keep wearing it. If you change it chances are they will wake up and stay awake for some time
  • Follow the rest of the sleeping tips down below!

Is It OK For Newborns To Sleep 5 Hours?

Does baby fall between the ages of 5-6 weeks or younger? If you nodded yes then you should feed them every 2-4 hours depending on their feeding habits.

At that age baby’s stomach is still really small and digesting breast milk and formula happens rather quickly.

If baby is 7 weeks or older – having them sleep a five hour stretch at a time is ok.

Just make sure if you are breastfeeding that your breast get some relief if baby starts to sleep longer than they normally do. Engorgement is no joke and hurts like a mother.

See our breast pumping tips for more info on engorgement.

When Should I Put My Newborn To Bed?

This depends on your home life schedule. For example when my son was born I had to leave the house by 4 AM to get to work by 5. My son was just 3 months old, and still woke up a numerous amounts of time throughout the night.

I would officially put him down to sleep by 7 PM. Because I would go to sleep at 8 PM.

Now, that I am a stay at home mom and work from home, we all go to bed around 9 PM or 10.

But the same can be applied to you and your life. Depending what your life looks like you may find that placing baby down an hour before you go to bed works, or maybe you both go lay down at the same time. (this is especially helpful if baby tends to wake multiple times a night)

You have to find what works best for you and your family.

The 18 Best Tips To Get Your Newborn Sleeping So You Could Sleep Too

1. Start Fresh Daily

Did baby not follow the routine you had in place today? Or maybe you haven’t started a routine. That is okay.

You want to start every day like its a new day to help your newborn understand and get sleep.

Don’t worry – we’ll talk about a super simple routine down below (tip # 6)

2. Try Swaddles During Naps & Bed Time

If you are only swaddling baby at night, chances are that they are not associating sleep with swaddling. You should try to swaddle baby at each nap and during bed time.

The more they can associate an activity with sleep, the more likely they are to sleep when that activity or item is near by.

3. Sleep Cues To Know

Just like getting to know baby’s hunger cues can help you determine when to feed baby. Sleep cues will help you know when baby wants to quiet down and go to sleep.

  • Clenching fists
  • Yawning
  • Less active
  • Jerky movements
  • Rubs eyes
  • Sleepy sounds
  • Nuzzles towards you

4. Avoid Making Eye Contact At Night Time Wakings

When you talk to your baby even when they are just little squishy newborns – you give them eye contact. They learn from an early age that when you look at them in the eyes, the attention goes to you and what you are saying or doing.

So it is with that same thought that you should avoid giving baby eye contanct. Or at least keep it very minimal at night time.

If baby wakes up for a night time feeding – try to keep eye contact to a minimum.

5. Regulate The Temperature In The Room

Try to keep the room at the setting that is meant for optimal sleep time: 69-73 degrees Fahrenheit.

Doing this will help baby sleep each night, instead of having them overheat or be to cold.

6. Making A Simple Routine To Follow

I know you’ve heard it at least once before. Making a bed time routine is essential to help your little one establish good sleeping habits.

If you can get yourself to do this routine daily, chances increase highly that your baby will be able to sleep no matter where you go because the routine remains the same.

Here is a first sample routine that you can make to fit your own schedule:

  • Two hours before bed time start calming the environment down
    • That means no TV, tablet, or bright lights
    • Less toys, less stimulation
  • Consider the first step of the routine to take baby a bath
  • Have a designated space for baby to sleep in each and every time they go down
  • Turn on a white noise machine
  • Read a book (yes even when they are newborns)
  • Do a last feeding before putting baby down
  • Get baby in a swaddle
  • Lay baby down while they are drowsy and half sleeping

By doing these simple steps every day by the time you turn on the white noise machine – baby will have been conditioned to start feeling sleepy.

Give it a few weeks for the routine to settle. If you happen to be out and you can’t take baby a bath consider not giving baby a bath as part of the overall routine.


Related: The Easy Sleep Method (for non routine parents)


7. Pat Them During Startled Wakings

Here is something you can do if you find baby waking up in the middle of a nap and they can’t seem to soothe themselves back to sleep.

If you lay baby down and they get startled and start to stir. Slowly pat them on their side or lay your hand flat on their belly.

When you pat them do it with a cupped hand.

8. If Breastfeeding Cut The Caffeine

You know how coffee helps you stay awake during that afternoon slump? Well the same effects happen to baby when you drink coffee and are breastfeeding.

