When Jade was about three weeks old, she had a few fussy nights where I tried everything to get her to sleep. I bounced and rocked and nursed and walked and changed and repeated. Nothing seemed to calm her. Finally I decided it was more important that I was calm while I was holding her, so I turned on some praise music. By the end of the first song, Jade was closing her eyes; by the end of the third song, she was fast asleep and we went to bed.
That night taught me that sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to help a baby get to sleep. Since then, I've often used music to soothe her to sleep—or simply played it in the living room while she slept to give her a consistent noise level that would keep her asleep.
Here are my tips for getting a baby to sleep and keeping her asleep.
- Bounce on a yoga ball while holding baby.
- Nurse or bottle-feed baby to sleep.
- Put baby in the stroller and go for a walk.
- Use a white noise app or white noise toy.
- Take baby for a drive in the car.
- Lay down with baby and snuggle together.
- Use baby's favourite blankie for naptime and bedtime.
- Establish a soothing naptime and bedtime routine.
- Play your favourite music for baby.
- Put baby in a sling or carrier and go for a walk.
- Rock baby to sleep.
- If you cloth diaper, consider using disposable diapers at night to avoid midnight diaper changes.
- Give baby a bath with soothing bubbles before bed.
- Toss baby's blanket in the dryer for five minutes, then put baby in her crib and wrap her in the warm blanket.
- Use a soother for bedtime and naptime.
- Read baby stories for bedtime (or tell baby a story).
- Try to learn your baby's sleep habits.
- Put the baby in the sling (or crib) and do the vacuuming.
- Hum or sing a lullaby while baby falls asleep.
- Run your finger from baby's forehead down his nose and keep doing it until his eyes begin to drift closed and he falls asleep.
- Turn off or dim the lights while baby is falling asleep.
- Involve dad in bedtime routines.
- Pat or rub baby's back.
- Try skin-to-skin contact, especially for really new babies.
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