In today’s post we’ll talk about tips to help baby sleep through the night and how to get baby to take longer naps.
Getting your baby to sleep through the night and take longer naps is always a top priority for parents.
We were very lucky when we brought Hailee home. She slept 3-5 hour stretches at night in her bassinet for the first three months.
Everything was going great until the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. I cracked under the sleep deprivation and started bringing her into bed with me and nursing her to sleep.
Now that she’s 7 months old I’m committing to sleep training her and getting her back in her crib. I’m happy to report so far so good!
Last night she cried for a while and I had to come comfort her a few times. She didn’t end up falling asleep until 10pm but slept until 7am! 🤗
I don’t want to say we’re out of the woods yet but these sleep tips are definitely working!
If you’ve spent months getting up with your baby every 2 to 3 hours then I know both of you a ready for 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep.
The tips in this post are tried and true baby sleep hacks to help you help your baby to sleep through the night and take longer naps during the day.
How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
In a 24 hour period your baby should be sleeping:
0-3 month olds: 14-17 hours
4-12 month olds: 12-15 hours
How Many Hours Should Baby Sleep At Night?
All babies are different and some babies will vary from night to night but you should expect to fall between this range.
0-3 month olds: 8-12 hours
4-11 month olds: 8-12 hours
How Many Naps Does Baby Needs?
Again all babies are different.
Some are born great sleepers while others are not.
Some days Hailee will take two long naps and other days she’ll take three short naps. On really rare bad days she’ll take four micro 15-20 minute naps.
0-3 month olds: 3-5 naps
3-6 month olds: 3-4 naps
6-9 month olds: 2-3 naps
9-12 month olds: 1-2 naps
How Long Should Baby Nap?
The length of newborn naps vary greatly but as baby gets older they should start to become more consistent. Just know these are averages.
Some babies sleep more while others unfortunately sleep less.
0-3 month olds: 15 min – 4 hours
3-9 month olds: 30 min – 3 hours
9-12 month olds: 45 min – 3 hours
How Long Should Baby Be Awake?
Knowing how long your baby should stay awake between naps is crucial to helping them sleep longer.
If you try to put your baby to sleep too soon they won’t be tired and if you wait too long they may be overtired and have trouble falling asleep as well.
0-6 weeks old: 30 – 90 minutes
6-12 weeks old: 60 – 90 minutes
3-6 months old: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
6-9 months old: 2 – 3.5 hours
9-12 months old: 3 – 4 hours
Now that we have nap times, night times, and awake times covered let’s get into the best sleep tips to help baby sleep through the night and take longer naps.
15 Tips To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night And Take Longer Naps
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Having a routine before naps and bedtime helps signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. The routine doesn’t have to be complicated or long.
In time your baby will begin to associate the routine with going to sleep.
Before bed time and nap time we follow this routine:
- change diaper
- close curtains
- turn on fan
- read a book
- give her her lovey
- sing her a song
- put her in her crib
Some parents like to include bath time or baby massage into their routines to help baby relax. Do what works best for you and your baby.
The most important thing is to be consistent.
Learn Baby’s Sleep Patterns + Cues
Nailing the perfect awake time for your baby is key to getting baby to sleep faster and sleep longer.
If you put baby down to sleep too soon they may fight sleep or not sleep very long. And same goes for letting them stay awake too long.
I swear my baby has a two minute window where if I put her in her crib at exactly the right time she’ll fall asleep without letting out so much as a whimper. But, if I put her down before or after that two minute window then there will be a fight.
Use the guide at the beginning of this post to get an idea of how long your baby should be awake. Then pay close attention to your babies sleep cues like yawning or rubbing their eyes.
By the time your baby has started yawning or acting tired you’ve probably already missed that window, but pay attention to how long they were awake. Next nap or bedtime try to put them down a few minutes earlier.
It takes some trial and error. Keep at it until you find your babies sleep patterns.
About 30 minutes before naps and an hour before bedtime try your best to create a quiet, calm, boring environment for your baby.
