Top 10 Ways to Get Baby to Sleep

Recommendations:  The CPA and AAP suggests that for the first year of life, baby should sleep on their back, with no pillow, on their own surface, in your room. Many parents do co-sleep or bedshare and make the sleep environment the most safest they can. (See the blog post on Co-sleeping Safety.) After one year, baby can sleep anywhere, with parents, siblings, on their tummy or back.

Tips to facilitate sleep: Recreate the womb!

  1. Shhhhhhhhhhh, white noise, music
  2. Dark
  3. Warmth
  4. Smell
  5. Routine – keep the same bedtime routine of gum cleaning, pajamas (sleeper) story, snack (breastfeeding or bottle) and singing or rocking before
  6. Sleep Associations – have several for flexibility. Rock, nurse, music, pacifier, swaddling, etc.
  7. Sucking – hands or pacifier
  8. Movement – car, stroller, on you, rocking and carriers
  9. Containment – swaddle but leave hands visible for baby to suck on
  10. Leave to sleep when drowsy – watch for signs: quieter, eyes glazed over and losing interest in things, rubbing eyes, becoming fussy or crying, yawning, slumping over, looking to suck with nursing or bottle.

Sleep Cycles

Babies and adults have about five sleep cycles a night. Sleep cycles consist of light sleep and deep sleep. Babies cycles are about 30-60 minutes per cycle and adults are about 90 minutes. After the first light sleep cycle (of 10-15 minutes) babies go into deep sleep.  Put baby to bed where they will wake up. Wait until they are in the deep sleep stage to put them down.


  • High need babies tend to want to be held quite a bit and sleep close to a parent. They do not schedule well in eating, toileting or sleep habits.
  • Take care of yourself so you can parent high-need babies with patience and empathy

Baby Still Doesn’t Sleep? How to Cope

  • Send partner out of the house with baby – then nap.
  • Trade sleep times with partner – one person sleeps in the furthest corner of the house while other partner tends to baby.
  • Try to catch a few winks while baby is sleeping.
  • Ask for help from friend or neighbor to take the baby so you can sleep.
  • If you can’t nap, get some fresh air, sunshine, water on your face, cold air, exercise and energizing company to get through the day without sleep. Your spirits will be better.

About Judy Arnall, BA, DTM, CCFE

BA, DTM, CCFE, Certified child development specialist and master of non-punitive parenting and education practices. Keynote speaker and best-selling author of "Discipline Without Distress", "Parenting With Patience", "Attachment Parenting Tips Raising Toddlers to Teens", and "Unschooling To University."
This entry was posted in Babies 0-1, Preschoolers 3-5, Toddlers 1-2 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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