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How To Get Your Baby To Sleep In Under Ten Minutes

Updated on June 14, 2011

Sleep tips for babies

Babies are funny creatures – when they are tired, they do not naturally fall asleep, even if their surroundings are comfortable. Instead, they will thrash about, rub their eyes, pull their own hair or scratch their face, and cry. And cry, and cry, and cry. It may seem like they can't possibly be tired, they must be in pain, or hungry, or need a nappy (diaper) change, and it seems like whatever you try, your baby can just not fall asleep and they become more and more restless and frustrated the longer it takes.

There are a few methods of encouraging a baby to drop off to sleep, and these have varying success rates depending on the age of your baby, and on their personality – some babies enjoy being rocked, some hate it, other babies like to be left alone whilst some feel scared or alone. The most likely methods are:

Have a good bedtime routine for your baby

This method involves performing the same actions in the same order, and at the same time each day, until your baby learns what is happening. An example of a bedtime routine is:

6pm – last bottle of milk of the day

6.30pm – play on a playmat with some age-appropriate toys

7pm – bathtime with lavender bubble bath or a little lavender oil in the bathtub

7.15pm – dry your baby, give him or her cuddles, followed by storytime

7.30pm – bedtime

It is important that the routine is performed exactly the same each evening, so it wouldn't be suitable for a family that is not always at home at the same time each evening. Of course, there can be the odd exception, but generally the routine should stay the same.

White noise

Up until a baby is around ten to twelve weeks of age, they will quieten and possibly even fall asleep when they hear white noise. This occurs naturally in the home – place your baby's bassinet or moses basket in front of the washing machine whilst its running, or let your baby listen to the vacuum cleaner going. A hair drier also works well. Of course, you can't run these appliances for hours on end, which is why you can find this white noise on a CD.

Use a cot mobile or music toy

You can get bedtime lullaby toys that light up and play songs, lullabies or sounds such as sea sounds, and last around five minutes. It may seem like a gimmick but babies do actually respond to lullabies and these toys are timed in a way so as to encourage your baby to fall asleep before the end or to be sufficiently contented enough to do so shortly afterwards.

Some of the best are the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse and the Playskool Lullaby Glow Worm and these are available in boy and girl colours.

Play lullabies or music

Like with the musical toy, babies also respond to ordinary lullabies or music, and you can find a wide range of baby CDs on the market with some aimed especially at encouraging your baby to sleep.

Singing to your baby

If your baby is crying because he or she is exhausted and needs to sleep, it might seem like the last thing you would want to do, but singing your own lullabies or nursery rhymes, or any songs, will comfort your baby.


Whether you rock your baby in your arms or bounce their bouncy chair or push them in a pram, the motion may help your baby to fall asleep. The downside to this is that as soon as you stop, perhaps to put them into their cots, they might awaken. But if all else fails, this might be worth a try.

Lavender oil

Some people swear by a drop of lavender oil in the bath before bedtime or on the side of the mattress. Make sure if you use real lavender oil that none of it actually touches your baby's skin.

Pacifies or dummies

These are loved or hated by parents all around the world, so it's probably not a good idea to recommend them but just to say that they are the decision of the individual parents. If you do use pacifiers, your baby will want to have it every night and they will often become attached to the same one, so if it becomes lost, your baby will be inconsolable. For some parents, they aren't worth the hassle, for others they are a godsend.

A muslin or taggy

Babies like the feeling and the comfort of having something close to their face when they are settling down to go to sleep. A muslin is a good choice, as it is breathable, but sometimes babies pull these tightly over their noses and mouths so their use must be monitored. Taggy toys offer the same comfort but with less of a risk of suffocation. It is not a good idea to allow babies to pull blankets over their faces, due to the weight of them.

It might seem like it won't ever happen, but eventually all babies learn to go to sleep by themselves, so if your baby seems to struggle now, take comfort in the fact that it's not forever.


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    • raeyecarlos profile image

      Mary Grace 

      9 years ago

      Useful. :) I'll try some of your tips.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Very helpful hub. I know singing helps for my little grandbaby. Voted up and useful.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Excellent Hub. Every Mum needs to read.

    • Sun-Girl profile image


      9 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice and very useful tips you actually shared in here which i learn from and strongly believe that i will make use of it in future.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, I remember it well! lol the washing machine or hoover was definitely great to get my son to sleep, and these other ideas are really good too, cheers nell

    • Kate Spenser profile image

      Kate Spenser 

      9 years ago from Austin, TX

      This is a great hub - I've nannied for several "problem sleepers" and I've tried most of these techniques, though I've never heard of using lavender oil before - maybe it's less common in the U.S. I think new parents will find this article very informative! Voted up/useful.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This hub is truly helpful. I have 3-week old baby (our first) and sleeping time is really challenging.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Excellent advice. I'm going to try this out on my baby newphew. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • T.Campos profile image


      9 years ago

      Kissing the baby between the eyes while you rock them is also VERY helpful. It encourages them to close their eyes. Worked on my nephew EVERY time :).

    • ajc_80 profile image


      9 years ago from Northwest Ohio

      Thorough hub! I like how you noted how different babies are. As a new mom, I get frustrated when people point to one specific method and act like that should definitely work for my daughter. Let me tell you, very little does. I would add to the list nursing to sleep, if you are a breastfeeding mom. That is working for us right now, she won't take a paci. However, some people do advise against nursing to sleep. I'm willing to take that risk right now!


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