How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
I’m pretty obsessed with baby sleep and as a mom, I would do anything to get tips to help my baby sleep through the night.
I studied a lot of psychology in college since it was one of my minors and I knew that when I had kids I would analyze their behavior a ton since it was fun for me (I know, I know #nerdalert)
As a mom of a 2 year old and a 6 month old, my sleep is really important to me. With my second child I also developed Postpartum Anxiety Disorder (PPA) and when I was not sleeping, my anxiety got much worse so I knew that I would have to prioritize my children sleeping well. (Read more about my journey with PPA here on Scary Mommy
I also really love a good routine.
Like really love it.
I thrive off routine (my anxiety peaks when there is no structure) and read a lot about the importance of a routine for small people as well so, after we left the newborn survival mode of life, it was time to get focused on sleep.
I am NO expert at all, just a mom who wanted her sleep, knew that her kids needed sleep (whoever came up with ‘let them stay awake, they’ll sleep longer’ must never have had kids who wake up at 6am no matter what!), and knew that I would do the research I needed to find out what tools I needed to help my kids sleep better. Because well rested kids = a well rested, less cranky, and better mama.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite products for baby sleep and the ones that we have used to help our kiddos become good sleepers and develop good sleep habits.
There will be times, no matter what, that your kids sleep will suck. Leaps, regressions, teeth, sickness… you name it, and it can throw us off. During those times, remember to take a deep breath, pour that coffee or wine, hug them tighter and remind yourself ‘it’s only a season’.
(For reference, I’ll refer to both my kiddos and what they used. Arianna is currently 2 years old and Isaiah is almost 6 months old)
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UPDATED TO ADD: Check out this great new baby sleep course from Jilly of Baby Sleep Made Simple!
Jilly was a featured speaker at last year’s Purpose Driven Mom Summit and helped so much when I was struggling with Isaiah’s sleep in the beginning!
Her 21 Days to Peace and Quiet program is amazing and a proven step by step guide that helps exhausted moms get their little ones sleeping well!
And I remember how it is in the beginning, how tired you feel, how much more anxious and less joyful, and how you wonder how you’ll make it through (heck I’m still there sometimes with my 3 year old and her nightmares!).
My tips and favorite products below are what helped us with our infant but if you’re really struggling and not sure what to do, I highly suggest checking it out and joining! We NEED sleep mamas, and so do our littles! It makes for a happier home!
Top Tools for Baby Sleep
1. Happiest Baby on the Block
When my daughter was 3 weeks old I hadn’t slept for more than 2 hours straight. I was exhausted. She wouldn’t let me put her down without crying. And I didn’t know what to do.
I remembered that a friend had gifted me a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block and decided to pop it in while I was rocking her around the living room for the millionth time at 2am.
Watching this dvd helped save my sanity. Even though most of the approaches in it are pretty simple and common sense, as a first time mom, it gave me permission to do things that I was afraid to do, things that I knew would make sense but was so afraid would be the wrong thing.
2 . Rock and Play
I cannot believe no one told me about the Rock and Play when I had my daughter! We struggled for almost 6 weeks to get her to sleep without being held and finally started to use a swing which worked well BUT I was so mad when I realized I could have used a rock and play from the beginning!
If you’re going to get a rock and play, make sure you get one that automatically rocks (like this one on Amazon). I can keep it on for 6 hours which gives us a long stretch of time where I don’t have to hold or rock him!
We mostly used the rock and play for naps and it was such a helper! I will say that the APA doesn’t recommend anything but a flat bassinet or crib for safe sleep, so use at your own discretion.
3. Velcro Swaddlers
One of the first things you learn if you take any baby classes is how to swaddle a baby.
Let’s just say my husband inherited the gene to make our children into baby burritos and mine just fall apart.
Enter, velcro swaddlers! We LOVE these to keep the baby feeling comforted and sleeping well. And as funny as they look all tucked in, they are super safe, and really help them sleep!
In the beginning I also thought that my son didn’t like them because he tried to get out of them but after just a few days, as soon as we wrapped him in it, he was OUT! You can get a ton of super cute ones that make them look adorable on Amazon! These ones from SwaddleMe are my fav!
A quick disclaimer; as soon as your baby begins to roll, it is NOT safe to keep them swaddled and with the velcro swaddlers, you have the option to keep their legs in and arms out.
4. White Noise
One of the recommendations in the Happiest Baby on the Block book is the use of white noise, and at first I was hesitant. I didn’t want to create any negative sleep habits or crutches or have the kids addicted to white noise.
I then saw how much it helped them block out any other noises that were interrupting sleep (anyone else have barking dogs?!?) and was hooked on white noise! Most of the times we use an app on the phone or tablet so we can take it on the go. We tried to use the smaller ‘on the go’ animal ones but found that they weren’t loud enough.
For the bedroom, I really suggest getting the Dohm machine! It’s not too loud to upset their hearing but loud enough to help them feel soothed and comforted for sleep. And a bonus… it helps me sleep better and allows me to not hear every single noise they make that could wake me up!
5. Precious Little Sleep
If you’re a mom like me, you’ve spent many nights at 2am scrolling Facebook and wondering how the heck you’re going to get any sleep. I was in this boat with my first and I am so thankful that I stumbled across the Precious Little Sleep blog and Facebook group. This has been one of the best support communities for me in terms of baby sleep!
I highly recommend checking out the blog, group, podcast and now the Precious Little Sleep Book!! It is my new go to gift for moms at their baby shower to remind them that they WILL sleep again!
6. Zip a dee Zip
We love the zip a dee zip. Now granted, this was a 3am desperate purchase on my part. Arianna was breaking out of her swaddle but I knew needed something to help her sleep. As I scrolled through Pinterest to find something to help I came across this funny looking thing that makes my kids look like a Flying Squirrel.
The Zip a Dee Zip was originally shown on Shark Tank and is considered a ‘swaddle transition’ blanket. In it, the baby’s arms are out (so great for kids who are rolling) but is tight enough so their arms are still a bit restricted. Both my kids loved to self soothe on the enclosed hand space which helped us when we took away the pacifier for night sleep around 4 months. They have a ton of patterns but I choose the penguin because it was adorable! You can check them out here!
7. Woombie Swaddle Suit
If you’re looking for an awesome swaddle but need to keep the arms of your little one in, check out the woombie! This is a great swaddle option that doesn’t allow the fabric to creep over the baby’s face and keeps them snug, just like when they were in your belly!
Until about 3 months, most babies have a strong startle reflex that can wake them up and interrupt sleep and, by keeping their arms in, it prevents them from knocking out their pacifiers as well!
They also just came out with these hybrid swaddles which I wish I had gotten! Grab them here!
So mama… let me give you permission to get a little help with your kid’s sleep. Yes, having kids means less sleep but it doesn’t have to mean that every day is a struggle! Take the tools and helps, particularly in the beginning! Sleep associations start to happen between 4-6 months so do what you have to do in the beginning it make it through! You got this!
And listen, if you’re still struggling to get your baby to sleep through the night, can I recommend that you check out this program from my friend Jilly at Baby Sleep Made Simple? She’s a baby sleep expert and can help you get your baby sleeping better and make you a more restful mom!
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