This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase!* Here's our Affiliate Disclosure
Most newborns, if not all, have the craziest sleeping patterns. They wake up in the middle of the night and sleep during the day. At least that’s the experience I have had with my son.
My son used to wake up at 2 freaking am in the morning and sleep at 6 0r 7am until I did the things I am about to share with you in this post today.
And I know that not all newborns are born the same. Some newborns sleep throughout the night (ideally 5 hours) without any of these tips. While others (like my son) need a little bit of a nudge to sleep through the night.
So I do understand what you’re going through as a mama. Your life can’t stop after the baby comes. People expect you to be up in the morning even if your newborn kept you up all night. It gets quickly overwhelming even if you have papa bear helping you out.
So this post will help you:
- Find out the best things to do to ensure your newborn sleeps throughout the night.
- Things to avoid when trying to establish a routine that will help your newborn sleep at night.
- What to do if your baby can’t sleep without your body warmth
Let’s get into it.
What to Do to Get Your Newborn to Sleep At Night
A routine is essentially a set of activities that you do on a regular basis. So instead of going over what the routine of getting a newborn to sleep should look like. Instead, I am going to show you the activities that you need to do.
And this is because each baby has its own needs. Some babies might not like the change in their daily routine and some might. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule.
In short, what I’m trying to say is if I only give you one routine and your baby doesn’t like it, you’ll be stuck with a grumpy baby, a tired body and a stressed mom life. And we all don’t want that.
So if you notice your baby is not taking well to the change in your routine even after following the tricks I talk about in this post, you can easily change it up.
Finally, if you find yourself doing a lot of the donts, I would suggest that you don’t stop it all at once. And I’ll tell you why in just a minute. I’ll also tell you what to do instead.
Create a Eat- Change Diaper-Sleep routine
Most moms who have newborns get in the habit of feeding the baby until they sleep. And that creates a habit in your newborn.
Essentially, they cannot sleep until you are holding them.
What that means for you is that when the baby wakes up at night (which is guaranteed) you’ll have to get them out of their crib, hold them, and feed them until they sleep…
And with all that, all your sleep is gone.
Don’t get me wrong. You should hold your baby when you’re feeding them. Just don’t use it as a way to soothe them to sleep.
Let your baby sleep on their own.
So once the baby has had his/ her fill and they start removing your nipple from their mouths, it’s time to put the baby down and wait for the big ol poop..
Most babies will poop after feeding. If that’s the case, then, after feeding, it’s time to change their diaper. If the baby needs a change of diaper before you feed them, do just that. But remember after feeding them, put the baby down on a sofa, a crib, or in a position where they can easily see you.
If you’ve not been doing this, you and your baby will probably exprience separation anxiety. In that case, put the baby down on the sofa or the bed right next to you where you can hold his/ her tummy or back.
Establish a Eat-Wake-Sleep Cycle in your Newborn
I first read about this from babysleeptrainer.com Essentially, you feed the baby when they first wake up as they will most likely not need to sleep when you are holding them.
Also, think about it like this. When are you most likely to eat and get full – when you wake up or when you are about to sleep? I bet you said when you wake up.
You see babies are small adults. They operate just like us. It’s just that they need the direction on how to do it.
The main thing here is to completely eliminate feeding-associated sleep patterns where the baby associates sleeping with feeding. So without feeding, the newborn cannot sleep.
Feed Baby when They’re Asleep at Night – (Daydream Feeding)
Don’t get this confused with soothing your baby to sleep with feeding… because that’s not it.
Daydream feeding is when you feed your baby when they have already fallen asleep.
I would suggest that you pump out your breastmilk, referigerate it, and when it’s time to feed the baby, warm the milk. This pack really helped me keep up with this routine. And my son started sleeping for 5+ hours.
I cannot tell you how well rested I was for that entire week. I felt as if someone had breathed new life into me. It was as if I had started regaining my old, energetic self back. It’s an amazing feeling that I want you to also get.
Steps to Make Daydream Feeding Easier for You
So for this method to work, you’ll have your child sleeping on his/her side and then feed him/her to avoid them choking on the milk. You’ll also have to put a cloth under their mouth to avoid the burp wetting the bed and making the newborn uncomfortable. You don’t have to touch or lift your baby for this step.
After your done, burp the baby by rubbing their back gently. When they do burp, take that cloth you put under their mouth and gently wipe the white substance coming out.
If you normally lay your child on their stomach wait for 20 minutes and then turn them over so that they can sleep.
