Better Sleep For Baby

sleeping babySleep is something that most of us take for granted…until we have children. It sometimes seems that only then do we realize how truly important sleep is in all aspects of our lives.

Sleep allows us to heal, recover, grow, and rest our bodies. Sleep is no less important for our babies, in fact, because of their rapid growth during these first six months, it’s incredibly important. That is why it’s okay to comfort your baby in any way that works during these months.

If you do create a sleep association, it’s okay to use it, you can fix it later. For now, just make sure that your baby is getting enough quality sleep.

line divider

What is normal sleep for an infant?

• Waking is normal for infants
• Normal for babies to wake at night and fuss or cry,
• Babies wake for feeding, comfort, to feel secure, calming, developmental milestones, need help falling back to sleep, or they are startled because of a change in location/environment from where they fell asleep.
• Baby waking at night is not an indication that there is anything wrong. Babies usually thrive quite nicely on frequent sleep disruptions. It’s usually the parents that have a problem and do not fare as well.
• Many parents can accept that their baby will wake and need attention several times in the night for many months and even a year or more. If the parents are content with this then it is not a problem.

Remember, you cannot spoil a baby. Responding and attending to your child will increase the child’s confidence and your bond with your baby.

Normal Sleep Patterns and Cycles

During first 12 weeks of age most babies will wake and sleep at short intervals thoughout spread out over 24 hours. These periods may be longer overnight.


• Wake briefly on average 4-6 times a night.
Often this will be for a feeding. If your baby was fed or comforted to sleep, he may have difficulty falling back asleep without that same support.

• Sleep between 13-16 hours a day.

• Sleep cycles are short, so its normal for them to wake every 1-2 hours.

• May be able to sleep one longer stretch in the 24 hour day, usually 2-4 hours.

• Often no consistent sleep pattern and days and nights may be mixed up.

• Most babies are tired within an hour of being awake.

6-8 Week olds:

• Night time sleep may begin to lengthen with the longest stretch extending to 4-6 hours by 3 months of age.

• Most babies are tired within 60-90 minutes after waking at this age, so make sure to put your baby down to sleep when you see sleepy cues.

3 Month olds:

• Sleep patterns become more predictable.

• 2/3 of babies are sleeping a 5 hours stretch at night, which is considered sleeping through the night for an infant.

4-6 Month olds:

• Baby’s sleep is evolving.
Melatonin secretion rises and non-REM sleep increases so babies start sleeping deeper. Partial arousals are more distinct and babies can become more awake as they shift sleep phases.

• Naps become more organized (although this may take longer for some babies).

• 2/3’s of 6 month olds will still wake at least 1-2 times a night; many will wake more often.

If your baby is crying a lot, this may be a separate issue from sleeping. For more help with crying, please see our Crying section.

line divider

Better Sleep Basics

sleeping baby

There are countless books and websites dedicated to helping your baby get a better night’s sleep. To parents, that often means a longer night’s sleep! While nighttime feeding remains an important part of your baby’s nutritional input, there are steps you can take to set your baby up for good sleep habits; ones that will transition him from frequent feedings to longer stretches of sleep to sleeping through the night.

There are basic sleep elements that nearly all sleep experts agree are integral to a good night’s sleep. Creating a positive sleep association doesn’t just apply to babies, but can benefit your whole family.

Create a sleep friendly environment 

The environment won’t be the same for every baby. Your baby’s preferences and temperament will influence the tools that will work for him:

White noise, calming music, or quiet

For some babies, white noise can help replicate the sounds heard in utero. It may need to be at a fairly loud volume to take effect, allows it to act as a sound barrier, buffering outside sounds from the baby’s room. Other babies sleep better with calming music and still others will need complete quiet.

Complete darkness or a nightlight

Your baby may sleep best in complete darkness. In this case a blackout curtain would be an excellent investment to block out all daytime light for bedtime and naps. Others need the comfort of a dim light, so the addition of a nightlight would be beneficial.

Relaxing and non-stimulating

In the early months babies have the ability to shut out outside stimulation and will fall asleep easily in crowded, busy areas. As your baby gets older, he loses this ability and will sleep better in an area that is quiet. If you have your baby in your room be mindful of how the TV, laptops, iPads and radios may be affecting his sleep. Keep the room relaxing and quiet.

