Your best tips for getting baby to sleep at night

Every mom has been there at some point: your baby just won't sleep at night time. During the day, no problem! But baby turns into a night owl and you don't know what to do. So, moms who've been there, what are your best ideas for helping to encourage your baby to be a little less nocturnal?

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8  Answers

1 1

Routine, routine, routine!!!
!) Have them up at a decent hour, same time every morning;
2) Babies and toddlers should have a curriculum for several sessions 15 minutes at a time;
3) Let them run!!! This will get them ready to nap. They will collapse when you lay them down;
4) Keep their naps within 1.5 hours, same time every day and wake them if you must;
3) Keep their bedtime at the same time every night and develop a "countdown".

My "countdown" routine:
This routine is extremely important at night time. I call it countdown, because that's exactly what it is! It begins at 6:00 p.m and ends at 7:30 p.m. They have had they're dinner, and no more fluids except a small amount of water if they're really thirsty. When you see this time as "countdown" you tend to have more endurance to handle your children with patience. During this time, I make a point of having a conversation about their day. Each child (I have four) gets 5 minutes each no matter how long or short their answers may be. Watch the clock because it's very easy to rush through this part. This encourages the not-so-wordy child to give more details, as well as the extremely detailed child (we all have one of those lol) to take turns. They have to share one good thing that happened today, and one bad thing. We praise the good thing and make a discussion about what could have happened different about the bad thing. It's good for children to understand that adults make mistakes too and teach them how to forgive and move forward. We discuss our schedule for tomorrow and each child (Mommy's Helper for the day) gets a turn on different nights to pick an event that they want to do during the "countdown". I must add that we make a point of eliminating the t.v. during this time, as it only distracts the kids from focusing. At 7:00 p.m. it's clean up time. All of them pitch in to restore neatness in the house and then it's story time (they take turns picking the book and all have to hear no matter how detailed or simple it is). Once the story/chapter is over, the kids give their input on what they would do or if it's a chapter book, what they think will happen next. This is so invaluable as it helps them to work together as a team (no arguing allowed and respecting opinions are the rules) as well as allow the younger children to hear the older ones express themselves and learn from them. Mommy's Helper puts the book away while the others get undressed for their bath. I make a point of no, absolutely NO, playing during bath time as this is how I wind them down, and keep low lighting (night lights are great and calming). Many parents play with their kids and want them to have fun during bath time, but we do the opposite, fun leading up to bath time. After the bath they go straight to bed and wait for all to be finished so that we can pray together. Last thing is the stereo plays a cd (classical is really good for brain development and relaxing and gives them an appreciation for different genres). At the end of the prayer we kiss them goodnight, say we love them and can't wait to see them in the morning. Any requests during bed time routine has to wait until tomorrow, no exceptions! I've found that kids figure out ways to manipulate you. Once they've found a strategy that works, they all follow and you become frustrated. Always end the day on a good note so that the children learn how to wake up happy and not groggy or mad.

So again, the best tip I can give for getting your baby to sleep at night is to have a routine that you stick to, and they can look forward to. Keep them involved with the decisions during the "countdown" so that they don't feel forced or obligated to participate, but rather a willing participant. And whatever you do, don't let your child manipulate any routine you establish. Tell them you will discuss it tomorrow and make sure you do it or they won't trust that statement. My children have never, ever fought my husband or I on this as we instilled this as babies. It's all they know, and they will certainly thank you in the end! :)

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1 1

I also want to add that Friday nights are Family Nights and usually involves a movie. So we let the children help with the snacks and each takes a turn choosing a movie. We are flexible on Fridays only, because Saturdays we are getting ready for church the next day. And on holidays (no school the next day) we make a point of having lots of fun that day as well.. :)

3 10

I agree that having a routine works. In the first 2 months, my daughter is sleeping on its usual time - sleeps at day and wakes up by night. But when she turned 3 mos, she started to sleep the whole night long so it's really a pleasant period for us. And when she turned 6 mos, that started bothering us again because she won't sleep at the usual time. At that time, we just stay in the living room after dinner waiting for her to be sleepy so we ended up feeling sleepy first before she does. Until then, we decided not to let her stay in the living room anymore after dinner. We made a routine that after dinner, we will be bathing or washing her up and then turn off the lights after. SO far it has worked and my baby can now sleep at about 7-8pm at night and stays that way until 6am the next day. :) She just turned 1 yr old by the way last month.

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3 6

My doctor said to have a routine and no matter how much they cry don't go in and get them, they will get use to going to bed at bedtime. At first my daughter cried for a hour, but the time lessened and now she only cry's for maybe 2 minutes. This was hard, hearing her cry and doing nothing about it, but it honestly needed to be done.

My routine is changing her pj's, then I take her into her room, sit at her rocker and read her two books, then put her to bed.