I take the opportunity at this time to also change the diaper. And when I’m doing it, I’ll keep a blanky close to their hands or around their little arms. I do that because newborns usually get startled when they’re sleeping (it’s normal). And when they don’t get someone or something to hold onto, they get up and start crying.
So the blanky prevents that when I remove the little pjs to change their diaper.
So for instance, if the baby sleeps at 8am and I want to get some work done until 11pm, then I’ll dreamfeed my baby and give a diaper change at 11pm.
That way I’m guaranteed I’ll actually have 5+ hours of continous sleep.
How to Make This Method Work
For you to have success with this routine, you’ll need to do 3 things:
- Keep the baby as active as possible during the day – this will work if the baby is one month and above.
- Feed your newborn as many times during the day.
- Put the baby on a flat surface instead of carrying the baby around especially when they’re alot younger. (1 week old baby)
Open Windows and Curtains When Your Newborn wakes Up in the Morning
All adults have a sleep-wake cycle that is regulated by when we see the sun and when the sun sets. Unfortunately, for newborns, they don’t have that cycle on their own. When they’re in your belly, they are dependent on you to tell them when to sleep, when to be active, and when to be calm. The mom will normally sleep regulate the unborn baby.
But when the baby is born, he/ she has to create their own sleep pattern. So when they wake up in the morning, draw the curtains and open your windows to let in the sunshine. That will help them create their own internal clock of knowing during the day, we wake up. And at night, we sleep.
But this also depends on the age of the newborn. If the baby is 1 week old, they can easily catch on to a routine so you CAN SKIP THIS ROUTINE.
If it’s a 2 month old baby, then this will definitely help you.
Put the Lights off When It’s Time to Sleep
I hear some moms say that their newborns are afraid of the dark. But that’s not true at all. Unborn children stay in the dark for 9 months. That’s why when you deliver them, their eyes are shut or they struggle to open their eyes.
To make it easier for them to sleep longer, simply maintain the same environment they came from. Turn all the lights off.
And if you’re dream feeding them, use your phone light because when they start crying at night to be fed and you turn on the lights…. it’s goodbye sleep for them and goodbye sleep to you too!!
In fact, I can remember a time when my son literally started screaming when I switched the lights on. I couldn’t see I wanted the bottle. I was confused and dazed with sleep. And the second I switched the lights on, that was the end of my sleep.
I had to learn my lesson. So either, switch on the bedside lamp that’s not bright or just do it with the phone backlight. And if yu use the phone backlight, don’t aim it directly at your baby’s eyes – that goes without saying.
Avoid Sleeping with the Baby on the Same Bed
I hear a lot of different advice on this one but I still stick on this one like glue. When you sleep with your newborn, they get used to your body warmth.
But because there have been countless studies that show the scent of a mother to a nebwborn enhances sleep and reduces cortisol levels, I will say that there are a variety of ways to do it.
You can either get the extendable cribs that allow the baby to sleep on their own but still feel your presence through your scent – I highly recommend this one. Plus this crib also makes the hussle of getting up in the morning a lot easier than when the infant has their own room.
Have a piece of your cloth in their crib. But ensure it doesn’t obstruct them or cause them to suffocate as they turn their heads at night especially when they’re newborns all the way through to 6 months.
Give Gripe Water for Colic Pains to Avoid Sleep Interruption.
Some newborns get colic pains that have negative impacts on any sleep routine you as the mother are trying to establish.
To know if your child is experiencing colic pains, ask your doctor or ensure you go for your clinic days and have the doctor examine the newborn.
If your newborn has collic pains, find gripe water. It works wonders on babies with collic pains.
Collic pains is essentially what happens when the newborn starts feeding. The baby’s digestive system is not used to having any food going down through it. Remember your baby was in your uterus and was feeding through the umblical cord. So the entire gut system is not used to having any type of food pass through it.
That’s why most infants will get collic pains – others more painful collic pains than others but overall I’ve realized that this gripe water works across the board.
It doesnt have any chemicals so you don’t have to worry about that.
Watch What You Eat – Psst It Affects the Quality of The Milk You Produce
According to this research, your diet affects the fatty acid profile of the milk that you feed your newborn.
Also, if you notice a pattern of irritability in your newborn when you eat specific things, stop eating those foods because they will negatively affect your baby’s sleeping patterns.
In short, it is not a myth that what you eat directly impacts the quality of milk you feed your baby.
