I think you’ll agree with me when I tell you that one of the main worries for a new parent is the lack of sleep.
The problem is that many new moms wish for a great sleeper, but don’t actively implement strategies to get that desired result. They may not know that there are many proven ways to help create healthy sleep habits for their baby, so they just cross their fingers and hope for the best. Unfortunately, that typically won’t work.
So we asked moms of great sleepers from across the country one simple question:
What’s one tip that helped your baby become a great sleeper?
In this post, I am going to share some amazing tips from REAL MOMS who are getting their well-deserved sleep each night! You’ll see from their answers that the strategies are totally doable for ANYONE and can really give your baby the wonderful gift of quality sleep that their little brains and bodies truly need.
Mom #1: Damares from How to Marry a Millionaire
I would link her long sleep to my pregnancy habits. I had left such a rough situation in my life and I did all I could to have a calm and enjoyable pregnancy. I had a therapist that listened and helped me to overcome so much, made acupuncture appointments with a great doctor who provided me lots of advice, participated in hydrogymnastics, and had some massages along the way.
I think the fact I was so calm prior to her birth made her such a calm baby. She never cried, complained and has always slept well, including for the night.
Mom #2: Jessica from Sane Momma
Providing the right sleep environment was a game changer for our son. Keeping the room dark and using a noise machine made a huge difference, but also the removal of any sleep props. If your baby sleeps with a pacifier and it falls out, they will likely wake. By removing anything that the baby “needs” to be able to fall asleep, you eliminate the risk of them losing that prop in the middle of the night and waking. This helped our son learn how to fall asleep on his own and without help from us or anything else. We implemented this at 6 months and he’s been sleeping 12 hours a night ever since!
Mom #3: Niki from Toot’s Mom is Tired
Now that she’s two, we give her options and allow her to be “in control” of her bedtime. I ask her if she’s ready for bed. If she says no, I’ll give her 5 more minutes, but only once or twice depending on what time it is. Then I tell her it’s time for bed. She gets to pick out her pajamas. I usually give her 2 or 3 options. She chooses the book for her bedtime story. And I lift her up so she can shut off her lights. I think she sleeps better when she feels like she’s in control of her bedtime.
Mom #4: Jeannie from Planet Teacher’s Blog
Following the feed, wake, sleep schedule was one of the keys to getting in a good rhythm of sleep. I would make sure for my baby would get a full feeding in. Then we would play. Play looks different at babies ages and stages. When my baby was 6 weeks, we would read stories, sing songs, touch and feel different objects, etc.. When it was time for nap, I would do her nap routine. This consisted of going in her room, changing her diaper, singing a song, placing her in her sleep sack, closing the door, and turning on the white noise.
Both my son who is 4 now and daughter who is 10 months got into the rhythm of sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks old. They slept through the night for about 6 1/2 hours. As they got older they extended their sleep through the night.
They are both awesome nappy and sleepy babies and one of the reasons I believe they are good sleepers is because we started them on the feed, wake, sleep routine as soon as their little bodies were ready.
Mom #5: Sue from myzarbaby
When babies make their entrance into the world, as mamas, what did we always hear: “they feed every 2-3 hours” right? Very true, however, each baby is different. I noticed during the first 2.5 months that my baby would wake up about 11:30 pm by crying for a feeding so I started picking her up while still sleeping @ about 11:00 pm to feed her and then laying her back down to sleep. This usually worked because she didn’t get hungry enough that it woke her up and she started crying. I found that because she didn’t get to a point of crying for feeding, it made it easier for her to go right back to sleep. We did this for another month and after about 3 months, she slept for a full 12 hours.
Mom #6: Angie from The Luck of a Magpie
Children are each very different and unique! I have five kids, and we’ve tried every single parenting method you can find in the books. We have succeeded and failed at sleep training our kids. Here is what has worked for us:
Timing: Here are things to consider: Do you put your child down hours after dinner? If so- make sure to give them food before bed. I had one child that needed to have solids before bed like baby rice to fill him up or he would wake up during the night. Do you watch TV before bed? I’d recommend not. Too stimulating for most kids even babies.
Schedule: Stick to a strict time schedule. Always stick to it with very little exception. My best sleepers as babies would go to bed at 9 and sleep until around 7. Same schedule every night.
Routine: Keep to a routine. We stick to the 3 B’s: bath, book, bed even for our babies. Your kids will know what to expect. I believe this conditions their bodies. My first three children, we’d play soft music (no words just music) when we rocked them as newborns. The same cd started over every night. When they became toddlers in “big kid beds” by the middle of the first song– they were typically snoozing.
