7 Highly Effective Sleep Tips for Your Baby Posted on 28 Jan 16:50 , 44 comments

Baby being put to sleep by dad

If necessity is the mother of invention, in my case, curiosity was definitely the father.

My second son would not sleep without being held, which made for some very long nights. I was so curious about the role my touch played in his sleep, that I began poring over infant sleep cycle and touch research. The valuable lessons I learnt as a result, I wish I had known going in.

I felt so compelled to share the lessons learnt with other new parents, that I founded an entire company towards its cause.

Here are 7 well-researched and easy to follow steps to a better sleep for both you and your baby. With a mix of learning and consistent practice, I'm confident you will be on your way from Sleep Senpai to Zen Master in no time.

Here are my 7 (I Love You so Much Because You Are My Little Cherub but Please Fall Asleep) Steps to Better Sleep.

1) Learn Your Baby's Sleep Cycle

Before you do, you must learn... Grasshopper.

As adults we enter deep sleep almost immediately, then we cycle between light and deep sleep periods through the night. Deep sleep can last as many as 3-4 hours.

Newborns enter deep sleep through a lengthy light sleep period. Then they cycle between these two phases every 40-45 minutes.

During deep sleep periods you are welcome to sound the sirens and your baby wont so much as stir. Mine slept through a smoke detector #truestory. However, during light sleep periods, an ill-timed sneeze is enough to wake them up.

Adult Sleep Cycle - How You SleepYour Baby's Sleep Cycle - How Your Baby Sleeps

If you stand by them as they sleep, you will notice their activity levels rise as they enter light sleep; sighs and eye or limb movements.

Knowing this, you may be able to be a little more sensitive during their light sleep periods to prevent mid-sleep awakenings.

Having covered the basics, lets get to know your little one's unique sleep stages.

You can learn a bit more about babies sleep cycles here.

2) Log Your baby's Sleep + ADAP + REPEAT

Your baby’s sleep schedule is intricately connected with his eating and pooping schedule. Timing these well can make the difference between a morning jog and falling asleep in your bowl of granola. This app keeps your little one’s schedule, so you can worry about one less thing.

Free on iTunes.

App To Log Your Baby's Sleep

Research says that one of the biggest impacts on a newborns sleep patterns and their ability to adjust to a 24 hour day/night cycle time, is participation in their parent's or caregiver's social schedule.

By using timing cues from your log you will know:
1) How long to engage your baby in playtime after feeding.
2) When to slow down activity (5-10 minutes before they tend to get fussy).
3) Whether to change their diaper before or after feeding.
4) Noting down the smallest of things can make a world of difference.

3) Learn The Key Causes of Mid-Sleep Arousal

Thanks to frequent light sleep periods, the slightest of ill-timed disturbances may wake your baby up mid-sleep.
So as you may wonder... how on earth did they wake up?? Here are a few common culprits you can check for.
1) Is your home prone to sudden sounds while your baby sleeps?
2) Does your baby have gas or spit up after feeding?
3) Is the room too hot or cold?
4) Does your baby have a soiled diaper when he/she wakes up?
5) Did you baby startle due to moro-reflex - the free falling sensation babies have during 0-4 months?

Some of these can be tackled with proper planning, while others are meant for your baby to wake up and alert you for her safety.

Babies have sensitive bellies. Gas or spit up are the most common reasons that could cause acute discomfort and disrupt sleep.

Burp them after feeding and before putting them to sleep. If your baby is prone to spit up, keeping them slightly elevated while sleeping helps keep the food down.

4) Create The Perfect Ambiance For Sleep

Knowing how frequently your baby cycles between light and deep sleep periods may certainly help; however, it may not be possible to prevent every sound from their surroundings.

So here are some tips to create the perfect ambiance in your nursery. These will provide cues to your baby that it is time to sleep. This is what experts call sleep association.

Day and Night Separation For Your Baby To Sleep At Night

Block natural light during naps and keep room dimly lit during night time. This will help cultivate and maintain day/night association.

Quiet ambient music or sound for your baby's sleep environment

Keep a constant, rythmic sound such as gentle music or white noise. This will help drown any sudden sounds from outside your baby's room.

Swaddle is the best accessory for your baby to sleep in for a good night sleep or nap

Babies younger than 4 or 5 months are prone to waking due to moro-reflex. Studies have shown swaddling helps them sleep through the startle reflex and prevents them from waking up completely.​

The right  room temperature for your baby's bedroom

65-70 degrees F is a safe and comfortable temperature to maintain in your baby's room.

the perfect clothing for your baby to sleep in

Clothing should be appropriate to the temperature in the room. A onesie and a swaddle or a playsuit and a swaddle typically suffice. 

