When I had Levi, there was a time when all I searched on Pinterest was how to get a baby to sleep. I’m not the only one who uses Pinterest as a search engine, am I? 😂 Anyways, he was a great sleeper, I really don’t know what I was thinking. My second little guy did not start out such a great sleeper…now I can appreciate how easy Levi was. So, I decided to add to the hundreds of posts on baby bedtime tips 🙂 In case you wanted another one to read.
Before I start I just want to say, as a second-time mom, I have come to the conclusion there is no sure fire way to get your baby to sleep every time. Also, once you have one figured out, it changes with the next. One thing may work for one, that doesn’t work for the other & one may just coo themselves to sleep every time (yes those babies do exist!).
A typical running joke for parents is the lack of sleep we get. Though, I will admit, with our first we had it SO easy when he was a baby! I did feed him to sleep a lot which I paid for later, but I could still put him down drowsy & he would slightly whimper for a little but go right to sleep. Though that sweet little angel of mine went through some serious sleep regression as he got older – I will chat about this at a future date!
That being said, it has not been like that with my second, not even close. I have had to pull out ALL the stops with him. Sleep is so so important, for babies AND their parents, I know that doesn’t need an explanation. So, I’m here to give a few baby bedtime tips as a mom of two, that has helped me drift my little ones into slumberland.
Simple Baby Bedtime Tips
1. DIFFUSE SLEEPY ESSENTIAL OILS
There is nothing wrong with diffusing a tiny bit of oils in your little one’s room to set the tone for a calming night. No, it’s not drugging them! I suggest using an essential oil-friendly cool mist humidifier.
Essential Oil Humidifiers are not only perfect to softly fill the room with oils, but most babies will need the humidity to make sure they are breathing okay through the night. Our little guy is always a bit congested so this has been a must-have for us in his nursery. I suggest only doing 1 or 2 drops in the humidifier – you don’t want it super strong. I usually let it run for a few minutes before going in to start our bedtime routine to allow the oils to fill the room.
2. HOLD YOUR BABY + SING TO THEM
If you ask me, when your little one is new, no, you can’t spoil them + if you can, it’s okay! Do as much skin-to-skin as you can + hold them as close as you possibly can. The newborn time is so short, and this habit is not spoiling them, it’s comforting them.
Holding + rocking your little one isn’t their only comfort, hearing + feeling your voice is as well. I am a not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination, but your little won’t care! Whether you can sing or not, it will calm them down. I don’t suggest holding + singing to them until they are asleep though. I will touch on this later.
3. SWADDLE THEM
There is some debate whether swaddling is good or not – for my kids it was ESSENTIAL. My oldest stopped needing to be swaddled at around 6 months – he was very content sprawling in his crib as soon as possible. My second is an extra jerky baby, so I feel like he will be swaddled for naps + bedtime for quite a while. I would like to note I am not a tight swaddler either – I wish I was, but I’m not. So blanket swaddles don’t work for my boys because they punch their way out of it.
Before I started using The Ollie World swaddle, Finn + I had quite a time of it, we tried SO MANY SWADDLES, + they are expensive! You don’t want to have to keep buying different ones because it will pretty much cost you your first born. I made the mistake of doing so, but I’m putting this post out so you don’t have to break the bank on a bunch of different ones!
This swaddle is incredibly easy to wrap them up in and stays as tight as ever. The three Velcro pads hold the swaddle tight in 3 key areas so you’re babe will be as snug as a bug. I would also like to point out whatever the swaddle is made of is MAGIC. One night, Finn’s diaper had soaked through his onesie (it was a heavy feeding night), but I didn’t realize until the morning because the swaddle stays bone dry!
It’s made of a special moisture wicking material which is incredibly smart! It has happened a few times & has saved me from having to change the crib sheets in the middle of the night. Finn + Levi are both mini heaters, so they sweat at night. Having a swaddle with material to avoid overheating was huge for us! Another reason I love this swaddle is that I can keep Finn swaddled tightly, and still open the bottom for quick diaper changes without disturbing him too much!
Needing a gift idea for new parents? This swaddle will be an essential!
4. PUT THEM DOWN DROWSY
This is key. At the beginning, I didn’t do this with Finn and he created really bad habits that we have just broken now (5 months later). I know when you are exhausted and you finally get your babe to sleep after feeding or rocking him, it’s so tempting to put them down, but they will expect that every time they need to sleep! A few nights of tears and unhappiness of not being rocked to sleep is worth it in the end! You also aren’t giving them a chance to learn how to soothe themselves which is crucial when they wake through the night – which they will, a lot.
That being said, I will be the first to admit that when our little guy falls asleep in my arms I put him down and call it a win…sometimes I’m tired + I’m not perfect.
5. LET THEM CRY
I know, this baby bedtime tip isn’t a popular one. Yes, I let my little one cry it out sometimes. Yes, I love him dearly. Before I say anything more it’s important to note, you must be able to distinguish if your little one has the “I’m mad / tired cry” or the “I’m hungry / something is wrong cry”…not knowing the difference will cause much stress and heartache.
When my little one is overtired, he will start crying the moment one little hair on his head touches the mattress…if I let him cry it out for a little bit, he quickly falls asleep + actually sleeps better than any other time. Of course, this isn’t a sure-fire tip for all babies, but it is for my two little ones!
…a few things to consider
Distinguish between day + night
If you want your baby to know when it’s nighttime and daytime, I wouldn’t suggest putting up the blackout curtains during daytime naps. Your little one needs good naps during the day, but it’s more acceptable for them to periodically wake + play. You don’t want this happening at night! We started this right from the get-go (our second actually has these sheer white curtains in his nursery haha), & we haven’t had issues with our babies thinking it’s play time throughout the night.
Shop these adorable curtains here
Keep things similar each night, but not regimented.
Babies need schedules, definitely not as much as toddlers, but babies still need consistencies. I don’t necessarily think you need to bathe them, give them a massage, put on essential oils, read to them & sing to them every single night… but a couple of those each night doesn’t hurt. You don’t want to live and die by a schedule because life happens and sometimes schedules change. It will be hard on them + you, if they can’t cope because the routine is different.
What are some of your go-to habits at bedtime to help your little babies sleep?
Or anything you are currently struggling with?
My son wouldn’t sleep without being swaddled! We also used a white noise machine from the very beginning, which helped soothe him and remind him of the sounds from my belly.
You have some great tips. I love using essential oil diffusers to help encourage sleep.
Those adorable swaddle pics are giving me all the feels! I miss that baby stage. Someday I’ll hopefully be able to use these tips with another baby! Only one of my kiddos was a good sleeper as a baby, and I was the most diligent about doing some of these things with her!
Erica @ Coming up Roses says
He’s such a cutie! These are great tips for all the mamas out there!
These are great tips! I bet they’ll help so many mammas!