How to Get Newborn Babies to Sleep at Night

Newborns sleep up to 16 hours a day, according to KidsHealth, but it doesn't always feel like that to new moms and dads when they are up feeding, changing, rocking and walking the floor with a baby in the middle of the night. You can't get your newborn to sleep all night because newborns need to eat every three or four hours. Very small or premature babies may need to eat even more often. You can, however, help your newborn settle down and go to sleep for a while at night so you can get a little rest, too.

A newborn baby is sleeping. (Image: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images)

Step 1

Dim the lights in preparation for putting your baby to bed at night.

Step 2

Make sure the temperature in the room where your baby sleeps is comfortable. Feeling too warm or too cool can cause difficulty sleeping.

Step 3

Make sure your baby has a clean diaper and has eaten before putting her to bed.

Step 4

Talk softly to your baby when putting him to bed. When your baby wakes up to eat during the night, talk very little and don't play with him, as talking and playing encourage him to wake up. Keeping quiet helps him understand that nighttime is for sleeping.

Step 5

Put your newborn to bed in your room but not in your bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against sleeping with your infant for safety reasons.

Step 6

Put your baby to bed on her back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Step 7

Offer your baby a pacifier.

Step 8

Play some soft music to help your baby drift off to sleep.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean diaper

  • Crib

  • Pacifier

Tip

An overly tired baby may have trouble getting to sleep, according to KidsHealth, so don’t try to keep a sleepy baby awake so he’ll sleep better later. Let him sleep when he’s tired.

Warning

Use a firm crib mattress and don’t put stuffed animals, pillows or thick blankets in your baby’s bed to reduce the risk of SIDS. The AAP advises against using bumper pads in cribs for the same reason. Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle. She could choke on the liquid. Putting babies to bed with bottles also increases the likelihood of tooth decay and ear infections.

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