The world is a new exciting place for a baby and they don’t want to stop playing to take a nap even if they’re tired. If anything is going on they aren’t going to want to miss out and are going to fight sleep.
This is a tip for my breastfeeding mamas. Caffeine is okay in moderation when breastfeeding and doctors say a cup or two a day is okay but if your baby isn’t taking long naps you may want to cut back even more.
Also remember that the caffeine levels in your breastmilk reach the highest two hours after consumption.
I found there was a connection with Hailee’s short naps and the times I would nurse her two hours after having a cup of coffee. Now I plan accordingly and it has really helped to take longer naps.
No Screen Time
Babies shouldn’t watch TV or other screens. It’s over stimulating and the blue light suppresses their melatonin levels.
Not to say I haven’t done it, I do get desperate sometimes. I’m not perfect.
But it does nothing good for baby’s sleep and should be avoided altogether.
Also try to avoid using your phone while nursing your baby if they’re able to see the screen. I struggle with this because I get so bored while nursing, but really feeding times should be a time for bonding so I try to not use my phone.
Swaddling your newborn helps create the same warm tight feeling of being in the womb. It can also keep their arms and legs from flailing and triggering the startle reflex that can wake them up.
The Snoo Bassinet is a smart bassinet with a built in secure swaddle.
This bassinet automatically respond to your baby when it detects crying by increasing motion and white noise to soothe your baby back to sleep without you having to lift a finger.
It’s available to buy or rent here.
Weighted Sleep Sack
Another trick to get baby to take longer naps and sleep through the night is by putting them in a lightly weighted sleep sack like the Zen.
The Zen Sleep Sack recreates the feeling of your reassuring touch and helps baby stay asleep by tricking them into thinking you’re there.
Keeping your baby’s sleep environment at the perfect temperature will help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Their room should be between 68 and 70 degrees.
Here is a great info graphic that shows what baby should wear to bed, depending on what temperature their room is.
Warm Their Bed
Warming up baby’s bed with a heating pad can help baby feel cozy and fall asleep faster.
This sleep hack works great for parents who have to hold there babies until they fall asleep and then put them down in their crib. The transition from warm parent to warm bed helps to not jolt them awake during the transition.
But remember to only use the heating pad to warm the bed and then REMOVE the heating pad before putting baby in. NEVER let baby sleep with the heating pad because baby could over heat.
Use Moms Scent
Babies are comforted by their mothers scent.
When Hailee slept in her bassinet I would lay the shirt I had been wearing in it and tuck it in nice and flat so it wasn’t a suffocation hazard.
I really believe this helped her sleep those 4 hour stretches at night as an infant and take long 2 hour naps during the day.
When baby gets bigger and transitions to a crib you can sleep on a crib sheet at night and then the next day put that crib sheet on their crib. Seems kinda crazy, but when your baby isn’t sleeping well you’ll try anything right?
Babies are far more sensitive to dry air them we are. Breathing in the dry air can be uncomfortable for their nose and throat.
Use a humidifier for babies like this one to keep the air moist and help them sleep through the night.
Black Out Curtains
Black out curtains are extra thick curtains that can keep your babies nursery completely dark and this helps some babies take longer naps.
I use these for Hailee because I’ve tested the theory with her and she takes longer naps when the room is kept completely dark.
But beware, for some babies, especially newborns this can create day night confusion which can cause baby to sleep too much during the day and wake up too much during the night.
White Noise Machine
Last but not least on our list of tips to help baby sleep through the night and take longer naps is WHITE NOISE.
White noise helps create the same soothing sound your baby heard in the womb and it drowns out daily background noise that could wake your baby from their nap.
We just use a fan like this at our house. We put it on low and point it away from her crib so she doesn’t feel it.
But if your nursery is small then baby might feel a draft regardless so I recommend a white noise machine specifically made for babies like this one with a built in night light that is super handy for those late night feedings.
There you have it! 15 tips to help baby take longer naps and sleep through the night. Don’t forget to pin this post to you baby sleep tips board on Pinterest ♥️ Thank you!
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