How To Put A Baby To Sleep: 6 Tips For New Parents

Picture of Robyn Rosenblum, MD, FAAP

Medically reviewed by Robyn Rosenblum, MD, FAAP

Mom showing how to put a baby to sleep in a crib

It’s no secret that babies — and tired parents! — need lots of sleep. But it’s not always easy to get your little one to snooze. In this article, we’ll answer your questions about how to put a baby to sleep.

We’ll share tips on how to set your baby up for sleeping success, from calming down to falling asleep and staying asleep. We’ll also review a few guidelines for safe sleep. After all, whether your baby is awake or asleep, their health, happiness, and wellbeing are your top priorities!

How To Put A Baby To Sleep: Tips And Tricks

The basics of how to put a baby to sleep? Make sure they have a clean diaper, aren’t hungry, and are in comfy pajamas. Then soothe your little one before placing them in their crib to snooze.

But every parent knows it’s not always that easy!

Below, we’ll jump straight into tips for how to put your baby to sleep. But first, it’s important to remember that if you have concerns about your baby’s sleep, don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.

Most babies will, at one point or another, put up a fight about going to sleep or staying asleep. This is normal! But difficulty sleeping can sometimes be due to sickness.

If your parental instinct tells you something is up or if you simply need some support or a listening ear, ask for help.

Without further ado, here are the tips you’ve been waiting for!

1) Create A Bedtime Routine

 Mom kissing baby before putting her to sleep

Setting your baby up for sleeping success starts well before you lay them down in their crib.

Creating and sticking to a bedtime routine is an important way to help your baby clue into the fact that it’s time to wind down and get ready for some shut-eye. The key to a bedtime (or naptime) routine is to choose calming activities and do them in the same order every time.

Your routine with your little one could include a bath, a baby massage, changing your baby’s diaper and putting pajamas on, rocking and reading a book, telling a story, or singing a lullaby.

Simply choose activities and a routine that works for your family and your baby — and stick to it!

2) Turn The Lights Down

Turning the lights down is another pre-bedtime key. Our bodies are created to respond to darkness and light, and your baby is no different! The darkness helps your baby’s body calm down and prepare for sleep.

Turn down or dim the lights during your baby’s bedtime routine, if not 30 minutes or an hour beforehand. Likewise, when your baby wakes up during the night, avoid turning on the light.

It’s also helpful for your baby’s sleep-wake patterns if you open curtains and let your baby enjoy the light of day during the daytime hours.

3) Soothe Your Baby

Just before you put your baby in bed, you want them to feel calm, soothed, cared for, and loved.

Help your little one calm down and get ready to drift off by holding them close and soothing them with repetitive movements, like gentle bouncing, rocking, or swaying.

You can also try a baby massage or opt for calming noise, like white noise to sleep with or soft music as you get your baby ready for bed.

4) Swaddle Your Newborn

 baby swaddled in crib

Swaddling your newborn not only keeps them warm during the night, but it can also calm their startle reflex and be quite soothing for some babies.

Wrap your little one snugly in a Newton Baby Organic Swaddle Blanket, which is made with breathable, soft cotton to help regulate your baby’s temperature and keep them comfy all night long. If you’re not sure how to go about swaddling your baby, read our article here.

Just be sure that you stop swaddling your little one before they get the hang of rolling over by themselves. At that point, you can put your baby in a sleep slack to snooze.

5) Watch For Sleep Cues

Have you ever tried to keep your baby up past their bedtime so that they’ll be extra tired and fall asleep without a fuss? We’ll tell you right now that this tactic typically backfires and leaves you with an overtired baby!

Instead, it’s best to keep your baby on a regular sleep schedule and watch for sleep cues — signs that your baby is tired and ready for bed. This is the moment to put them to bed. Don’t wait!

6) Put Your Baby Down Drowsy

 Mom showing how to put a baby to sleep

When you get ready to put your baby in their crib to sleep the night away, enjoy those baby cuddles but resist the urge to rock your little one until they are fast asleep.

If you always hold or rock them until they’re fully asleep, your baby may come to depend on you in order to fall asleep.

Instead, put your little one in their bed when they are drowsy or even awake. This helps them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, which is also part of them falling back asleep when they wake during the night.

Soothe your little one by patting them to help them doze off in their crib.

How To Put A Baby To Sleep: Safety

We’ve gone over the basics of how to put a baby to sleep and set your little one up for sleeping success. To wrap up, let’s take a look at a few of the steps you can take to create the safest possible sleep environment for your baby.

After all, your priority is not only sound sleep for your baby but safe, sound sleep!

Share Your Room

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing your room with your baby for at least the first six months of their life, if not the first year.

This means putting your baby’s crib or bassinet in your bedroom so you can easily keep an eye on and feed your baby during the night.

Although room-sharing is recommended, remember that bed-sharing is not! Always put your baby to sleep in their own bed.

Place Your Baby On Their Back

 baby laying on stomach in crib looking up

The safest way for your baby to sleep is on their back, not on their side or stomach. This applies to both naptime and bedtime.

What’s a parent to do if baby rolls over during the night? Don’t worry about turning them back over. Once a baby gets the hang of rolling over, they’ll do so while they sleep and there’s no need to fret.

The best thing to do is put your baby to sleep on a breathable mattress so that when they roll over, they can breathe straight through the mattress. Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress is a great choice.

Our mattress is made without foam, glue, latex, or springs. So what is it made of? Mostly air. Composed of 90% air and 10% of the same material that yogurt cups are made of, this mattress is much more breathable than leading organic mattresses.

Plus, it provides just the right firmness for babies. That brings us to the next point

Put Your Baby On A Firm Mattress

 baby sleeping in crib on crib mattress

When choosing a crib mattress for your precious little one, opt for firmness. While you may enjoy a cozy, fluffy mattress, a firm sleep surface is safest for your baby.

With the Newton Baby Crib Mattress, there’s no need to flip or change the mattress when your baby grows into a toddler since it provides just the right firmness for babies as well as comfort for toddlers.

Keep The Crib Bare

Just as a fluffy mattress isn’t the safest for your baby, you should also keep blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, and stuffed animals out of your baby’s crib. If all of that is off-limits, what should go in the crib?

The mattress, a fitted sheet, and your precious baby. That’s it. Cover the crib mattress with a cute fitted sheet, like Newton Baby’s Organic Cotton Sheets, and the crib is ready to go.

These GOTS Certified sheets are made with organic muslin cotton and are outfitted with all-around elastic to guarantee a safe, snug fit for any crib mattress.

Offer A Pacifier

While you may use a pacifier to soothe your baby during the day, offering one at bedtime is also a safe sleep recommendation. However, wait to give your baby a bedtime pacifier until they are around one month old and have gotten used to breastfeeding.

If your baby isn’t into taking a pacifier, don’t force it. And don’t feel like you need to go back into their nursery to replace the binky if it falls out of their mouth while they’re sleeping.

Sweet Dreams!

 Mom holding newborn while sitting on ground in nursery

As important as it is that your baby sleeps and sleeps safely, it’s not always simple to get them to settle down and snooze. But, with the tips for how to put a baby to sleep that we’ve gone over in this article, we hope that bedtime with your baby will be smoother and smoother every day.

Go through a calming bedtime routine, soothe your baby before putting them in the crib, and look out for their safety while they snooze with a firm, breathable crib mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress.

Sweet, safe dreams, one and all!

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