Use White Noise
White noise masks out noises that you cannot control that are outside your house. This will be especially useful if you live in an apartment that is close to the road. The constant noise might interrupt your baby’s sleep.
You can also use pink noise that helps block out loud thuds that might startle your young one.
Though, if you cannot afford the white noise machine, you can do this instead…
Let Your Newborn get Used to Noise Whle They Sleep – Do This During the Day
Most children will fall asleep during the day. When they do, make it a point to make noise. Hehehhehe… I know it sounds a little cheesy. But hear me out. If your newborn gets used to sleeping in a room that is dead drop silence, they will not be able to sleep when there is noise.
I remember when my son was an infant, I would blast my speakers, sing along with it and hoover my carpet, all while he was asleep.
That’s something my mom was always telling me to do it. And I’m so glad I did. Because to this day, my son can sleep even if there is a loud AF party next door. And so can I. I guess its because my mom did that to me when I was an infant.. LOL!
Bath Your Newborn Right Before the Eat-Change Diaper-Sleep Routine
Once you have successfully created the eat, change diaper, sleep routine for your baby, start bathing them.
Again, I will reiterate this… Infants are just like adults. The same way you feel when you take a warm bathe, it’s the same way they feel – Fresh and nice.
When you bathe your baby, they will be more receptive to the EWS routine and the ECDS routine.
Also if your following the ECDS routine, you don’t have to put a diaper on – especially if your baby doesn’t poop after feeding. Simply bathe the baby, oil them, then feed them while covering them with a warm blanky (without clothes on) and then put them down.
If you do that, they will sleep so much easier and for much longer allowing you to get a ton of rest as well mama.
Regulate the Temperature of your Child at Night.
This one is simple. You know your child better than anyone. Afterall you spend the most time with them.
So you know when your baby is cold and when they’re hot. Remember you also can’t sleep when you either hot or cold. So you need to find that sweet spot for your child.
My son is very interesting. You’ll always hear me saying get those clothes off of him because he gets hot quite easily.
So I avoid covering him up with a lot of clothes even when it’s Fall here. He only feels cold when its winter. hehehehehe! I find that so odd because I am a warm freak. I love socks even when its hot and I easily get cold.
In short, this one is on you mama to figure out your child. Also, you can easily tell if your child is hot. They’ll sweat or turn red. And when they’re cold, their fingers or feet will be cold.
If those things are normal, then you have no cause for alarm.
When your Newborn Wakes Up in the Middle of the Night, do These Things so That They Fall Back Asleep
It is inevitable that your newborn will wake up at night – at least once. And that’s a good sign. After all, newborns sleeping through the night essentially means 5 hours – not 8 hours like grown adults.
So when they do wake up at night to feed or for a diaper change, do the following things:
- Do not pick them up to hold them.
Remember when I was talking about pumping breastmilk into a bottle. That helps you not pick up your child. All you have to do is turn them on their side and feed them.
2. Ensure your Newborn doesnt end up crying
Just when they start making distress noises – almost like chuckling, that’s the time to attend to your newborn. If you wait it out to the point where they’re already crying, that means that they’re fully awake and putting them to bed will be a battle. That’s why I love this extendable baby cot that I was talking about earlier. It allows you to attend to your baby quite easily.
3. Do not switch on the lights – (you already know this from what I was sharing with you before)
4. Change the diaper after feeding.
Follow the Three Times Rule with Infants
The three-times rule essentially means that if you do something thrice to your newborn, it becomes a habit for them – even if you’re doing it subconciously.
For example, if you cuddle your newborn until they sleep. If you do it three times, it becomes a habit for them. Meaning when you want to put them down to sleep on their own, they will have a hard time to do it.
So instead of forming negative habits in your newborn, form habits that will help you and the baby feel safe and content because otherwise you will instill anxiety.
In this case, creating the routine as mentioned above will only need to be repeated thrice and your newborn will fall right into it.
If you have a 2/3-month old baby, you’ll need to follow the tricks I shared with you earlier because they are a lot smarter than newborns and the negative habits are already engrained in them. So repetition and consistency will eventually lead your baby to sleeping throughout the night.
Also another neat trick with the 2/3-month olds is keeping them up as much as possible by playing with them without cuddling or holding them. Such that when you bathe them, feed them and begin changing them, they fall right asleep without much hassle.
Donts of Getting Your Newborns to Sleep Throughout the Night
- Avoid cuddling before they sleep
2. Avoid rocking to sleep even if you have a rocking machine.
3. Avoid feeding your newborn before they sleep.