Early bedtime

Your baby’s bedtime is an important component of sleep and may be earlier than you realize. If you’re putting the baby down when you go to bed, an earlier bedtime may be in order.

Learn to recognize your baby’s tired signs

This can be helpful in determining when he is ready to go bed for the night. Some signs include: fussing (increasing to whining, crying and screaming), glazed stare, looking away or turning head away, arching back, facial grimaces, clenched fists, flailing arm and leg movements, need to suck, rubbing eyes, pulling ears, nose or hair and yawning. Not all babies will display all these signs so learning your baby’s individual cues is important.

Early evening bedtime

Most babies are ready for bed between 6:00-7:00 p.m. At 6-8 weeks you may notice that your baby is very fussy during this time. Treat these hours as the beginning of night time sleep for your baby, even if you know he’s going to wake in a few hours for a feed. Follow the nighttime feeding routines you have established – quiet, dark room with limited interaction and stimulation.

Avoid overtiredness

Your baby is much harder to settle when he is overtired and often will resist sleep. As he becomes increasingly tired his behaviour will deteriorate to the point where he may seem inconsolable. Recognizing your baby’s tired signs will help prevent getting to this point.

Bedtime routine

Developing a relaxing bedtime routine will help your baby recognize when it’s time to calm down in preparation for sleep and help set the stage the day is coming to an end.  You can begin to implement this around 2-3 months. Pick a few simple steps and try to not make your routine too long. All babies will have a feeding before bed so just pick an additional two steps. The key to an effective bedtime routine is to do the same routine with 3-5 activities in the same order every night prior to bedtime; be prepared to be flexible as he grows. A bath may be relaxing in the early months, but provide too much stimulation as he gets older. Your bedtime routine may include:

• Getting ready for bed routine can include washing his face and hands, wiping his gums or brushing teeth (important to start this habit early so he gets used to it) diaper change and getting into his pajamas.

• Massage

• Bath (only if it doesn’t excite your baby and he enjoys them!)

• Reading a book

• Swaddling if you choose to. See our Safe Swaddling article for more information.

• Song, prayers or soothing dance (without getting him over-excited)

• Having a chat, talk about your day or what you’re going to do tomorrow

Encourage Restful Sleep at Night

Once your baby has been put down to sleep for the night treat all his awakenings in the same manner. Respect nighttime sleep and eventually he will too!

• Keep lights, stimulation and interaction to a minimum. When he wakes and needs to feed, do so quietly  in a relaxing, dimly lit environment and gently put him back to sleep.

• Diaper changes don’t need to happen after every feed. If he can tolerate a lightly wet diaper (and no rash) consider changing him less frequently at night.

• Try a sleepy feed before you turn in for the night. Before you go to bed offer him a feed without completely waking him up. Hopefully this will stretch out the time before his next feed.

line divider

Promoting Self-Soothing and Sleep

There are several things that you can do to nurture sleep for your baby. At this young age responding to your baby will promote better sleep and security and will foster independent sleep skills when she is older.

Respond right away

Responding to your baby will build trust & healthy attachment. It can also result in your baby falling to sleep faster, and build healthy attachment as she grows.

Responding and comforting your infant will give her a foundation for good sleep habits later on. Nursing or feeding and comforting your infant to sleep is normal and natural. Providing your infant comfort is also more likely to help her sleep better when she is older.

mom and baby skin to skin

Follow your instincts

Its important to meet all of your baby’s needs in these early months. This is the time of building trust, security & attachment for both you and your baby. Research shows that the more skin to skin contact, responsiveness, touch, and eye contact that takes place in the early months, the better hardwired your baby’s brain (and yours), which leads to a more secure attachment. Remember, infants should not be left alone to cry for any extended period of time. The quicker you respond, the better for baby. Your child will need to be fed, held & soothed frequently and there are absolutely NO bad habits formed by doing so. Your baby’s need for you is purposeful & her crying is a primary way for her to communicate a need. Feed your baby when she is hungry & pick her up when she wants to be held. Likewise, pick her up if she needs to be soothed.

You cannot spoil a young baby!  Some babies are fine being parented to sleep and then transferred into bed. This is absolutely fine at this young age, although it is likely to stop working at some point. You can work on a new strategy at that point.

For now, do what feels right to you. Experiment and do what works for you and your baby, even if it is feeding or comforting to sleep.

