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As a first time parent, I remember always feeling like I knew NOTHING about baby sleep! I’d be up all night googling ‘how to get your baby to sleep all night long’, come to find out it wasn’t even developmentally appropriate at the time!
This is why I wanted to make this post! I want this post to answer all those questions your poor brain is overflowing with. You know the ones you’re desperately googling at 3 am (like I did) because you’re just so damn tired!
Which, that reminds me! If you want to know how YOU can get more sleep, I have a post dedicated to how new moms can get more sleep!
So let’s break down what these baby sleep tips for infant and toddler will entail:
- When does baby sleep through the night?
- How to develop a routine to help baby sleep through the night.
- When to start sleep training a baby.
- When to move baby to their own room.
- Baby sleep products to help your baby sleep through the night.
I am not a doctor or a sleep therapist. These opinions and tips are solely my own and things I have experienced with my own son.
How to get your baby to sleep all night long
We’re going to talk about topics and practical tips you can use for your baby and young toddlers.
One point I will mention really quickly is to make sure you have an AMAZING baby swaddle or sleep bag (depending on the age of your little one!)
Lastly, if you ever feel like your little one is struggling to sleep or being effected medically, please contact your pediatrician.
When does baby sleep through the night?
This is probably going to be the most important tip throughout this post.
MOST babies don’t start sleeping through the night until they’re at least 16 weeks old.
There, I said it. Most babies are not developmentally ready to sleep through the night until they’re at least 16 weeks old.
Well…you might be wondering, why not?
It isn’t until your baby reaches 9-12 weeks old when their melatonin production increases. This is when their bodies will begin to secrete it more regularly on its own. And as you can imagine, this will lead to a higher sleep drive!
Another point to keep in mind is while all these major sleep developments are happening, your baby is transitioning into a more mature cycle of sleeping. These cycles are known as the REM & NREM sleep cycles.
Fun Fact! White-noise machines help to create a womb-like environment for babies, making them feel safe & very comfortable – leading to better sleep! Our FAVORITE white noise machine is the HATCH Baby White Noise Machine.
How to develop a routine to help baby sleep through the night.
Developing a sleep routine for your little one can be tricky. I found, that the key to having a successful sleep routine was to be consistent with the TIMES we would put him down.
Some people will recommend using the ‘wake window’ strategy which also can work, but it didn’t work the greatest for us after the 3-month mark.
I was, however, mindful of the wake windows and used them as a guide to finding the times we would use for naps and bedtime, but I didn’t rely on them (after 3 months).
This is because sometimes our little guy would sleep 30 mins and other times he’d sleep for 2 hours! Keeping the time he went down consistent really helped to at least guarantee he’d take some kind of nap at the same time each day.
How do I develop a bedtime routine for my baby?
Believe it or not, developing a bedtime routine for your baby doesn’t need to be complicated. If you follow these tips below, you’ll be well on your way to a solid bedtime routine:
- Keep it short, keep it sweet. Our bedtime routine in total is about 30 minutes (or less on some days). This includes any final feedings and storybook time.
- Keep your baby calm & awake during the final feeding. If your little one is nursing before bed, make sure they aren’t dozing off. One way to do this is by feeding in a light, not too quiet room. For us, we would do our final feeding in the bedroom with the curtains open letting the light in. My husband would also be in the room while we’d carry on small talk.
- Put baby to bed while they’re calm. Very rarely would our son get agitated, fussy or just get a burst of energy out of nowhere. If he did, we’d help him get back into a calm state before placing him down. I found this was key to him being able to fall asleep effortlessly. It also helped him learn how to independently self soothe!
When to start sleep training a baby.
Going back to the very first point in this post, it would be most ideal to start sleep training once your baby is developmentally ready.
This would be around that 16-week mark. There’s no point in doing something your baby can’t comprehend. Something that will only lead to frustration for both you and baby.
However, you CAN start to develop some habits that promote sleep!
- Keep baby’s room (or your room if room sharing) dark!
- Use a white noise machine to create a soothing & safe sleep environment.
- Keep bedtime consistent each night.
- Use a high-quality swaddle or sleep bag (depending on what stage your baby is at).
- Make sure your little one is eating enough throughout the day.
- Have enough stimulating and activities planned so your baby builds up their sleep tank but doesn’t become OVERLY stimulated.
When to move baby to their own room.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends a minimum of 6-month room sharing, ideally up to 1 year. This is strictly room sharing, not bed-sharing.
However, 1 year is a long time. I get it. You have to do what you feel is best for YOU and YOUR BABY!
We moved our little guy into his own room around the 4.5-month mark. It was SO nerve-wracking!
Like literally, the first night, I laid awake watching the monitor the entire time. Talk about crazy, but I was worried. It felt so weird not having him so close. Yet, it was refreshing to just binge watch Netflix and have normal conversations with my husband again.
When you do end up making the big move, just be sure to have a reliable baby monitor! We absolutely LOVE our baby monitor – it has great picture quality and sound quality. We’re going on 14 months with no issues, so I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Baby sleep products to help your baby sleep through the night.
Above we talked about some ways to develop solid sleep habits to promote sleep for your little one. These are the products we’ve used that have made ALL the difference in ensuring a solid sleep routine for our little guy!
- Blackout portable curtains. Portable curtains you can take ANYWHERE to keep a dark room.
- Woolino Sleep Sack. You can read all about the Woolino Sleep Sack and why it’s my personal favorite for my son!
- White Noise Machine. You all know we love our Marpac. It’s simple, portable & reliable.
- Love To Dream Swaddle. It’s a zip swaddle that will make your life easier in that sense alone. It also allows for baby’s arms to stay UP & in place during sleep, promoting self-soothing!
- Snuggle Me Organic. The snuggle me lounger is AMAZING if you are a busy mama like I am. You can lug it all over the house and place your baby to sleep at any time if needed. This saved us during SO many nap times on those hectic days!