5) Lean How To Prevent Mid-Sleep Arousal

During light sleep babies usually sigh or move or make sounds as they are partially aroused. Don't rush to pick them up at the slightest sound. There is a chance that your baby may fall back to sleep if he/she is not stimulated.

However, if your baby starts to wake up, you may be able to prevent complete arousal with the following tips.

Shushing: The shushing sound helps lull them back to sleep. If your baby's room has the ambiance described above, it will help them during such mid-sleep arousals.

Hand on Chest or Belly: Place your hand gently on their center. The gentle pressure on their center can be very soothing. Touch is known to provide the feeling of security and comfort. If your baby is feeling discomfort due to gas, your hand may also help relieve this discomfort.

Zen Swaddle: For times when you cannot be there, the Zen Swaddle simulates the comfort of your palm on their chest through the lightly weighted center and lulls them back to sleep. Moms have reported improvements in sleep within 1-3 nights. Babies were able to lull themselves back to sleep 30% of the time, thus increasing their overall sleep duration.

A Lovie or Paci: Associations with soothing objects such as a pacifier or a lovie are far better than associations that depend on your presence. If you would like to cultivate such an association start early within the first couple of months.  

6) Create The Perfect Bedtime Routine For Your Baby

The Zen Swaddle, The Best Swaddle for Babies Sleep

This ideal bedtime routine lasts for 45-60 minutes from bath time to bedtime and helps to get your baby into a predictable schedule.

*07:30 PM - Bath time

07:45 PM - Massage, ambient sound/music, dim lights, jammies, swaddle

07:55 PM - Nursing/Feeding, touch (skin to skin or close contact)

08:15 PM - Burping, snuggles, gentle rocking

08: 20 PM - Placing baby in the crib, **hand on chest until eyes start to close

08:25 PM - Ambient sounds playing while little one drifts off to sleep

*08:30 PM - Leaving the room like a true Sleep-jitsu ZEN Master!

This ideal bedtime routine will come with persistence, consistency and your baby's sleep maturity. A better bed time makes the whole day go better.

* A start time of 07:30 PM is more appropriate at 2-3 months.

* Newborns may fall sleep at 09:00 - 09:30 PM due to higher frequency of naps during the day, so adjust your start time accordingly.

** Leaving the room is hardest thing I had to do as a mom. This was the inspiration behind the Zen Swaddle. The gentle pressure of the Zen Swaddle, where you typically hold your little one, extends the security they feel in you presence.

7) Your Zen State Of Mind

Your Zen State of Mind is important for staying calm through your baby's sleep challenges

Its been 10 years since I had my first baby, but I can remember my challenges as if they were not that long ago. I was so committed to caring for my little one and giving him the very best, that I often overlooked my own basic needs...and I am talking B-A-S-I-C!

Knowing what I know now, this is what I would have done differently to attain a Zen State of Mind, even for a few moments of the day!

No matter how busy I was, I would have scheduled my rest time. That's right.. scheduled it and stuck to it!

Having pored over the research on simulated touch and its physiological and psychological benefits, I would have placed a warm towel on my shoulders as I rested. 

I would have practiced rhythmic breathing that is proven to calm and lull you into a light phase of sleep even though we may not be aware of it.

Your physical and emotional health has a lot to do with how ready you are to care for your little one. So I hope that you practice these tips like a true Zen Master.

Bonus Sleep Tips

SECRETS FROM SCIENCE:

Scientists have found that "Tryptophan" in breast milk helps produce melatonin (hormone controling sleep/wake cycles).

Mothers produce Tryptophan more during night time. This may help your baby synchronize to the 24-hour day (Cubero et al 2005).

So if possible, breast feed during the night or have your significant other use milk expressed during night time.

USE A WHITE NOISE APP:

Sound plays a huge part in your little one’s bed time routine as either a stimulant or a sedative. This app has a library of continuous sounds from shushing to in-utero, to help baby doze off peacefully and stay asleep longer.

Free in the Play Store.

Baby White Noise App

A DAD'S TRICK:

Enough of the serious stuff, lets share some tricks that Dads always seem to have up their sleeve.

See how this dad puts his baby to sleep in under a minute. You should watch it, it’s pretty cute.

 

To summarize, learn your baby's sleep habits, know how to create the right sleep environment, create the appropriate routine, be consistent and patient and most to all remember to give yourself a break too.

Please do let me know if this helped you or if it made no sense at all (mgangan@nestedbean.com). Seriously, I would love to hear from you!

