Are you exhausted and really need help with how to get your baby to sleep longer stretches at night?
When you have a newborn, you know you are going to be sleeping less, especially during the first days.
Your baby wakes up frequently to feed, and you are still adjusting to this new life of being a mom.
However, after the newborn stage, your baby should start to sleep a bit longer, building up to sleeping through the night.
So what if your baby just won’t sleep?
You try to keep them awake during the day so they can be tired, or keep them up until late so they can sleep longer, but nothing is happening.
Your baby still wakes up a few times during the night.
What exactly should you do?
In this post, I shares with you exactly how I managed to get my second baby to sleep longer at night, by 3 months old.
With our first born, I struggled a lot with night waking and mostly with actually getting them to sleep.
So with our second baby, I followed the exact tips on this post and our little one started sleeping through the night.
Keep reading if you need help to finally get your baby to sleep longer at night so you can also get some rest.
Tips To Get Your Baby To Sleep Longer Stretches At Night
These are the exact things I did to get my baby to sleep longer at night by 3 months.
Do these and your baby will definitely add a few hours to their sleep.
Eliminate All The Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep
Before you put in all the effort to get your baby to sleep longer, make sure there is nothing keeping your baby from falling asleep.
Make sure the diaper is dry. If your baby sleeps with a wet diaper, they will wake up much earlier.
Keep noise levels down, especially if your baby is a light sleeper.
Make sure your baby is comfortable and not feeling too hot or too cold.
If your little one is uncomfortable, they will get irritated and this will definitely ruin their sleep.
Once you have removed everything that keeps them from sleeping, use the next tips to get your baby to sleep for longer periods.
Create A Bedtime Routine
You will find this in almost every guide you read when you look for ways to get your baby to sleep longer.
It may sound overused but it really is important.
We know babies strive with routine.
Having a bedtime routine creates familiarity for your baby. Since they know what happens next, they will get used to falling asleep when it is time to sleep.
Now, I always say a bedtime routine doesn’t have to be complicated or include things you don’t necessarily have time for.
You don’t even have to have strict time limits if they do not work for you. Use time frames so you also don’t pressurize yourself.
My baby’s bedtime routine looks like this:
3pm – 4pm: Feed (Milk)
5pm – 6pm: Bath time
6pm – 7pm: Feed (Milk)
7pm – 8pm: spending quality time
8pm – 9pm: change diaper, dim the lights, feed, bedtime
On days when I don’t bathe my baby, that time is used for quiet play or free play.
Quality time includes singing for your baby, reading bedtime stories, massage, etc.
Sometimes we start the routine late, but what matters is that we both know what is next.
Even if we start the routine at 6pm instead of 3pm, after changing the diaper and dimming the lights, they know it is time to sleep.
Set A Time For Bedtime
Setting a time to sleep everyday will make your baby feel sleepy around the same time.
It also helps with setting a bedtime routine as it gives you a time to work towards.
Consistency is key for your baby to know to what comes next.
Be consistent with the time to sleep and get your baby used to sleeping at a specific time.
After a while, your little one will ease comfortably into sleep mode around the same time.
Feed Your Baby Before Bed
One of the most common reasons babies wake up early is hunger.
I remember when I struggled to get our first baby to sleep through the night, the doctor always asked me if they ate enough before sleeping.
Feed your little one throughout the day and make sure they have drank enough milk (or eaten enough food).
Include the last feed in the bedtime routine to ensure your baby does not get to sleep on an empty stomach.
I know this works because I tried it consistently and our second baby started sleeping through the night by 3 months old.
Dim The Lights
Bright lights ruin sleep, period.
They mimic daylight and can completely wake your baby should they wake up briefly during the night.
Get a nursery night light for night feeds and diaper changes.
Dimmed lights keep your baby in sleep mode if they wake up to feed during the night.
Create A Relaxed Environment
Set the mood for bedtime.
Reduce noise, lower your voice and get your to calm down.
Remove toys that can get your baby excited and keep them from falling asleep.
This Babelio White Noise Machine comes with a night light so you don’t need a separate night light.
Give your baby a warm bath. It will tire them out.
Give your baby a relaxing massage. Who does not love a massage? Great for getting a baby into relaxed mode and making falling asleep so easy!
Cuddle your baby but put them down as soon as they are sleepy.
