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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.

Instructions

  • : To greatly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), always, without exception, put your baby to sleep on his back.
  • Step 1: Make baby comfy Make sure your baby is comfortable: His tummy should be full and his diaper should be clean and dry.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • FACT: Fetuses mostly snooze during the day, when Mom is moving around, because the motion rocks them to sleep.

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

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