Back to Sleep & Tummy to play

Current SIDS recommendations encourages you to place your baby to sleep on her back. Equal emphasis is put on making sure your baby gets lots of tummy time. Both will reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, and assist in your baby’s development. Tummy time is very important for your baby’s developing muscles, motor skills and balance. As your baby gets more mobile having these important skills will help improve sleep because she will be able to get into a comfortable position easier, and will be better able to avoid getting stuck or into unfamiliar positions.

You can start with 1-2 minutes of tummy time each day and gradually work on increasing the duration. It’s incredibly important that you  have a safe sleep environment for your baby, and always put her to sleep on her back.


Sleeping with your baby can help improve sleep, either by safely sharing a firm surface or when sleeping in proximity on a separate surface. Please follow our Safe Co-Sleeping Guidelines if you chose to co-sleep.

Increase daytime sleep any way you can

Studies show that your baby is more likely to sleep well at night if she gets plenty of sleep during the day.

Keep you baby from getting overtired

This is a key principle in helping her get better sleep. Most children have a maximum length of time they are able to be awake for before they get over tired. Becoming over-tired causes the body to release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that may give your baby a second wind.

Being overtired during the day can also fragment sleep cycles at  night and cause your baby to wake too early. To avoid her becoming overtired, it is important to watch for tired signs and put her down to sleep around the time you see yawning, eye rubbing, or general crabbiness. You may find that doing so is even too late, in which case you need to watch for earlier sleepy signs (or watch the clock).

wakeful windows

The following actions may be helpful in soothing your baby toward relaxation and sleep:

  • Infant massage
  • Rocking
  • Swaddle  see Safe Swaddling
  • Pacifier
  • Motion
  • Parental presence (this helps calm babies who awaken in an upset state)
  • Carrying or baby wearing during the day
    According to Hunzike & Barr, “Carrying infants from 3-4 hours/day reduces the duration of infant crying/fussing behavior generally as much as 43% at six weeks of age.” This may seem like a long time. but remember that in some cultures babies are carried a majority of the time.

Sleep Onset Association

Babies who are comforted or fed to sleep (or to a very drowsy state), will usually need that same support in the middle of the night to get back to sleep. If you have a practice of comforting your baby to sleep that is working for you then you, then you don’t need to worry about changing things at this young age. Rest assured that you won’t create any long-term habits in these early months that can’t be undone easily at a later age, especially if you tackle the association before your baby reaches 12 months of age. These early months can be challenging for both baby and family, so it is fine to go with the flow (if that is working for you). If you get to a place where your routine is no longer working for you, then you may want to try an technique listed below.

You can try these strategies once your baby is over 3 weeks old and see if she can learn to sleep without a lot of parent support (and without crying). Some babies will learn this skill quickly at an early age. If you baby cries, pick her up and go back to what has been working, then try again in a few weeks or months. Even babies who develop this skill early often regress, especially around 4 months, so it is not worth stressing yourself or your baby out about this at this early age.

Benefits of falling asleep independently

• Eventually your baby won’t need parental comfort in night to fall back to sleep.

• Familiar location (this causes your baby to feel safe in middle of night).

• Your baby learns learns good sleep skills early on.

• Your baby can learn this at any age, although there are times when it is more challenging (such as around 4 months and after 12 and 18 months of age).


Put your baby down to sleep in a drowsy yet awake state
If your baby falls asleep on her own, then great. Continue trying it at least once a day, then increase frequency. If your baby cries, simply pick her up and try again when she is older or use a different strategy

Wake and Sleep
This technique was coined by Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block, where he instructs parents to put babies down to bed already asleep. However, when your baby is laid down, gently jostle your baby to rouse her slightly. This will cause her to wake a little, understand where she is and learn the feeling of falling asleep from this state on her own. If she wakes fully or gets upset, then you will need to pick her up and comfort her back to sleep. At this point the process starts over.

A variation on this technique requires that you put your baby down on the sleep surface in a drowsy but awake state, and then support her to sleep by offering shushing, singing, patting, etc. As your baby gets comfortable with falling asleep in her own bed, then you can reduce the support. If your baby cries or doesn’t settle very quickly, pick her up and try a different strategy.

For more sleep help, please see Baby Sleep Challenges and Solutions.

If the above strategies do not give you the help that you need or If you need a sleep coaching or sleep shaping strategy, please visit our help desk to book a consultation.

line divider

Things to keep in mind about your baby’s sleep

• Respond and comfort your baby.

