11 Terrific Tricks You Need to Get Baby to Sleep

by Ivy B
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There isn’t much better than a sleeping baby!  Whether you’re a new or experienced mom, you’re eventually going to need to get baby to sleep.  These are awesome baby sleep tips from a mother of TWO 12-hr a night sleepers.

My son sleeps roughly 12 hours at night.  That is, he sleeps straight through the night people.  And, he’s been doing this since he was 5 months old.  To add to your jealousy, S was a 12-hour sleeper as a baby.  I can hear you asking how I got so lucky.  “How the h***?”

It’s not luck or coincidence.  At least, that’s not how I see it.

It’s serious work and determination to get baby to sleep through the night, especially a high-needs baby.  I had to make some tough decisions and do things that most people judged us for.  Now, my purpose here isn’t to brag.  Nor do I want to make you pea green with envy (please tell me I’m not the only one thinking about Gone with the Wind right now).  I want to share my secrets with you to help you get your baby to sleep better, too.

Tips from a mom of two 12-hour a night sleepers | How to get baby to sleep | get baby to sleep through the night | baby sleep tips and tricks | www.sahmplus.com

You should begin healthy sleep habits for your baby as early as possible.  Did you know newborn babies require up to 16 hours of sleep per day?  Generally, this occurs between nighttime sleep and two or three daytime naps.  When my daughter was very young (and finally learning to sleep through the night around 8 or 9 months) her Pediatrician was surprised to find that she was sleeping 12 hours at night and taking consistent naps during the day totaling about 14 hours of sleep, which was appropriate for her age.  The Pediatrician had remarked at how under-slept babies are today.

My daughter, who is nearly 6 years old, is still a really good sleeper.  I estimate she gets about 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night.  I learned these techniques with my daughter and employed them with my son very shortly after we brought him home.

Do you want to know how I got two babies to sleep 12 hrs a night? #babysleep #parenting #babies Click To Tweet

How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Early bedtime.

Contrary to what most people seem to believe, keeping our daughter awake later did NOT help to get these babies to sleep.  When she was about 8 months old, I realized that she was extra fussy and would often pass out in her swing around 6:30.  I began using the 30-45 minutes before that time to work on a bedtime routine and put her to bed by 6:30.  When I did this, almost immediately, she began to sleep in larger chunks.

By doing this, I was teaching her to follow her body’s sleepy cues.  Plus, I was almost completely eradicating “the witching hour” by not allowing her to become overtired.  If you’re not sure about this, just think about the times you were so overtired that your body didn’t know how to wind down and made it more difficult to fall asleep.  It’s like that for babies, only worse because they don’t quite have their healthy sleep habits down yet.

Bedtime routine.

While many people suggest a bath before bed, you really should take special care to watch your baby’s reaction to bath time.  I began to realize that a bath energized, rather than soothed, my daughter and became counter-productive in the search for a good night’s sleep.  Conduct bedtime routines that include reading, singing, and snuggling in a dimly lit and semi-quiet room.

I don’t bathe either of my babies before bed.  And, with my son, I use only a single small lamp to change his diaper, get him dressed in PJs, and read a short book.  Then, I nurse, sing, and rock him without the use of artificial light.

Use the low light concept during middle of the night wakings, too.  I used the flashlight on my phone to change diapers then turned it off immediately and nursed quietly in the dark.

Set thermostat temperature conducive to sleep.


A cool room allows your body temperature to drop which will naturally signal that it’s time to sleep.  It is recommended to have the temperature set to about 70 degrees.  We find that to be too cold for our liking.  I recommend setting the thermostat as low as you can handle somewhat comfortably, which will not only help you but your baby get to sleep easier.

Dress your baby in a lightweight one piece or onsie and swaddle.  If you’re not good at swaddling, cheat!  I recommend the Summer Infant SwaddleMe, which has made swaddling idiot-proof.

Baby sleep schedule.

Finding baby sleep schedules online isn’t difficult, but I recommend following these as guidelines to finding an appropriate sleep schedule for your baby.  Check out these baby sleep schedules and guidelines from Parents.com.  The American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Childhood Sleep Guidelines as recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which says infants should sleep between 12 – 16 hours in a 24 hour period.

If you find your baby is falling asleep at certain times of day, allow him to sleep.  You’ll find that, by following your baby’s sleepy cues, you’ll have a schedule dictated for you and it will be what YOUR baby needs.

