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How to Put a Baby to Sleep: 4 Tips for New Parents

Updated on September 2, 2019
Photo Credit to Bastien Jaillot from Unsplash
Photo Credit to Bastien Jaillot from Unsplash | Source

How to Put a Baby to Sleep: 4 Tips for New Parents

Everybody loves the face of their newborn child. They can bring an abundance of joy and excitement in our lives, but putting the baby to sleep can be a large hurdle to jump for many parents. Whether you're getting your newborn to sleep by your side, teaching your newborn to sleep in their crib, training your baby to sleep in their own room, or encouraging your baby to develop a steady sleep schedule, putting a baby to sleep is a delicate process that involves a little knowledge and a lot of personal touch.

Rest assured, however, that in the process of leaning how to put your baby to sleep, you will gain rapport with your child. The newborn and baby stage is a very small window of time by which they are learning to fulfill their basic needs for survival. After a full-day of you feeding them, changing their diaper, playing with them and showing them off to your friends, your baby is ready for good long-rest. If you can make it easy for your child to shut their eyes, you can develop an immense sense of trust with your baby at a very early stage in their childhood development.

Unfortunately, although it sounds as simple as getting them to shut their eyes, the process of putting your baby to sleep requires that you have a close connection with your child. This means that you need to be able to put the baby to sleep when the baby needs to sleep, whether or not you want to be awake during that time. Newborns need a nap every few hours, and it is not until very close to when they become a toddler that they are able to match the sleep schedule of a fully-grown adult. Even then, they could still benefit from taking a nap or two to rest their young, developing bodies, and that requires the correct parenting skills.

How to Put a Baby to Sleep

Is your baby not sleeping? At the most fundamental level, there are a couple different things you can do if you are a beginning parent and you are not able to put your kid to sleep. If your baby is a newborn, then rocking your baby back and forth can be an excellent way to convince them to go to sleep. It makes them feel comfortable and safe to be in the arms of their parent. It also helps if you speak in a soft and soothing voice. Your newborn may not understand what it is that you are saying, but so long as you keep it soft and soothing, they will know that their parent is around and that they are in a safe place to close their eyes. Both of these are great ways to raise rapport with your child.

Understand Your Newborn's Sleep Schedule

While it is good to know how to put your baby to sleep at any particular moment, it is essential to understand the sleep schedule of newborns. Newborns have very small bodies and very small minds. They are able to absorb a lot of details about their environment, about themselves, and about you. However, all of this work is very wearing on a newborn baby. For the first couple of weeks, your newborn baby might only be able to stay up for an hour or two at a time. That's okay, it doesn't mean anything is wrong with your child, in fact it actually means that your newborn is healthy and is getting the rest they need to develop.

Understand Your Baby's Sleep Schedule

As your baby gets older, they will be able to stay up and sleep for longer periods of time. As their stamina develops, they will take fewer and fewer naps. It's important to work with your child all the way through until they can match your adult sleep schedule. Babies are very particular in their development process and sleep is very important to them. However, if you are available for your child and you are able to put them to sleep and wake them up in a manner that matches their stages of development, you will develop a closeness with your child that will last for the rest of your lives, and your child will be able to develop skills necessary for their overall well-being.

Find The Right Baby Sleep Solution

Learning how to put a baby sleep does involve sticking to a sleep schedule, but every time you put them to sleep, there are a couple things you can keep in mind to make the process easier. If you keep a couple of these tips in mind, not only will you be able to put your baby to sleep faster, you will be able to put them to sleep on a consistent basis. It's important to keep a variety of these methods in mind. As your baby develops, you may be required to switch around these methods and perhaps combine a few of them to find the best baby sleep solution for you.

1. Make Sure Your Baby Gets Proper Attention When They Are Awake

The simplest way to get a baby to go to sleep is to ensure that they are tired enough to do so. Luckily, it is not very hard to tire a baby out. It should go without saying that, if you have a newborn, you should take them with you everywhere. It's important that you pay attention to them a majority of the time that you are with them. This can be as simple as giving them a smile, or it can be as complicated as showing them different colors and pictures to see if you can get a reaction out of them. The quality time that you spend with your child will help you build a close relationship with your child and it will also help wear your child out so that, when it is time for them to sleep, they are ready to.