Take Your Time And Relax
Be patient when putting your baby to sleep.
For your baby to sleep comfortably, you need them to be relaxed.
When you are impatient, you get restless and in turn, your baby becomes restless and anxious. Feeling like this can make your baby struggle to sleep and set them up for a restless night.
Take your time when putting your baby to sleep. They will fall asleep eventually so help them sleep sooner and relax.
Get Rid Of Sleep Props
Getting your baby used to sleeping with familiar objects makes it difficult for them to fall asleep if the object is not there.
For instance, if you usually nurse your baby to sleep, they will take very long to fall asleep without nursing.
If your baby wakes up briefly at night, they will need to nurse to fall asleep again, even if they nurse for 2 minutes.
Rocking your baby to sleep is also a common but unwise move. Your baby will want to sleep in your arms with the same rocking motion everyday.
Get your little used to sleeping naturally, you will thank yourself later.
Try Co-sleeping With Your Baby
If your baby struggles to sleep for long without you being close, co-sleeping will help.
Instead of sleeping with your baby in your big bed with your big blankets, rather use a co-sleeper to keep your baby safe while sleeping.
Having you close calms and relaxes your baby, especially if your baby struggles to sleep without being held. The feeling of having you close will help them feel comfortable and at ease.
Make Sure Your Baby Sleeps Enough
One thing I find weird about baby sleep is how difficult it is for a baby to fall asleep when they don’t rest enough.
Surely if they miss a nap then they should be more tired to sleep at night, right?
Your baby will be tired, yes, but they will also be irritable because of missing out on some sleep.
Just think about how it feels when you don’t sleep enough for 3 consecutive days.
How much sleep does a baby need?
Starting from 0 to 1 month, your baby sleeps a total of 16 hours per day, sleeping for 2-3 hours and waking up to feed. From 1 to 3 months this reduces to 15 hours. From 6 months to 1 year, your baby should be sleeping for 14 hours per day, 10 – 11 hours of those being at night (Source).
Space Out Naps
Don’t have your baby’s nap times too close to one another. Even more so when they are close to bedtime (or in the afternoon).
Naps that are close to one another tend to be shorter.
Limit Daytime Naps
While ensuring your baby sleeps enough at night and naps throughout the day, don’t let your baby sleep too much during the day.
If your little one naps a lot during the day and still sleeps longer at night, there is nothing to worry about.
However, if your baby does not sleep for long at night but naps a lot during the day, it is time to switch things up.
Here is what you can do.
Start by avoiding napping in the late afternoon and encourage naps in the morning and midday or early afternoon.
At the beginning your baby might get irritated and not fall asleep easily at night, especially if they are used to their afternoon naps.
As time goes on, they will naturally fall asleep during those morning and midday naps and get used to sleeping at night.
As long as you are following the tips on this post.
Get Your Baby Tired
Engage your baby with activities throughout the day. At the end of the day, your baby will be tired, even if they had daytime naps.
Get your baby into an activity gym with soft balls, give them rattles, objects to bang against each other, and encourage them to be active.
Just make sure the toys you choose are age appropriate and safe for your little one.
Don’t Rush To Pick Your Baby Up When They Wake Up
In some instances, your baby will wake up briefly, maybe cry a little, just because. After this they go right back to sleep.
It actually just happened now as I am busy writing this post.
For this reason, you want to wait a few minutes when you hear your baby is awake before taking them and checking the diaper, feeding, etc.
They might just fall asleep again for another hour or two.
By All Means, Don’t Disturb Your Sleeping Baby
Don’t make noise when checking on your baby. Try to be as quiet as possible, especially if your baby is a light sleeper.
Waking your baby feed at night is a no-no.
You can wake your baby up for the first two weeks after birth so they can feed, but after that your baby will be used to waking themselves up if they are hungry.
Waking your baby up disrupts their sleep, leaves them tired and this results in your baby being irritable.
Don’t change your baby’s diaper unless it is very full or soiled. A slightly wet diaper will honestly not make your baby so uncomfortable that they wake up.
If there are some things you need to do while your baby sleeps (of course there are), see if you can do them when you don’t really need your little one to sleep for long.
As you can see, trying to get your baby to sleep longer at night can be as simple as taking the above simple steps.
There is nothing complicated and you don’t need to move mountains. Just be consistent and your baby will start sleeping longer stretches at night.