Baby sleep is serious business. There are countless books, websites and experts devoted to topic. More sleep, better sleep, independent sleep… babies and parents need sleep.
Our little man has been a great sleeper from the start… except he had a strong preference for where he slept… always on top of me. I didn’t mind nursing and cosleeping with my him, but being tethered in the bed for 12+ hours at night was not my idea of fun. We tried a lot of things to get him to sleep somewhere else… swaddling, white noise, putting him down drowsy versus asleep, putting him down while heavily asleep. Nothing seemed to work. So we go creative, and brainstormed what else we could do, and eventually we got it to work! He’ll fall asleep on me, I’ll transfer him to his bed, and he won’t wake up for about 6 hours when he gets hungry again.
Here are 5 tips to help your baby sleep that you might not have heard before.
1. Temperature – All parents want to make sure their baby is warm enough, but piling on blankets can actually hinder good sleep. Think about how uncomfortable it is to sleep when it’s too hot. Baby is exactly the same way. A good rule of thumb is what you’re wearing plus one layer. I’ll usually dress my little man closely to how I’m dressed and then put him in a sleep sack that accounts for the temperature (fleece, muslin, etc). Also, take into consideration the temperature of the room. Room temperature should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult… think low to mid 70s. A fan is also recommended for air circulation.
2. Comfortable Bed – Having a comfortable place to sleep is important. Cribs and bassinets leave a lot of open space – something babies aren’t necessarily used to after being snuggled tight in the womb for 9 months.
Our L’il Bub hated his bassinet; he would essentially only sleep snuggled up in my arms on top of me. Who could blame him? His bed was hard as a rock and nothing compared to my warm arms. I finally was able to get him to sleep someplace other than my chest when we bought him his DockATot. It has a little more padding than a bassinet or crib, plus the sides are snug, helping baby to feel more secure. You can check out my review of the DockATot (my holy grail baby product!) or click here for a 10% off discount code (Affiliate Link).
3. Familiar Smells – Babies vision isn’t great when they are first born. It continues to develop throughout the first year. So they really strongly on their sense of smell to learn about their world. Guess what the best smell is? You! After all, they’ve been inside you for the last 9 months, so you are absolutely scrumptious! Dads and partners smell are also a great scent after baby has gotten used to it. Try sleeping on baby’s sheets to put your scent on it, or lightly dab some of your perfume (don’t overpower baby) wear baby can smell.
4. Sleeping Arrangements – Consider changing up your sleeping arrangement. Crib in another room? Bring it into your room, or sidecar it next to your bed. Bassinet near bed? Try a cosleeper in your bed (The DockATot works great for this!). Cosleeping baby easily disturbed by your movement? Try moving baby out of your bed to see if that works. Try to remain flexible on what helps baby to sleep. After all, getting baby to sleep is just as much about your sleep as it is baby’s.
5. Essential Oils – We’ve been incorporating essential oils into our sleep routine for a while and have really noticed a difference. We rub lavender diluted in coconut oil on our little man’s feet before putting on his socks. Dilute 1 drop essential oil in 1 tablespoon or MORE fractionated coconut oil. If you have an almost empty bottle of lavender, fill with coconut oil for the perfect dilution. Rub a drop or two on the bottom of baby’s feet and cover with socks. Remember babies have sensitive skin so dilution is important. We also diffuse DoTerra’s Serenity as it promotes relaxation and a restful sleeping environment. The light from our diffuser also acts as the perfect nightlight. You can purchase the oils through my DoTerra Shop here.
Anything you would add to this list?
Catherine Anderson says
Certainly agreed with you on Dock-A-Tot. It’s an amazing product.
I bought it to make sleeping easier on a trip last March. It has become one of my most coveted baby products. I highly recommend it to all mamas. It’s insanely useful.
It’s been hands down our favorite baby products too!
I have been trying to get my son to sleep in his crib instead of my bed and so I really appreciate all of this advice, especially the ones about making his bed comfortable and bringing it into my room. I guess I never realized that he could just not like how hard his bedding was and so I am definitely going to try adding a DockATot or something like that to his crib.
I’m glad you found it helpful. We used our dockatot as a cosleeper for a while, and now we have the dockatot grand in a crib that is sidecar-ed to the side of our bed, He loves it!
Good luck! ❤
Awesome tips you shared about baby sleep.
Hi there! Great post! I have a question though – right now my 8 week old is on a feed, sleep, feed, wake schedule! (Lots of feeding!) how do I get her onto a feed, wake, sleep schedule? All I know is to nurse to sleep! Thanks for your help!
Sophie recently posted How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib
Most babies find sucking to be really soothing and relaxing. It’s normal for an 8 week old to feed and then go to sleep afterwards. Warmth from a caregiver, a full belly and all the exertion of emptying a breast/bottle is enough to tire any 8 week old out. If you and baby are comfortable with the routie, then I wouldn’t worry about changing it.
My son continued to nurse to sleep until he was around 17 months old (although naps eventually he changed to cuddling to sleep). There’s nothing wrong with feeding to sleep if it’s working for you.
At around 3-4 months, sleep begins to come in a more consistent pattern making nap times more predictable. I would start by changing her routine for naptime and leave bedtime the way that is already working. I also highly recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution series by Elizabeth Pantley. Lots of great ideas on gentle bedtimes. There’s even one just about newborn/infant sleep.
This is a life saver for me. Thanks for sharing your tips. I will make use of them for my baby girl.