10 Good Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

sleeping baby

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Getting a child to sleep through the night can feel like putting toothpaste back into the tube.

It’s not technically impossible though it can feel like a futile effort.

The good news is that most children eventually sleep through the night with a little help and a lot of patience.

Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

You are exhausted. Your child is waking several times during the night or possibly not sleeping at all. You are at your wit’s end, and you feel like you’ve tried everything.

Take some solace in knowing that you are not alone. Try the following methods to help your baby sleep through the night so you can get rest as well.

Requisite Personal Anecdote

I have two kids of my own. They are great kids who couldn’t be more opposite.

My oldest had difficulty sleeping through the night while sharing a room with his father and me, so I moved him into his nursery at three weeks old. He slept through the night, every night, from then on.

I was not prepared for his sister.

When my daughter was born, I expected something similar, but Mother Nature and Karma got together to play the ultimate practical joke.

Whereas my son slept through the night before he was even one month old, my daughter didn’t sleep at all.

I tried everything.

Doctors found no evidence of disorders. She wasn’t ill or injured in any way. She just didn’t want to sleep.

Eventually, after more than a year of trying everything under the sun, I found the trick that allowed her to start sleeping through the night.

Once we discovered the secret, she became even a better and deeper sleeper than her brother.

What worked for her may not work for your child. All children are different.

If the first tip on this list doesn’t help your child sleep through the night, move on to number two. What’s most important is that you don’t give up.

1. Embrace the Power of Motion

Rocking a baby to sleep is so natural it is almost cliche. Popular wisdom is that the gentle motion of rocking reminds a baby of the motion inside the womb.

More accurately, rocking helps to regulate natural sleep rhythms.

Not only does rocking help babies fall asleep, but it also helps them to attain longer, healthier sleep patterns.

What happens if your baby doesn’t respond to gentle rocking? Despite what a popular lullaby suggests, don’t strap your baby to a tree and hope for a windstorm.

Some parents find that taking their baby for a ride in a car helps them sleep better. Many parents choose baby swings.

The solution I found was a long walk.

The longer I walked, the better she slept. When we came home from our walk, I was able to place her in her quiet room where she slept soundly through the night.

If it was too dark or too rainy, I still placed her in the stroller and walked back and forth inside.

That was tedious, but it was also a godsend and a healthy choice for both of us.

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2. Establish a Bedtime Routine

Babies thrive on routine. Establishing a bedtime routine from an early age gives your child the habits they need to go to sleep.

Start by developing a consistent schedule. Your baby’s nap and sleeping times should be the same every night.

While your child is young, you will need to keep this schedule in place even when travel and work events may cause conflicts.

Your next step should be winding down from the day. For infants, this isn’t that difficult. Swaddling, rocking, singing lullabies, and/or telling calming stories will put your baby in the mindset they need to know it is time to relax rather than play.

It is a good idea to use the same lullaby every night so your baby knows this is the song that helps them sleep.

After some trial and error, I found that In My Life was a much better choice than Enter Sandman.

In My Life
Enter Sandman

3. Swaddle

Swaddling is the act of placing your baby in a blanket that keeps them wrapped in a warm embrace all night long.

It’s a great idea if you can get the swaddle just right. Wiggly babies don’t always want to help when it comes to turning them into human burritos.

I used swaddles for my kids. The velcro enclosures keep the blanket in place, which ensures it won’t come loose and serve as a suffocation hazard.

Many experts argue that babies should not be swaddled at night once they are able to turn over.

4. Create the Environment Your Baby Needs

Do not assume anything when it comes to the right environment for your baby. You will find that some need white noise machines in order to sleep.

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Others will fuss if there is so much as a pin dropping.

Some like a little bit of light, some like a lot of light and some like no light. You get to be a detective and figure all of this out on your own.

My son needed and still needs absolute quiet and absolute dark. We walked around like mimes for the first two years of his life.

We also bought blackout curtains to ensure no light found its way into his bedroom. My daughter, once we found how to get her to sleep, could sleep through anything except heat.

While her brother has always preferred a warmer room, she likes the air to be a little chilly. All of this was learned through trial and error.

5. Stimulate Your Baby During the Day

A busy baby is a tired baby.

  • Take your child for walks.
  • Go to the park.
  • Have playdates.
  • Play games.
  • Dance to silly music.
  • Have outside time.
  • Read board books with vibrant colors.

You get the idea.

When you stimulate the baby during the day, you give them healthy habits while also making them eager to wind down.

6. Don’t Stimulate Too Much

There is such a thing as overstimulation. You will know it when you see it. A baby that is overstimulated becomes fussy and refuses to sleep.

Recognize when your baby has had enough stimulation or your desire to tire them out might be counterproductive.

You should also avoid stimulating your child too close to bedtime.

7. Behold the Binky

Maybe in your home, you call it the pacifier, the paci, the soothie, or the wubby.

In my house, it’s the binky.

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While pacifiers can cause problems with dental alignment if overused, they are seen to be positive soothing tools for babies through age two.

I never wanted my children to be dependent on their binky, so I only offered it at night and during naptimes.

It soon became associated with sleeping, which put a positive spin on taking naps and lying down.

Only offering the binky at bedtime also made it very easy to remove when the time came.

8. Aromatherapy

Some people scoff at aromatherapy. I am not those people. In fact, I strongly believe in the power of scent.

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Consider how you feel when you smell cinnamon buns or freshly baked bread.

Contrast that to the smell of whatever is coming out of my teenage son’s room. Odors can conjure feelings and emotions.

They can also energize your or make you sleepy.

Lavender is a scent that is known to invoke feelings of calm. It is often used in baby bath and lotions.

Try a lavender lotion on your baby just before bed to provide a nice, serene scent. Even if it doesn’t make a difference in your baby’s sleep habits, it is lovely aroma.

9. Get the Feeding Schedule Right

Everyone has an opinion on when and what to feed the baby. Some say a baby shouldn’t be fed too close to bedtime.

Others say to go ahead and put a bottle of formula in the crib with them so they can eat when they want.

While that is a bad idea, it won’t stop well-meaning people from suggesting it.

Arguably, the best time to feed your baby is about 30 minutes before bedtime.

This gives them adequate time to digest the milk or formula before going to sleep. Push that back by at least an hour if your baby is on solid food.

10. See a Doctor

If you are trying everything and your baby still isn’t sleeping, visit your pediatrician.

It is possible that your baby has a health issue that is keeping them from sleeping through the night.

While it is unlikely there is something physically wrong, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Your doctor may also give you a list of tricks to try to help your baby sleep. A pediatrician has a lot of experience, which makes them the best sources to turn to for issues like this.

Final Thoughts

Your baby needs sleep and so do you. Try these tricks and let us know how they work! We would love to hear your stories in the comments.

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