8 Sleep tips you haven’t tried yet? You are probably thinking "no, I have tried everything". Maybe you have, I know that is how I felt. Well during my search to exhaust the internet of every trick and tip out there I've learned a thing or two, here is a list of all the sleep tips and the ages we used them at. I found these really helped but I had to really search the internet to find them.
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Simply because my baby didn’t sleep. It might sound counter-intuitive but if you are getting sleep tips from anyone, it should be from someone whose baby was not a naturally good sleeper. You only learn how to fix things when they are broken. My child’s sleep was broken and from trying to fix it I learned a lot. I started this blog and this section to try to save you time and stress in hopes that by finding information and support here, your experience with your little one can be just that much better. Read more here.
I would always try either many things all at once or give up way too quickly. I had to learn to pick one thing and to try it 3 times. This allowed me to either rule it out because it wasn’t working for my baby or maybe to realize that it wasn’t at the right age and I would try again in a month. If you try multiple different changes at once, you won't know which actually caused a positive change and may go to unnecessary effort to maintain the new routines.
We needed another option besides the swaddle because L hated being swaddled. However, we soon learned that being held close to mom or dad in a carrier would almost always put L to sleep. We had purchased both a Ergo Carrier (with an infant insert) and a Boba wrap and used them almost every day. It also frees your hands so once baby is asleep you can get some house chores done or go outside and enjoy a nice walk. I also got really good at nursing while L was in the carrier which is a great way to nurse in public and is also hands free.
At this age, the main goal is to survive because baby’s needs are high and different for every baby so no point in trying to create good habits. Just do what works to getting your baby to sleep. There also might be an underlying reason for the sleep issues especially if baby is very colic. I would recommend reading and why baby cries a few minutes into feeding to see if this applies to your baby.
L had a hard time in the beginning falling asleep without motion so once we were ready to transition away from rocking/walking/bouncing, we placed L in her crib and she just about lost it. We then asked mom friends and tried many different sleep products until we found the Magic Merlin sleep suit. It is essentially a fluffy body suit that cushions their body so they feel secure. We liked this product so much that I wrote a full post about it here.
To say we were very skeptical would be an understatement. Once it arrived, we tried it out for a nap. We put L in the suit (took a 1000 pictures because babies look ridiculous in these things) and placed her in her crib. Then we both watched and in two minutes (I am not kidding), she was asleep. There was no crying or anything. We decided it must be coincidence but it kept working. We still weren’t sure it was the suit, so we tried bedtime without the suit and knew for certain the sleep suit was our answer. Unfortunately, little ones must transition out of the sleep suit once they can roll over in the suit.
I don’t know why this isn’t the number one sleep method publicized EVERYWHERE. If you are a nursing mom, then when baby is with you, all baby will want to do is nurse especially to fall asleep. Now, of course they need to nurse before going to bed, but hand baby to dad after nursing and let him do bed time (cuddles, rocking whatever works). Dad doesn’t smell like milk and baby will learn to fall asleep with dad and without nursing to sleep. An excellent routine to give dad a special role and bonding time and to give you a much needed break in the evening.
Ever wonder how daycare gets all babies to nap? Most follow this schedule and that is because it works. We write more about creating an individualized nap schedule in this post. We started this at 6 months and not only could I plan my day because I knew when L needed to nap but it resulted in regular consistent naps. It would only take me minutes to get her down for naps because her natural clock expected it as it had become routine. She also started to sleep better at night because her naps were better.
The twilight turtle makes beautiful wave patterns or constellations that move on the ceiling and plays either wave sounds or serene music. It will turn off automatically after 20 mins. The idea is that it is a cue to baby that it is now nighttime. It is also super calming and gives baby something to watch/focus on that will help baby drift to sleep. I have heard it works well for older kids (toddler age) because when they wake in the middle of the night, they can turn it back on and drift back to sleep.
Once we reached this age, we wanted to try to transition to L putting herself asleep or at least not screaming for us the moment she woke. To do this, we added two crib safe stuffed animals, a lovey, and a few books. L loves to read and sure enough, the books did the trick. She would wake and spend 15-20 mins flipping through the pages reading to herself. On good nights, we can even put her in the crib very awake and she will read for 20 min before going to bed on her own.
If you want to remove a sleeping ritual that has become the only way your child will fall asleep, I recommend using something similar to the Pantley’s method in the No-Cry Sleep Solution Book by Elizabeth Pantley. Essentially, when your baby wakes in the middle of the night and wants to be nursed or rocked, you nurse or rock for 10 seconds and then put them back in their crib. Most likely, baby will fuss so you repeat the process and nurse or rock for 10 more seconds. Eventually, baby will fall asleep. Repeat each night and after a few nights, baby will begin to fall asleep on their own.
If you have a tip or trick that did wonders for getting your baby to sleep, I would love to know what you did so post below in comments!
For more on baby and toddlers read about how I create the perfect sleeping environment and follow my Pinterest boards here.
Remember to troubleshoot because the underlying issue might have nothing to do with sleep but with tummy pain so read why baby cries a few minutes into nursing to start ruling out potential issues.