We asked working parents to share their tips, tricks, superstitions, lucky charms, and family recipes for getting their newborn babies to fall asleep.
These aren’t all guaranteed to work, but if you’re at the point in your exhaustion where you’re willing to try anything to catch a few hours of shut-eye, they are all worth investigating.
1. Change your baby’s diaper before the last night-time feeding
It may seem intuitive to change the last diaper right before you attempt to put baby down for the night, but there may be a better time.
Changing a diaper isn’t always the most pleasant experience for baby. Try mixing up your routine to change baby before the last feeding, and put baby down right after the last feeding without changing first.
Knowing your way around the changing station can be a boon to help baby fall asleep.
Hopefully baby prefers enjoying a pre-bedtime bottle more than a pre-bedtime diaper change, and a new diaper helps baby fall asleep.
2. Leave the lights off
If you’re in the habit of turning on the lights for night-time feedings, consider leaving them off entirely or using just a small nightlight instead.
There are also some fairly cheap LED push nightlights that are easy to turn on, and dim enough that they won’t trigger baby’s “wake-up signals,” making it easier for your baby to fall asleep after waking up.
3. Warm up baby’s bed
Try laying out a hot water bottle in baby’s crib or bassinet for a short period of time before laying them back down.
This will simulate the warmth of being in your arms and help baby fall asleep by feeling more comfortable transitioning from your arms to bed.
4. Invest in blackout shades
You can make your own blackout curtains from heavy towels or bedsheets. Or purchase portable blackout shades that can be easily installed and removed.
5. Try an infant massage
If your baby is having issues calming down and having separation anxiety, some parents have had success with infant massage.
Gentle swipes and stroked on baby’s forehead, cheeks, and chin can also help relax and help baby fall asleep.
6. Be mindful of door noise
Muffle the opening and closing of baby’s bedroom door by placing a rubber band over the latch attached to both doorknobs.
Also place a towel under or over any openings in the door to make sure outside sounds aren’t keeping baby awake.
7. Perfect your crib lay-down technique
When laying baby in their crib, be sure to keep one arm on their upper to mid back and one arm on their tummy.
Lower baby ever-so-gently into the crib so that baby’s weight gradually transitions from between your hands to the crib.
Use a step-stool or step-ladder if you need extra height. Try to maintain baby’s position as you (slowwwwwly) lower them down into their crib.
8. Use a white noise machine
Whether baby is sleeping in your bedroom or in their own room, there are sounds that go bump in the night that we have learned to ignore.
A good white noise machine can be a lifesaver. We recommend this Dohm classic model, which has multiple loudness levels and uses the air around it to generate noise. If you’ve never tried it, white noise can be the silver bullet to help baby fall asleep.
9. Sleep in shifts
If baby is cluster feeding and you’re breastfeeding, this is easier said than done.
But take your sleep where you can get it. Lean on your partner to give you a break by taking a night shift. If you need to sleep in another room or on the couch to avoid waking up out of habit, do it.
10. Skip the crib or bassinet
If your baby is an extremely touchy sleeper, don’t worry about transporting to a crib or bassinet if they fall asleep in your arms.
Move them to a comfy spot on the couch or floor (unless there are pets around). And keep a watchful eye on them until they stir.