If your child is on the verge of being a toddler, you might not have time to be with them during all moments in the day. Your day job can get in the way of your child, and you might have to think about hiring a babysitter or sending your child to a day-care center. When you pick your babysitter, or when you decide which day-car center to leave your baby at, it will help you in the long run to understand how much they interact with the child.

If your babysitter simply watches movies and makes sure that your baby is fed and cleaned, your baby will have a lot of built up energy for you when you get home. When they see you, they will be much more awake than you are and putting them to sleep at that point could require time and effort that is very hard for you to summon. That's why it's important to look at reviews when you are hiring a babysitter, and be sure to line out a list of activities that they can do with your child. If your babysitter is very experienced, they may even have some suggestions of their own that you can do with your child in your time with them alone.

The same standards should be applied to finding a day-care center for your child. It's important to remember that day-care centers can handle a lot of children at the same time. There may be 10-20 children and only 2-3 people to supervise all of them. For this reason, it's important to make sure that your baby is getting the proper attention they need. It's a good idea to visit prospective day-care centers and see how they operate. Do they make sure to pay proper attention to each child? Is there a good balance between group activities and individual activities? Do they allow ample opportunity to each child to interact with one another? All of these small details are significant in you choosing the right day-care center. If you choose the right one, not only can your child develop life skills that will help in their childhood development, they will spend a lot of energy and be ready to have close to a full night's sleep once you pick them up and play with them yourself.

2. Make Sure Your Baby Gets Proper Mental Stimulation

Your newborn has a vastly developing little mind. Especially during the first the best way to put your baby to sleep is to ensure that they get proper mental stimulation during the day. While your baby is transitioning from a newborn to a toddler, they will develop a mental stamina. They will be able to stay awake and stay asleep for longer periods of time. Not only will developing your child's mental stamina leave them tired enough to go to sleep when it is time to, it will help them transition between a newborn sleep schedule and a baby sleep schedule.

There are many activities that you can do to mentally stimulate your child. Choosing the right one requires understanding what your baby is likely capable of during their particular stage in development, and what your baby responds to best as an individual. It's also important to pick the best type of mental stimulation for you, as every relationship is two-sided. If you hope to develop your relationship with your child, you must also be at least a little assertive and make sure that you can both enjoy the mental activities you take part in together.

Newborns don't take much mental stimulation to get them tired. It is beneficial to you if there are many people around your newborn. Allowing each person to interact with your child (under your comfortable level of supervision, of course) can help develop many mental capacities in your little one's brain. The ability to recognize faces is one of the most essential skills can learn, and it requires an ample amount of mental activity on their part. If you know someone who is very interactive with your child, this is a definite plus. Your child will learn to understand facial expressions and social interactions which activates many different parts of their developing mind. All of these mental activities with your newborn will both increase their childhood development of basic life skills and decrease the amount of time it requires to put your baby to sleep.

When your child grows into a toddler, it is a little bit harder to tire them out, but it can be a much more rewarding experience. Each time your baby learns a new word, forms a new sentence, and learns a new social interaction, you are able to grow much closer to them. One of the best things you can do with your toddler to increase their mental stimulation is to teach them language. It is a very complex skill that takes years to fully develop. The quicker your child learns how to speak, read, and write, the better off they will be in the long-run. It's also a good idea to include pictures with the words or sentences you show them, as language itself is a complex association between images, letters and sounds. It is a lot to learn, but daily practice with your child will increase their mental well-being, help you grow closer to your child, and wear your child out so they can go to sleep when they are scheduled to. It will also help them stay up for longer periods of time, and stay asleep for longer periods of time. The less times you have to put your baby to sleep, the less time you have to spend putting them to sleep each time.

3. Read Your Baby A Story

So your baby has received proper attention during the day and they have received adequate mental stimulation. They are certainly tired enough to go to sleep, but they just can't seem to get there. Actually learning how to put your baby to sleep is one of the most essential skills you need to get your child to match a newborn sleep schedule or a baby sleep schedule. Whether your baby is a newborn or getting close to becoming a toddler, one of the easiest ways to put them to sleep is to read them a bed-time-story.