Your Sleep Sensei,

Manasi Gangan

Founder, Inventor, Mom.

Manasi Gangan Founder of Nested Bean

Comments

Sara on

Wonderful… It helps to know a little what’s going on.

Deborah on

Thank you for the tips! And for hosting the giveaway! Shared on fb

Melissa on

We love the nested bean swaddle! The extra little bit of weight is so comforting for my little guy!

Elisabeth on

Wow, thanks for the tips! Our little guy loves to be swaddled but it always comes undone after a few hours.

Jess Dalton on

Best tip is a white noise option, esp if you have other littles in the house!

Jannelle on

Be patient! Every baby is different.

Marnie Bergstrom on

My best tip would be to try and set a routine as early on as possible. If your baby is prone to startle themselves awake, definitely swaddle. Lastly, don’t stress if your baby does not sleep through the night. Babies will when they are ready and able to.

Kayla Bergstrom on

Persistence! Children aren’t perfect sleepers but if you keep trying and don’t give up, you might have a better chance at getting some rest!

Annette on

Uee a white noise machine or provide some other kind of sound.

Nancy on

Having a something in the room the makes noise.

deb l on

nap when they nap!

Anita on

My best sleep tip is to keep baby swaddled and a white noise machine to drown out the other kids makes a ruckus.

Lauren on

Keeping the room dark and consistency is key!!

Rana Durham on

placing lavender oil on their covering as i am laying them down.

aleczandria sorrell on

My best baby tip is to take your time before putting baby to bed to spend some time with him or her! You will relax not only your baby, but yourself as well, and will help baby feel more peaceful.

Steph on

Noise machine!

Christina C. on

We have a routine of reading while drinking milk. Once done, we brush her teeth. Then, we turn on the white noise and fun the lights. We give her doggy lovie and turn off the lights.

Jessie H on

Hand on the tummy/chest always helps my little one :)

abedabun dawn on

Pray! lol

Melissa on

Routine, swaddle/sleep sack and a fan or other sound machine. Both of our girls do the best if we follow the same nightly routine and would like to think that having a fan since day 1 has contributed to them sleeping through the night at 2 months. Who knows? But I’ll take it!

Anel W on

A good routine and a warm bath is key to a good noght’s sleep!

Cheryl Wright on

Oh what an amazing giveaway!!! This would be so wonderful to have for my newborn baby boy. Thanks for the chance. :)

Rachel on

We read the same book to him every night at bedtime. This helps him know it’s time for bed.

Liz Ticona on

My best baby sleep tip is doing a sleep routine and doing it all nights , also start making room dark 30 minutes before baby is going to sleep , turn on white noise machine then too if you have any and if u do every night your baby will automatically start falling asleep at that time always …

Melissa Ferris on

Keep the room dark and quiet, use a white noise machine, and have a set bedtime routine in place.

Tannis W on

We read books and sit in the rocking chair a bit.

Emily P on

Wait until the baby is tired. The baby doesn’t care if you have a strict schedule or want him to go to bed early, if he isn’t tired he isn’t going to sleep.

Bethany Kingsley on

Cuddle and co-sleep (safely)

Jen on

The Zen Sleepsack literally changed our lives. The first night my little one wore it, she slept for 5 hours!!!

Jerry B. on

Best baby sleep tip… the Zen Swaddle :-) My son is asleep within 5-10 minutes usually, love it!

Katie Cain on

Establish a routine and stick with it

Irina on

white noise toy

Angela Mason on

If you keep them awake as much as possible during the day, they tend to sleep all night long. If that doesn’t work a nice book before bedtime often does the trick….
Have a wonderful and peaceful evening!

Jen D on

Nice warm bath before bedtime! and a swaddle, My little one is out like a light!

Wendy on

Routine, routine, routine. Bath, story in the rocking chair, very low light & white noise.

Derek on

Zen swaddle. Best thing ever

Kelli Wood on

About an hour before bedtime, use low lights, softer sounds and no screens. Then a few minutes rocking and then lay baby in bed. :)

G. Duncan on

The best baby sleep tip – grandpa! He seems to be the baby whisperer and always gets them to fall asleep. :-D

Penny Olson on

We bought a noise machine that plays ocean waves, rain falling. I wish we had had the idea sooner.

ashley on

a good routine and lavender !!!!

Connie Williamson on

We love the good old fashioned rocking chair.

Lisa W on

White noise toy

Cassandra Eastman on

Buy a sound machine! Our babies have all been light sleepers, a sound machine has been a sleep saver for sure.

Meredith on

I use a white noise app. Works like a charm!!

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up