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1 29

Oh no !! You should've read the research on controlled crying before you applied such a non instictive behavior ... That horrible feeling you had was your instinct telling you to listen to your child ... There is NO positive research saying you should ignore a crying baby ... It affects the basic need to cry out ... Basically they've learnt not to ask for help .. They rely on you for comfort and TRUST .. Imagine how awful it would be if you couldn't do anything for yourself and the one person you relied on to help ignored you. I know it was advice you e Were given by a doctor but god gave us instincts and gut feeling for a reason .. We should use them ... I feel bad that you were given such disempowering advice :(

24 19

My son is 8 months and I can tell sometime that his cries are just out of manipulation or habit. I put him to bed (after I'm sure all his needs have been met). I lay him in his bed tell him good night and slowly walk from his room. I've noticed several times he will cry out just for several seconds (like a complaint) then he gets tired and rolls to the side and soothes himself. He is learning that even though it's nice to be rocked/nursed to sleep he is fine falling asleep himself. Now if he starts crying when I put him down and it starts escalating into a fit, I hold out for just a minute and then go get him (he usually has an air bubble and after burping he may want to nurse a little more). Then I put him to bed again. I think a mother knows when her child really needs her and when they will benefit from a little taste of independence. Sometimes our reaction to our child's cry (by getting flustered and worried just makes them feel less secure and needy). I also allow my son a chance to calm himself in the middle of the night when he cries out. Sometimes they are just startled and mommy coming in to rescue them gets them all worked up.

3 6

Hayley, my daughter is still a loving baby, she holds me and wakes up laying in my arms knowing I still love her. She just knows that im not going to give into her. At 1 year old you can actually spoil your children. And if you want them to learn to sleep in a bed when they are 2 and can climb out of the crib, you have to teach them to go to bed at bedtime and not give in. Otherwise they will just keep getting out of thier toddler bed. I believe I made the best decision for my hyper but loving daughter.

3 6

And this is only meant for children over 1 yearold, this is when they are aware that crying gets them what they want. Before 1 yearold they dont understand and need your comfort.

0 6

I did the same method as sunny young. Advice from her doctor as well. My daughter was just crying to get attention and cause it was in her routine because it would be the same time every single night. At 3:15 ish every morning. Parents have to asses their situation and individualized care. I believe this method works great I would like her cry about 5 mins at first then I would pat her back but NEVER pick her up. Each time i left a added an extra minute on before I would return. And I did research a little. But if I research everything instead of ur gut or dr opinion you will go crazy. One day u shouldn't do this next day it's something else. People over read into things and make things worse. I believe unless it's proven harmful which it hasn't then it is at the discretion of the parent.

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2,093 0

Keep the lights off and the room dark if it's a time of night that you want your baby to be asleep. Feeding, diaper changing, rocking, quiet singing, whatever you have to do to get them back to sleep should happen in the dark (or in very, very dim light).

I don't believe in cry it out, or rigid routines. A routine is fine, but I watched the baby more than I watched the clock. Some days baby was rubbing their eyes and acting tired at 8:15pm, other times it was closer to 8:30pm.

Be wary of limiting sleep during the day to make babies sleep better at night. For some children, being overtired can cause incredibly disrupted sleep, or it can make it extra hard to settle at bedtime.

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28 7

I breast feed and then rock her to sleep in my arms. She, being just 7 months old, is a bit heavy for this.....but this is what she is used to....usually it does'nt take too long FORTUNATELY........

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24 19

With our oldest she soon became a night owl (around 2 months) and we often couldn't get her to sleep til after 10 or even midnight. Then we realized we were trying to put her to bed just when mommy and daddy were finally focusing all of our attention on her (trying to get her to go to sleep). We realized that we needed to focus on our time with her just after dinner. We played and interacted, talked, made faces, and generally wore her out before 7:30 and then we started the bedtime routine. It's best to get your kids fed up with all of your attention before putting them down or else they are still trying to get it long after you attempt putting them to bed. After the kids are down is when you can finally relax at the end of the day and spend quality time with your spouse.

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2 0

Thats a night owl lol! My daughter even from that young would not sleep until well after 1am. Even to this day she goes to sleep about 3am-4am. Drives me crazy. I have tried everything and nothing works. It is driving me crazy!

24 19

Wow, That is insane. Does she have a pretty normal routine during the day? I would try not feeding her after 7:30 or 8 and waking her up first thing in the morning. I'd also try a few days without letting her nap much. How old is she now?

0 0

I need to know a routine i can put my son on, coz he also sleeps well after 2am. he is 7weeks.

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10 12

Keep them up as much as possible during the day with bussling activities between naps. No chemical stimulants such as sweets etc, no environmental stimulants such as loud noises or bright lights about 2 hours before bed. If necessary, use calming music, smells like lavendar, speak slowly.. etc. If baby insists on you staying in the room, stay, but turn your back and don't make eye contact. Don't engage with them.

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1,372 31

My 3 havent ever really had a problem with this. They each have had maybe a night or two where they just dont want to sleep at night, but I just toughed out one REALLY hard day with each of them by keeping them awake as much as I could during the day. Yes the crying and whining and wanting to be held all day drove me crazy, but that night they were ready for bed and even had an early bedtime.

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