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How to Get a Tired Baby to Sleep

by Eliza Martinez, studioD

You know your baby is tired, but he's fighting going to sleep. A baby can't soothe himself or calm down after being overstimulated, even if he's ready for a nap, according to the Secrets of Baby Behavior website, published by the University of California. Babies need plenty of sleep, up to 16 hours per day, for healthy growth and development. Some simple changes to your routine and some easy tricks can help you get your baby to sleep in no time.

Slow down your playtime together. This helps your baby wind down, but also limits stimulation so he doesn't get so excited that he can't fall asleep. Instead of playing with the toy that lights up and sings songs, look at a board book or let your baby explore a stuffed animal.

Create a routine. Newborns don't always sleep on a schedule, but starting a routine within the first few months can help your baby recognize when it's time to sleep. No set routine works for everyone, so try a few tactics to see what works best for your baby. For example, give your baby a warm bath, apply lotion and gently massage your baby's skin with it, nurse him or give him a bottle, then lay him in his bed and sing a song or read a book. Over time, he'll begin to expect bedtime at the end of the routine.

Put your baby to bed when he's drowsy, but not asleep. This helps him learn to go to sleep on his own. Rock your little one, but as soon as he starts to nod off, lay him down in his crib and let him finish the job by himself.

Turn on a white noise machine or fan in your baby's bedroom. These devices put out a consistent sound that can help soothe your baby so he can fall sleep. They also block out noise in the rest of the house and outside the windows. Turn it up just loud enough to keep noise at bay, but not so loud that it will interfere with his sleep.

Don't rush into your baby's bedroom every time you hear him move or fuss. This only serves to wake him up, which means you'll have to start the whole process again. Instead, let him be for several minutes. If he's still upset, go in and soothe him, but leave the lights off and don't pick him up or talk to him.

Items you will need
  •  White noise machine or fan

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images