1. Establish a bedtime routine. It’s never too early to get a bedtime routine started. Your bedtime routine should be simple and sustainable, so it’s easy for you to do every night. Even the smallest change in your baby’s routine can leave them feeling off, and suddenly waking more frequently at night. Include calming, soothing activities that your baby seems to respond to, like swaddling and shushing. The bedtime routine can be where you create positive sleep associations for your baby.
2. Teach your baby to self-soothe, which means trying your best to soothe them less. When your baby wakes in the middle of the night and cries for you, it’s always okay to go check on them, try and keep the lighting the same and noises to a minimum. However, try and limit your time in there with them. Make it clear that it’s still time to sleep, not play or eat. Place your hand on their chest for a few moments to calm them, then leave the room.
3. Start weaning the night feedings. Once you get the okay from your doctor to stop night feedings, you should slowly start to reduce them. In many cases, feeding becomes a sleep association because you fed your baby every time they woke up. Just because that’s no longer necessary, doesn’t mean your baby won’t want it anymore. Slowly wean them off the night feedings (maybe try a dream feed?), feeding them less and not as frequently over a few days or a week to get them used to not feeding every time they wake.
4. Follow a schedule. Make sure your baby is getting the right amount of daytime sleep to prepare them to get the right amount of nighttime sleep. As newborns, babies can’t differentiate between day and night, they just sleep ‘round the clock. As they get older, they start sleeping longer periods, the longest stretches being at night. If they are sleeping too much during the day they won’t stay asleep as long at night. Take a look at our sample sleep schedules for some suggested guidelines.
5. Keep a calming ambience. Ambience can be everything! Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, make sure it stays dark, and even try adding some white noise in there! The softest of sounds can disturb your baby at night, the white noise will provide a consistent, soothing sound for them to fall asleep to, and it will drown out any other noises happening around the house. Our Dream Little One Sleep Oil is perfect for creating a calming ambience. The 100% natural essential oils are perfectly blended. The aroma is reminiscent of a spa including french lavender, Roman chamomile, vetiver and ylang-ylang.
6. Stick to an appropriate bedtime. Putting your baby to sleep later in the hopes that they’ll sleep later in the morning most likely won’t work. If you’re following a schedule, it’s important to keep an appropriate bedtime for your little one to keep them on track. Remember, newborns don’t have a set bedtime, because they’re just sleeping whenever they need to. But around 3 months old, you can start to establish a healthy bedtime to accompany your sleep schedule.
7. Be patient. If your baby was sleeping through the night on their own before, and suddenly stopped, it might be a sleep regression or growth spurt’s fault. Growth spurts usually only last a few days, and then your baby should return to normal patterns. A regression can last 1-4 weeks. Be patient during times like this and focus on the fact that it won’t last.
8. Clear the clutter. Designate the nursery as a room for sleep, not play. Keep the area around the cot free of toys and other fun stuff. “Cot distractions confuse baby,” says Conner Herman, a sleep expert and co-founder of the baby sleep consultancy Dream Team Baby. “They’ll make her wonder, ‘Is this a playpen, or is it a place to sleep?’”
9. Make a plan—and stick to it!
Agree with your partner about what you’ll do when baby wakes in the middle of the night and who’ll do it. “The number one way to fail is not to have a plan,” Ryan says. “Set a date on the calendar to start, and be consistent. That’ll make it so much easier for baby to learn.”