Hearing your voice can be a very soothing thing to them. When your baby is a newborn, the world can be a very confusing place for them. As their parent, your voice carries along with it a sense of comfort and a sense of belonging with the world. When you read bed-time-stories to your child you are developing a certain level of trust with your child. You are teaching them that they are safe and that it is okay for them to close their eyes and get some rest. It's important, however to ensure that you finish each story. While your baby may seem to go to sleep half-way through the story, they may still be listening and it might startle them awake if you end it mid-story.

When your baby is a newborn, simple picture-books are the best, as they are still developing the skills necessary to recognize their visual surroundings. By reading them picture books, you are allowing them to interact with the story which stimulates them mentally and makes them tired quickly. When your child becomes closer to being a toddler, you can pick longer and longer stories. It's important to keep your child interacted with the words. If your child is learning to speak words or form sentences, allowing them to help read along with their story can help build their confidence and their trust in their relationship to you. If you can consistently read bed-time-stories to your child, you will help develop their mental capacities, help ease them to sleep, and help to develop a very close and lasting relationship with your child.

4. Create A Soothing Environment For Your Child To Sleep In

One of the most important steps in learning how to put your baby to sleep is learning how to make them feel comfortable in the surroundings they have to sleep in. This can be especially important when you are leaning them towards sleeping on their own, whether you are moving them from the bed to the crib or from the crib to their own bedroom. If you develop a safe and comforting environment for your child to sleep in, it will help them get to sleep much faster because they will associate that particular area with sleep. If putting them to sleep is often a good experience for them, then simply placing them in their sleeping environment can get them ready to close their eyes and rest.

Does Your Baby Need A Night-Light?

Every baby is different in what they require to feel safe and comfortable when they go to sleep, but most babies enjoy having pleasant lighting around them. This can be an especially important detail if you are teaching your child to sleep in their own room. It's important to ensure that the night-light is not too bright, as a bright light can keep your child awake at night and it could also hurt their vision. It's also a good idea to choose a light that will stimulate your child. If your child is interested in the lights around them, it can distract them from anything else that is going on in your house or in their mind and it can ease them to sleep peacefully.

Have You Tried Music?

Music, or any kind of ambient sound, can be a very good way to help your child fall asleep. White noise is a great one, as it is one of the most peaceful sounds in the universe and it often helps drown out any sounds that may be bothering them outside of their sleeping area. If you're not a fan of hearing white noise, simple meditation music can do the trick as well. Introducing comforting and soothing sounds around your child can help them feel at ease and encourage them to close their eyes. If you can find music that plays on a loop, which means that the same track repeats over and over, this can help make them feel comforted and ease them to sleep. It can also develop a sense of trust between your child and the music. If your child successfully falls each time they hear a particular song, they will associate that song with sleep and each time you play it, they will fall asleep faster.

Is Your House Quiet?

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when putting your baby to sleep is whether they have a distraction-free environment to sleep in. This might sound like common-sense, but in the beginning stages of raising your new-born, they may need to sleep once every two hours or so. It's important to plan ahead and make sure that when it is time for your child to fall asleep, they have a quiet and distraction-free environment to sleep in. If you allow your child to sleep in a noisy environment, you may introduce a connection to them between a loud environment and sleep. They might not be able to go to sleep in the future without a lot of auditory stimulation. On the other hand, if you make sure that your child has a distraction-free environment each time you put them to sleep, they will develop an association between quiet and sleep. It will be much easier to put them to sleep each time in the future.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to put your baby to sleep involves making sure that your baby follows a newborn sleep schedule and a baby sleep schedule. Understanding baby sleep patterns is the most essential step to putting your baby to sleep. The next step is ensuring that they receive proper attention and mental stimulation during the day, which will both raise their stamina to stay awake longer and sleep longer and increase their mental capacity. The final step is using a few tricks like reading them a book or ensuring that their sleep environment is comfortable.

It can be a bit of a challenge, but once you find the right baby sleep solution that works for you, you will develop a close relationship with your child and you will have an easier time putting them to sleep.

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    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      7 months ago from North Carolina

      Great tips! All very true. Thank you for sharing!

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