It’s a good idea to let your baby sleep as long as he or she needs.  If you can, resist the urge to wake your baby to fit a schedule you wish to set.  When a baby is allowed to wake up on his own, he learns to trust his body and will sleep as much (or as little) as he needs.

Daytime sleep.

Why do babies need naps?  Well, for one, letting your baby fall into a natural nap routine will teach him/her to trust when their body is tired.

When a baby is tired, let them sleep.  They need much more shut-eye than children and adults.  If you’re keeping them awake in hopes of getting them to sleep “better” at night, you’re being counter-productive.  Go back to read the Early Bedtime section where I talk about being overtired.

Having a solid and predictable nap schedule will actually help your baby learn to sleep better at night.

Make Night Wakings Boring

One of the most important things you can do is to remember to keep things very dark for night time wakings.  As much as possible, to get your baby to sleep through the night, it’s important to train their brains and bodies to understand that night is dark.

Turn on only as much light as you need for feedings and diaper changes.  For me, this meant turning on my phone’s built-in flashlight to change diapers and then I’d turn it off and feed in a completely dark room.

Make as little noise as possible, too!  I’ve found with both my babies that more singing or talking (and more lights) indicated that this was an appropriate time to wake up.

By keeping things dark and quiet, both babies were much easier to settle back into bed and began sleeping through those times they were only waking up for play.

Extra Tips to Get Baby to Sleep

Let’s call these bonus tips.  Why?  Because they’re probably less commonly discussed in the world of tips and tricks to get baby to sleep.  Heck, at least one is something you may not be ready to consider.  That’s okay.  When you’re desperate, you’ll consider anything.  Ask me how I know?

  1. Diaper one size up.  I use Pampers Baby Dry diapers at night and use the next size larger for even more absorbency.

2. Sleep Training.  Consider some form of sleep training.  No matter what I tried, both my babies needed me to use cry it out and extinction.  The more I tried to help, the more worked up they got.  So, I stopped trying (within reason).  They learned to put themselves to sleep, which made settling back in after night wakings easier too.

3.Black out curtains.  When baby is wanting to party every morning at 4 a.m., black out curtains are going to be your best friends.   I found them helpful in getting baby to sleep better at nap time too.

4. White Noise.  Help drown out background noises.  This helped both my babies and allowed us to continue on with life as usual.  Bring on the house noises!  You can use a white noise app if you have a spare device or buy a white noise machine.

5. Tummy sleeping.  Okay, I’m not a doctor or scientist, so this is strictly coming from personal experience.  I bucked the system and decided to let my babies sleep on their tummies (NOT if they were in a swaddle).  They slept better that way.  I watched to make sure they had good head and neck control before deciding on this option.  This was a personal family decision that helped get baby to sleep (both times).  It worked for us, but I can’t tell you with any degree of certainty that’s it’s safe or effective for your family.

Knowing How To Get Baby To Sleep Through The Night also means you need to know what is likely waking your baby in the middle of the night.  I share that in this post.

If you’d like a few more baby sleep tips …

Check out this short video from HealthyChildren.org.  It’s gives some great advice on how to get baby to sleep, especially what to do when your baby wakes in the middle of the night.


Sleep from Healthy Children on Vimeo.

In this episode, Little Laura shows parents how to create a safe sleep environment and goes through the top ways to get a baby to go to sleep.


Need to Get Baby to Sleep During a Sleep Regression?

Maybe you already had your baby sleeping well and now you’re needing advice on how to get baby to sleep during a sleep regression?  Check out these fabulous tips from Kimberly C. Starr in her post 7 Ways to Survive Baby, toddler, & 11 month Sleep Regression.

Or check out the Baby Sleep Miracle!

Do you have any other advice to help get baby to sleep?  Or, do you need more help?

Get baby to sleep (maybe even through the night). Baby sleep tips for tired moms | www.sahmplus.com

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Heather Johnson September 2, 2016 - 2:58 pm

I slept with both my babies. I still do! Neither would sleep without me!

Ivy B September 2, 2016 - 3:02 pm

I started that way with both. Once I trained them to sleep alone, I couldn’t get them to nap or sleep with me again LOL.

Sarah Jane September 2, 2016 - 3:45 pm

My daughter slept with us, but my son wanted his SPACE. Another tip I have, keep the lights to a minimum if you need to get up to nurse a baby.

Ashleigh September 2, 2016 - 5:33 pm

I have my 7 week old sleeping next to me currently in my bed.
I did with all 3 until they went into their own cots in their own rooms.

