How to Get a Newborn to Fall Asleep

Babies under three months are supposed to sleep up to 16 hours a day. Apparently yours didn’t get the memo! Here’s how to help him find his way to La-La Land.

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Whether you're having your first kid or your fifth, there's some parenting news you can use in this Howcast video series, including how to lose the baby weight; how to reignite your sex life; how to calm a crying baby; how to get a newborn to sleep; how to find a good babysitter; how to be a stay-at-home dad; and much more.

You Will Need

  • A bassinet or crib
  • A receiving blanket
  • A rocking chair or glider
  • Your most soothing singing voice
  • A large exercise ball
  • A blanket sleeper
  • A white noise machine or electric fan
  • A pacifier

Steps

  1. To greatly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), always, without exception, put your baby to sleep on his back.

  2. Step 1

    Make baby comfy

    Make sure your baby is comfortable: His tummy should be full and his diaper should be clean and dry.

  3. It’s okay to allow a very new baby to fall asleep while nursing or taking a bottle, but don’t let it become a crutch. You’ll regret it when he’s older and will only go to sleep while being fed.

  4. Step 2

    Swaddle

    Swaddle your baby. He’ll feel as cozy as if he’s still in the womb, and hopefully relaxed enough to drift off to sleep.

  5. Step 3

    Make temperature adjustments

    Make sure your baby is neither cold nor hot. If you think he might be cold, don’t add blankets—loose covers are a suffocation hazard. A blanket sleeper with an extra t-shirt underneath should keep your baby cozy.

  6. Step 4

    Get moving

    Get moving. Your baby is used to being rocked, swayed, and walked in Mom’s belly, so that’s often what he needs to enter Dreamland.

  7. Just can’t do another lap around the living room with Junior? Try sitting on an exercise ball and bouncing gently. This lulls many babies to sleep.

  8. Step 5

    Sing

    Sing—anything, as long as it’s gentle and lyrical. It doesn’t matter if it’s off-key. Your baby loves your voice no matter what. It doesn’t even matter if it’s made-up nonsense.

  9. Step 6

    Add some racket

    Add a little racket. The drone of a fan or white noise machine has been known to help babies fall asleep.

  10. Don’t let an infant cry himself to sleep. Even if you could stomach the heart-wrenching sobs, this tactic will only undermine your baby’s trust in your ability to comfort him.

  11. Step 7

    Wait with him

    Put your baby down when he’s drowsy, but not yet asleep; you can stay with him until he conks out. He’ll learn to drift off by himself, even when he wakes up in the night—meaning more ZZZs for you.

  12. Fetuses mostly snooze during the day, when Mom is moving around, because the motion rocks them to sleep.

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