The truth is every baby is different, and three of my children were great sleepers starting at one month when I followed these. Teething, growth changes, or sickness can throw off a child’s rhythm, but these three ideas will get them typically back on track quickly. As a mom, we have to look at this in the long haul when it comes to creating healthy sleep patterns. My older children are great sleepers now as teens because we did these three things consistently and still do.
Mom #7: Kayla from Mainly Motherhood
I will always remember my mother-in-law telling me how important it was to make bedtime different than the rest of the day. She would play with her children and be very interactive during the day, but would be all business during night feedings and diaper changes. When my daughter was born, we quickly tried the same method. During the day we talked to her, bicycled her legs, had tummy time, and played. However, as the night progressed our activities slowed down to reading and singing and baths. Half an hour before bedtime we dimmed the lights, changed her diaper, and dressed her in footie pajamas before feeding her the last feeding of the day. I truly believe she began to associate these things with sleep. I even sang her the same hymn every evening as I rocked her to sleep. Even now she finds that same hymn soothing.
Here are some ways to set bedtime apart from daytime:
– Dim the lights
– Dress your baby in footed sleepers
– Swaddle your baby or wrap her in a warm blanket while you’re holding her
– Read books and sing songs
– If you are waking up to feed or change a diaper, try to keep the lights dim.
Mom #8: Kate from A Hundred Affections
Sleep schedule. I can’t emphasize this enough. Having a routine of them knowing when it was time to sleep was huge! I had twin boys, so if any of us were ever going to get some sleep, I needed a schedule. We had set nap times and bedtime and rarely deviated. Also, they always slept in their own room, in their own crib.
EVERYONE in the house NEEDS good sleep. Sleep is so, so SO important for baby development. Like food is nourishment for our bodies, sleep is nourishment for a baby’s brain. And mama needs her sleep too! It might seem noble and honorable to sacrifice sleep for a baby (and at times it totally is and the right thing to do!). But for a mama to be a good mama and a sane mama, she needs her rest, too. Good sleep is important for the WHOLE HOUSE!
Mom #9: Stacey from Seashells and Storytime
My daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old. My biggest tip is to put them to bed early. People used to think I was crazy for putting my kids to bed at 6:00, but the more tired they are, the worse they will sleep, and after a busy day at daycare, they are wiped! So put them to sleep before they get overtired, and they will sleep better and for longer.
Mom #10: Karla from Little Conquest
My little one has ALWAYS slept in his crib from day 1. He woke up to feed at night like any other baby, but actually started sleeping through the night very early on. Maybe after the first month… I don’t remember ever being sleep deprived, so it must have been during that first month. Ever since, he sleeps 8-10 hours at night and now takes a 1-2 hour nap during the day as well.
Mom #11: Bethany from The Fox Den
Ween them off night feeds. At first we woke the babies up every three hours during the night as well, but eventually, we just started letting them sleep and only fed them once they woke. They started sleeping longer and longer at a time until they slept through the night just before 2mo old. It helped to give them a bigger bottle before bed.
Mom #12: Jennifer from Jennifer Driskell
For my son, the biggest contributor to helping him become a great sleeper was keeping a very consistent bedtime schedule.
Our routine started around 7:00 and was nothing crazy or elaborate. We changed him into pajamas, read a book, rocked him while he nursed, and then put him in his crib while he was drowsy (not asleep). This helped him get into the rhythm of feeling sleepy at the same time every day — plus, his personality does really well with routine.
By the time he was four months old, he was sleeping through the night for 10-12 hours straight.
We stuck to this schedule and even came home a little early from different functions to ensure that he got to bed at the right time. For some, this might sound a little extreme, but it worked really well for our family! And, we were more than happy to make a little sacrifice to ensure a good night’s sleep and a happy baby the next day. 🙂
He’s 2 1/2 now and continues to be a great sleeper!
Mom #13: Jen from Jen Wynia
Our daughter was sleeping 12 hours straight at night by 10 months old. Before then she was up once in the night for a bottle between 6-10 months and twice a night between 4-6 months. The number one thing I believe contributed to her being such a great sleeper is routine. We had her sleeping in her own crib by 5 weeks and established a bedtime routine at 8 weeks. We would give her a bath every night at the same time and then try to get her to sleep. It took quite awhile but eventually, she would go to sleep after bath and bottle. We stuck with the routine religiously ever since so she knows what to expect. This is the same for nap time except for no bath.
She is 1.5 years old now and sleeps 12 hours (7-7) and naps about 1 hour in the afternoon! I’m one happy Mama!