My Petit Canard September 4, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Lots of great sleeping tips here. I really battled with sleep with my first. My second seems to be much better, although at 10 weeks it is still very early days. Still a few of these look worth trying like the large nappy for example. Emily #BrilliantBlogPosts

Ivy B September 4, 2016 - 7:10 pm

I actually wondered if my second was easier, or if I was just more knowledgeable. If you try any of my tips, let me know how they work for you.

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Jenn @ Mad Mommy September 7, 2016 - 2:59 pm

Great tips, so many people have problems getting the babies to sleep. #brillblogposts

Ivy B September 7, 2016 - 9:07 pm

It’s certainly not easy. Lots of work and a good amount of frustration!

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Dara September 18, 2017 - 11:10 am

I am a firm believer in a routine! My son is 11 now and still feels/acts better when his routine is solid!

Also, your baby is precious 🙂

Kelly September 18, 2017 - 2:51 pm

As a mom of three, we had used all these tips and my kids still are fantastic sleepers. Not only that they know the routine now and don’t fight or fuse to go to bed. It’s magical.
Kelly recently posted…Target Shopping- Marketing Gold Or Insanity?My Profile

Gail September 18, 2017 - 5:47 pm

I am curious if you breast or bottle fed, and how you factor into that routine? Also, how do you account for or deal with night terrors/night wakings in older kids? Lol, this stuff worked for my youngest, but my oldest is a sleeping nightmare!

Ivy B September 18, 2017 - 7:02 pm

Both were breastfed, though I had to bottle feed the first after about 6 or 7 months when we realized she was intolerant to dairy & soy. Back then I didn’t know about cutting those things out of my diet. But, these tips worked for both kids.

As for night terrors/nightmares, I’ve always gone in and tried to be as calm and relaxing as possible, still keeping the lights off or as dim as possible. To be honest, though, my son hasn’t gotten to that point and my daughter rarely had those moments.

For older kids, I just try to reinforce that we’re there, but that nighttime is for sleep, always keeping rooms dark. We’ve given my daughter a kid’s flashlight in case she’s needed to see anything and that seems to help a bit.

Does that help at all? Or is there something more specific I haven’t covered?

Julie Maida September 18, 2017 - 6:44 pm

I wish I had had these great tips when the boys were young! We actually have white noise machines in each of their rooms still, and I swear by them for later weekend sleepers!
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Ivy B September 18, 2017 - 7:03 pm

We run a fan in our room as well to help drown out any odd noises. I swear by white noise for everyone 🙂

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Sharon November 21, 2017 - 6:51 pm

Regarding the advice, you gave on newborn babies require up to 16 hours of sleep and the healthy sleeping habits. Thank you so much for the detailed info. It can be hard to find good details on the web about this subject.
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Elison April 27, 2018 - 1:18 pm

White noise is the best tip ever – it really helped me out in first weeks. I am really glad I used it. I’ve read about it in the book I got from my younger (but first to be mother) sister – „How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” by Susan Urban. It really is about sleep training method but it starts even sooner telling about little helpers like this one and the wrapper. I used both and highly recommend. With this book my little girl is sleeping separately since month 4. She always was a heavy sleeper though, I am so lucky.

Karly July 11, 2018 - 4:09 pm

I love this HWL method! It helped me twice. With my first child I was using Ferber’s but then I’ve found Susan Urban’s guide and never looked back. This method worked faster and I really can tell that my baby was not suffering at all. Much much better.

Alison August 7, 2018 - 2:43 pm

I’ve heard about this book before and was not so sure about this. But when I tried – I changed my mind! It’s totally cool that just few pages of information are changing your life this much this fast. Susan is the best!

Jen August 30, 2018 - 4:18 pm

I love those parental-love guides! I used the breastfeeding one and the sleeptraining too. HWL method is so gentle I could not resist, even if I wasn’t really going to sleep train in first place.

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Annie June 12, 2018 - 6:34 am

Swaddling is great option, my baby loved it and it helped her sleep longer. She’s also sleeping 12 hours now, thanks to my sleep training. I had the best book you can imagine – you get tips to follow since the very beginning (like swaddling and white noise) and when the time comes – there is a step by step training program that really works! The method is called Hold With Love and is developed by Susan Urban. Here is the book: https://www.parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training-pdf and the best thing is – it’s without CIO!

Ivy B June 12, 2018 - 9:15 am

I’m always happy to hear when others have the same success using similar techniques!

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david August 30, 2018 - 5:49 am

I just become a father and I was looking for the article like this. My baby is having a hard time in sleeping. Will definitely try following this tips. thanks

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