Maybe you’re a member of the 3am Club because you have a hard time getting yourself back to sleep after giving baby his late-night feed. Or maybe you’re a member because baby himself has a hard time settling down again during the wee hours of the night. After all, if baby isn’t sleeping, no one is sleeping.
And we probably don’t have to tell you this, but babies need a lot of sleep. Newborns require approximately 16 hours of sleep a day—they sleep a ton, but for short periods. By the time baby is 6 months old, that number only reduces to 14 hours a day. Thankfully, though, as your kiddo gets older, they sleep for longer stretches of time.
You’d think that with all the sleep your little one needs, it would be a piece of cake to get him to nod off. Snap your fingers and he’s asleep, right? We wish that were the case, too. But back here in reality there are some things you can try to help put your baby to sleep more easily and keep him in dreamland longer.
1. Start a soothing bedtime routine—and stick to it
Creating a soothing bedtime routine for baby can be simple. A gentle bath, peaceful story, soft lullaby, and quiet feeding before laying him down in his bassinet or crib should work wonders for most babies. The trick is to be consistent. By doing the same soothing things in the same order at the same time every night, most babies learn to accept sleep as the natural conclusion to their bedtime routine.
2. Create a comfy environment where baby sleeps
Whether baby sleeps in a bassinet in your bedroom or in the nursery, ensuring that it is a comfortable environment can help prevent your little one from waking up because he’s too hot, cold, damp, or dry. To achieve this, you may need to invest in a high-quality humidifier. Modern options make it easy to determine the perfect humidity level as well, with custom settings that take all the guesswork out.
3. Embrace the wonders of white noise
You may have heard the stories about babies falling asleep easier in the car or when the dryer is turned on. It’s the white noise those machines produce that’s helping do the trick. The reason that white noise helps most babies to fall asleep and stay asleep is because it mimics the sound they heard while they were in the womb—the most comforting and reassuring place they know. There are lots of white noise machines available, or you can download an inexpensive white noise app for your smartphone or place a fan in baby’s room.
4. Set baby up close to you
It is recommended that your baby sleeps in your bedroom for at least the first 6 months of his life. With your little one in a bassinet or crib next to your bed, you’ll both sleep more soundly because you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing you’re sleeping right next to each other safely. And when baby does wake up for the 3am feed, you’ll enjoy the convenience of having him within arm’s reach.
While no two babies are the same and every family’s experience will be different, there are some tried and true strategies you can use to help set your little one up (and by extension your whole family) for a better night’s sleep. We hope the above works for you as well as it has worked for other babies and their families. You’re doing a great job. A great night’s sleep is just around the corner.