Mom #14: Lindsay from Hayva Kids Co.
1. Learn baby’s cues. This is crucial for the next step.
Pay attention to them, they will yawn when they are tired. Do something relaxing to imitate that first yawn. Stroller, blanket, pacifier, songs. Put them down tired after the first yawn, but not entirely asleep. They will moan and whine, and eventually self-soothe. Use their hands or put a pacifier in there.
2. Adopt a pattern, not an exact time scheduled.
Eat, play sleep is great. The exact timing can be off day to day, but if you know they aren’t hungry and they have used energy playing, they should yawn soon and be able to rest after. After we eat, my 5-month-old likes to do the jumper, play with toys, watch my 2-year-old and I dance around. Then she’s pretty tired after that.
3. Be persistent, don’t give up.
There are days this won’t go as smoothly. There will be times you have errands to run, other kids to pick up, but try to be persistent and don’t get too upset if it’s not working. Keep them in their room, in their crib to sleep. If they have the option to sleep in your room or in the car, etc, they will not like their crib as much. Get them comfortable in their own room before they are old enough to realize they have moved out of your room.
Mom #15: Nicole from The Professional Mom Project
On the vast majority of days, we were home for his nap time. By being home for naps rather than out in a stroller he was able to sleep better and become even more accustomed to his crib. It was challenging to schedule around all of the naps but we recognized early on that sleeping at home worked best for him.
Mom #16: Rosie from This Mom Life by Rosie
My kids always struggled with sleep until recently! I invested in the Dohm sleep machine and it has worked miracles! The first night we had it my son slept through the night & my daughter woke up once. My son is 3 & daughter is 1. We were beyond thrilled. Since purchasing they have both become deep sleepers and wake rarely. I would say number one thing for sleep is create a peaceful environment. For us, it was a sleep machine!
Mom #17: Caroline from Swaddles n’ Bottles
It can be difficult, but really encouraging a good, full feeding at night will help baby sleep for longer stretches. If baby is dozing off after just 3 or 4 minutes of nursing, she is really just taking the edge off of her hunger and will most likely be up again very soon. If my baby wasn’t able to stay awake, I would unswaddle her, play with her hand, stroke her head, anything to really keep her stimulated.
Mom #18: Allie from Mommy Messenger
One of the biggest contributors to our son’s awesome sleep is the gentle sleep training we did when he was 4 months old. Prior to that, we had been walking him around his nursery until he fell asleep and that was EXHAUSTING! We wanted to teach him how to fall asleep independently, so we adopted a controlled crying approach to help him achieve that. It only took 2 nights for him to adjust and from that point on he fell asleep independently every single night AND was able to put himself back to sleep if he woke up during the night! Game changer!
Mom #19: Krista
No feeding to sleep! From the very beginning, we made sure not to feed our daughter to sleep. Even though I was breastfeeding and it seemed that everyone let their baby fall asleep on the breast; we knew that this would only create a hard-to-break habit down the road. There were times when she naturally started to fall asleep while eating so we would just do little things to keep her awake so she didn’t start to associate sleeping with feeding. It did help to follow the Eat-Play-Sleep routine so she always ate after she woke up from sleep instead of feeding right before a nap/bedtime.
Mom #20: Michelle
Knowing how to handle sleep regressions is so important! Babies go through lots of regressions but that doesn’t mean you have to fall back into old habits. Once our son could fall asleep independently and slept for longer chunks of time, we made sure not to introduce a sleep prop when he woke up more frequently (sleep regression).
So if he normally slept for an 8-hour stretch but suddenly started waking up every 2 hours, we made sure not to give him a bottle each time he woke up. We already knew that he could sleep 8 hours without a feeding so we didn’t want to automatically give him a bottle every time as that could start a vicious cycle and then he will start actually needing the extra feedings at night!
Mom #21: Jen from Our Little Sweet Nest
A consistent bedtime routine is soothing when they’re tiny and then more of a cue-based routine when they are older. For example, when my babes were newborns they just slept so they fell asleep a ton on the boob. At 6 weeks I rocked them and sang and then around 4-6 months it was bottle, bath, story, song, kisses, and bedtime. So now when I finish my son’s story, he basically just lays his head down because the end of the book is his cue that this is bedtime.
What in this round-up resonates with you? Please share in the comments!
We’d also love to read your response to our question: What is one tip that helped your baby become a great sleeper?
If you don’t have a little one yet but are currently pregnant, what’s the biggest sleep-related question in your mind before becoming a new mama?