Similar to alcohol, coffee is passed down into your breast milk about 2 hours after you drink it.

Medela Breast Pumps Association

This means that baby can have that wide awake feeling a few hours after you have finished your cup of joe. So make sure if you do drink coffee that it isn’t towards the end of the day or a few hours before nap time.

9. Use A Baby Carrier During Naps

Your baby wants to feel close to you, they want that connection and that warmth. Having your baby in a baby carrier is a great way to get them to nap while you are on the go or doing household chores.

10. Try Adding Motion For Baby

Car Rides, Swings and bouncers are all a great way to give baby that drowsy feeling. The slight wooshing, the movement all helps relax and make baby sleepy.

By doing some of these things you can more easily put baby down for a nap after a few minutes in a swing and bouncer.

11. Try Giving Baby A Bottle

If you are still breastfeeding you can give baby expressed breast milk and have your partner do one of the night time feedings. This way both of you can trade off and get longer stretches of sleep.

12. Try The Four Hour Rule

How it works:

  • You pump right before going to sleep
  • You go to bed for four straight hours
  • If baby wakes up during that time frame – your partner wakes up to give them the expressed milk.
  • Then if baby wakes up a second time after the four hours you get up to feed baby or breast pump again.
  • That way your partner now gets a solid four hour

This helps both parents get longer stretches of sleep. Instead of both waking up or having one person wake up all the time with baby.

13. Understand Baby Will Wake Up At Night

Depending on your baby’s age you can expect baby to wake up through the night. It’s going to happen, they are going to keep waking up until they get a little older and have a more set routine.

If you can set your mentality up to understand that your newborn is waking up because it is a survival instinct it makes it easier for you to wake up at night.

14. Try Giving Baby A Face Massage

You can try to give baby a sleep face massage – one of my favorite videos of infant massage is this one:

15. Make The Nursery Distraction Free

Try to keep the nursery or the room which baby sleeps in distraction free. Try to do all the playing in the living room or if you can’t in half of the room.

That way the other half of the room can be used to help baby associate sleep with their nursery or sleeping area.

16. Avoid Over Stimulation

Stop over stimulation an hour or two before baby goes to bed.

A simple walk outside can over stimulate baby with all the new sounds, smells, and faces they may see.

Things that will help you with over stimulation.

  • Dim the lights
  • Stop watching TV
  • Stop using your phone
  • Give them all your attention for one hour before bed time
    • That means no phone calls, scrolling through Instagram (you can do that once they are asleep)
  • Avoid toys and rattles
  • Remove the clutter in baby’s sleeping area
    • no toys in the crib

17. Don’t Pick Them Up The Moment They Cry Awake

Give them a few seconds to see if they could soothe themselves to sleep instead of using you to fall back asleep.

If they can’t self soothe (just yet) that’s when you can step in and help them back into sleepy mode.

Take advantage of our Free Sleeping Resource & Grab the 5 tools I use to put baby to sleep and start sleeping longer (zzzzzz….)

18. Don’t Change Baby’s Diaper Every Time They Wake Up (unless its #2)

Lastly, our final tip: I had to learn this the hard way. I was constantly changing the baby’s diaper every time he woke up in the middle of the night. I stopped doing that around 6 months and noticed, he would fall asleep faster each time and then eventually stopped waking up at night.

If baby doesn’t have a giant soaked through diaper, leave it until morning. Unless baby goes number two then you’d want to change the diaper.

You can also tell if your baby has peed in the diaper by checking the diaper line. If it is yellow that means dry and if it is blue that means pee.

huggies blue pee line for newborn diapers. changes from yellow when it is dry to blue when it has pee. image of baby wearing diaper that has a slight blue line down the middle to indicate that it has been peed in

In Conclusion

With all these small, simple, actionable tips I know you are going to try and implement in your daily routine and life to get yourself some much needed rest while your baby learns to sleep and rest as well.

If you tried any of the above tips, I’d love to know what worked for you. Or do you have a tip we didn’t think of? Let other moms know in the comments below.

Do me a favor, Pin the image below to your favorite Pinterest board so other moms can get more sleep too.

18 things to do when your newborn wont sleep
how to help baby sleep through the night and take longer naps

18 Sleep Tips For Newborns: Getting Yourself Sleep

You May Also Like:

The Non-Method Sleep Routine For Newborns & Toddlers

How To Shower With Your Newborn

Exclusively Pumping: How To Get More Sleep

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