How To Put Baby Down For A Nap & A Good Night’s Sleep
It’s not always easy to put a baby down to rest. Whether it’s a short nap or a good night’s rest… for the whole house. Each baby has their specific liking in a sleep routine.
In time you will learn what’s best for your little one. From experience, this is not an overnight lesson. This lesson might take you a semester, maybe two?
Once you think you have it figured out they’ll probably surprise you with a plot twist. But I have tools that could help you find a solution.
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It’s Easy To Think Your Baby’s Not Tired… When In Actuality Your Baby Is Overtired
With all the resources available to me I used each with a grain of salt. We truly get desperate when our baby does everything to remain awake.
Do what you can but trust your intuition mama. If you feel that something is off, skim for symptoms practical abnormal symptoms to tell the pediatrician.
One example could easily be a baby who has burped after a feed. This is more easy to forget than remember.
If gas gets trapped in a baby’s tiny digestive system it becomes very uncomfortable and painful. Which can easily become the cause of a baby’s fight against sleep.
How Many Hours Should A Baby Sleep?
Babies get about 14-18 hours of sleep a day. They are pretty steady about waking up for a diaper change, a feed and sometimes after some small talk, it’s time to catch some zzZ’s again. In the early months it’s good to follow a rule to sleep every 2 hours, until their 6 month milestones.
Just to respect their rest and get time to catch up on your mental health. Even if they wake up 20 minutes later, some rest for baby and a mini break for mama all count.
By nature, babies crave to be held by their mothers. After laying cozy in a warm bed for about nine months, who wouldn’t want to crawl back into that luxury? They come into this world where every one of their senses is uncontrollably stimulated in a blink of an eye.
Babies can’t fend for themselves, any source of comfort from their mama/immediate caregiver will be deemed dire. This experience is exhausting in every way possible.
Imagine your body having that physical expectation without having that need met so early. Experts say that babies just want to hear, feel and smell familiarity.
This Is Not A Sleep Training Method
Now, before you continue reading it’s important to know that my tactics are not based on sleep training. I have done my research and it was my choice not to integrate sleep training practices.
If I decide to in the future with my other kids I will announce it as so but for now, I am happy with my own successful tactics. It took time and patience to learn this about August.
Before I Put Baby Down
From the beginning this has been my go-to mental checklist
- Is diaper clean?
- Does baby need to be swaddled?
- Close the blinds/curtain
- Turn on the hatch sound machine or sound machine noise on a music app
- Is baby’s sleep area ready?
- How is the temperature in the house?
- Was baby’s last feed more than 2 hours ago?
- Is the pacifier in arms reach?
It is extremely difficult to remember each of these questions. But are paramount to keep in your back pocket, or on a sticky note above the light switch.
Personally, I have incorporated tactics suggested by my family, mom-friends, baby’s pediatrician, and research online while I was desperate. No baby is alike, so some tactics would work beautifully while others would irritate him.
Depending on the day this routine would work and on other days I had to mix it up a little. A gentle reminder: I breastfeed and co-sleep, for me it had helped me a lot when experimenting.
How I Put My Baby Down For A Nap
- Turn AC down to 74
- Close blinds + curtains. The atmosphere should resemble night hours=rest hours.
- Turn on his Hatch (10/10) or A Spotify Sound Noise Machine Playlist
- Check if he has a dirty diaper.
- Give him a small massage with the Lavender Aveeno Baby Lotion.
- Swaddle him but also have a muslin blanket over my shoulder
- If I haven’t fed him in the previous hour I would put the baby to breast. I usually nurse to sleep.
- Burp him (gas or reflux that needs to depart)
- Give him his pacifier
- Hold baby close in my arms, where baby’s face is inwards towards me
- Rock or sway side to side (A neurological response to relax)
- Stroke baby’s eyebrows and forehead to relax more and keep eyes closed
- If my baby wasn’t wearing a swaddle, I would place the muslin blanket that was on my shoulder over his face. It might sound anxiety-ridden but muslin blankets are like the same thin layer you use as a gauze under your bandaid, it’s thin, breathable and the safest blanket material to use for babies. (It covers any distractions in the room, and triggers familiarity/routine that it is time to sleep)
- TIME AND PATIENCE ARE MANDATORY IN THIS STATE; baby can feel your stress. slow breaths mama, you got this. This moment is yours.
THE BABY IS NOW ASLEEP. WHAT DO I DO WHEN HE WAKES UP EVERY TIME I PUT HIM DOWN?
- Hold your baby in your arms in a nursery chair or somewhere comfortable. Just appreciate this moment, you will never get this moment back. You don’t know when it’s the last time they will need you to hold them like this.
- If you decide to hold them, I would advise you to use a boppy pillow for your arms to rest on. It starts to get challenging as time progresses!
As I said before, I co-slept with August until he was able to crawl. PSA: I am not advising you to follow any of the decisions I made by sharing my personal methods. Specialists claim it is an unsafe sleeping habit. But for me, not sleeping with him was anxiety ridden but these were the ways my baby would catch some rest.
MY baby’s sleeping alternatives to the Crib
Comfort was mandatory, he always wanted to feel held. PSA these methods required constant supervision.
- Placing him inside of his crib or pack ‘n play in a Snuggle Me Baby Lounger
- Leave him in the center of my bed with pillows surrounding the borders of my bed (My king-size bed made it feel safer, If you decide to follow this method I suggest buying a Bed Rail if your baby is out of his newborn stage)
- The Portable bed-seat that came with the Graco Pack ‘N Play (Convenient because it had 2 legs that were tall enough to keep the seat off of the floor and easy to maneuver around the house)
- Baby Swing was another product where the seat could detach from the swing, and could be placed in any location on a floor.
A Safer Alternative If Baby Will Not Sleep
When You Put Them Down
BABY WEAR, baby wearing changed everything for me. There was so much flexibility in finishing my list of things to do without worrying about my baby’s safety.
The volume of the environment I was in didn’t matter to him either, I could listen to podcasts, talk on the phone, vacuum, go on a walk, wash clothes, and cook.
Babies are the most reliant on us to keep them safe. Their brains don’t sense noise in their sleep when we are holding them.
Babywearing can calm their nervous system in ways you can’t imagine. It mimics the womb from which they were just in and has the ability to secure attachment.
- Baby rests in his safe space CHECK
- Freedom to use both arms CHECK
- Got things done CHECK
These were my favorite baby carriers:
If You Continue To Catch Signs Of Restlessness: Check For These Possibilities
- A nice soothing bath following a relaxing massage and soft lullabies; a reset could do the trick.
- Sing to your baby/hum while holding them.
- Swaying back and forth with your baby in a corner without room distractions
- Change baby’s outfit
- If it’s been a little bit fussing with the baby check the diaper again, they easily wet the diaper after being very relaxed (Overnight Diapers are a good investment if you have one like mine who is very sensitive to a dirty diaper)
- Play for 10 minutes, sometimes they just want to be free and let their energy out in some form. If they are crawling let them sit on your lap while you read to them and if they leave and crawl, let them. Non-crawlers, read or show them Black and White Baby Cards or place a Mobile overhead, my baby loved this Lambs & Ivy one maybe because of the music lol. Get there brains stimulated a little and then go back to soothing them. Set a time-limit though, that’s very important.
- Check baby’s outfit make sure nothing is making them uncomfortable; is it too cold and they aren’t wearing enough layers? Is the temperature comfortable but wearing too many layers? Are there any tags bothering them?
- Acid reflux– Do they spit up a lot and haven’t after this feeding? As much as we don’t want to be someone’s burp cloth, if it’s routine, let the baby’s spit-up exit to ease the discomfort.
- Gas- Try to burp the baby one more time. If hiccups come up for longer than 5 minutes I suggest using Gripe Water, it’s natural and worked instantly on my baby (Ask the Pediatrician first)
- Overstimulation- Are there too many sounds, lights, or not enough sound to keep the baby asleep? Try to put the sound machine louder to clear out the other sounds. Or change the noise choice on the machine.
- Teething- My baby’s worse sleeping nights have been through fighting teething pains, I tried to use a Frozen Pacifier Teether and Organic Oral Relief Tablets which did as much as it could. All that truly helped was rocking him right side up. Laying them horizontally causes jaw pain during the teething phase.
- Sleep Regression!!??!!??!! Usually happens around 4 months, happened to my baby around 3… horrific. Read all of my research through this website, because all I could think was “What in the world is going on?”.
- Maybe your baby just doesn’t want to be alone! If you try to put them down and they continue to cry either ask for help (if you can) baby might need to be around someone’s new energy. Or if they are only calm in your arms, and you aren’t so tired have them sleep in your arms till their next feeding. I’m sure next round won’t be this bad. trust me after a nice cuddle session, they’ll feel much more safe and open!
If you have tried all of these tactics and it’s become impossible, try to go to your pediatrician to see if there are any internal reasons your baby is resisting.
If you feel there isn’t anything you could do further, go to the pediatrician. They should be able to help!
Good Luck Mama, don’t forget to add “it’s always hard before it gets easy” on your post it 🙂