• Offer regular feeds, especially during the day.

• Encourage daytime sleep, and try to keep your baby from getting over-tired.

• Never try to fill your baby up with more food than she wants or needs.
This practice is unlikely to promote longer or better sleep and very likely to cause tummy discomfort and distress and in the long run. Overfeeding may result in children associating sleep with a very full tummy and a child becoming over weight.

• Don’t use formula as a sleep aid.
You may have heard that babies who are fed formula may sleep better, but this has not been proven. In fact, several studies conducted concluded that there is NO evidence that a Mother’s sleep is improved with formula feeding or any combination of formula and breastfeeding compared to exclusive breastfeeding.

• Don’t stretch out daytime feeds to try to improve sleep.
Despite suggestions in several parenting books, putting your baby on a feeding schedule or stretching out day feeds beyond 3 hour intervals will not improve her sleep. Most humans need to eat or drink at least every 3 hours.

• Don’t fall asleep with your baby on a sofa, chair or recliner.
This is the most dangerous form of co-sleeping. Don’t put yourself in a place where this is likely to happen. It would be better to lie on a firm mattress or even on the floor if you feel that you are likely to fall asleep with your baby.

• Don’t share a bed with your baby if it is unsafe to do so.
For more, please see our Safe Co-Sleeping Guidelines.

line divider

Natural Ways to Improve Baby’s Sleep

photo credit: storyvillegirl via photopin cc

Our environment plays a huge role in how our bodies function. You baby is particularly sensitive to the stimulation around him and as his brain and nervous system mature, he will be able to organize his world to develop patterns and rhythms.  These helpful hints aren’t just applicable to babies, however, the whole family can benefit from a better night’s sleep by incorporating some of them into their routines.


Our circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) responds primarily to light and darkness. Your baby’s circadian rhythm is still developing over the first few months, and exposure to natural light can help get things sorted out. Taking a walk in the morning can help establish a healthy wake-up time and may even aid in you and your baby fall asleep easier at night. If the morning wake-up time is too early, try a late afternoon walk to make sure that you both get exposure to sunlight during the day. Dim light in the evening along with reducing exposure to the glow of electronic screens can also help establish your baby’s circadian rhythm.


A relaxed mom makes for a relaxed baby! Look for ways that you can relax. Practice deep breathing, listen to calm music, take a bath, read a book, slow down or take a break. Find time for you, even if it’s just 10 minutes, will help you remain calm and relaxed around your baby.


Studies show that infant massage can improve sleep. Massage works best in a calm, warm, quiet atmosphere. There are a variety of techniques, so if you’re not sure how to get started an on-line tutorial or instructional book can give you some ideas. Pay attention to how your baby is responding to the massage. If he seems restless, unhappy, or is turning his head away from you, stop for now and try again later. It may take a few tries before you and your baby get a feel for what works. With a little patience and practice this can become a relaxing time to bond and wind down from the day.

Breastfeed in the evening

Babies will often cluster feed in the evening, seemingly wanting to eat nonstop for a few hours. This is normal behaviour! Let your baby nurse for as long and as often as he wants. He may be hungry or he may also just need this time to settle and have one-on-one time with you. Evening breastmilk contains melatonin, which can be passed to your baby and help him fall asleep.  Not surprisingly, it’s often followed by a longer sleep.

Lavender Oil

Try a little lavender oil to help your baby relax. Keep in mind a little goes a long way and too much can have the opposite effect. Put just a drop of lavender oil on a cotton ball. If the smell is too strong you can remove it from the room


A lower body temperature promotes sleep so cooler temperatures in the evening and through the night may aid in a good night’s sleep.

Fresh air

Fresh air is highly underrated. Fresh air during the day will not only improve sleep, but it helps clean our lungs and increases our oxygen intake. Make outdoor walks a priority during your day. Open windows, relax on a patio and enjoy the great outdoors. Of course, be mindful of the temperature and dress your baby appropriately!

 Baby wearing in the day

A peaceful daytime will aid in a restful night. As you hold and carry your baby during the day this calmness and peacefulness will often transfer to the night. Wearing your baby can reduce daytime over-stimulation to promote a more restful night.

line divider

Sorting Out Days and Nights

Sleeping Baby

The old adage of “never wake a sleeping baby” may not hold true if your baby happens to have her days and nights reversed. Some babies are born as night hawks, taking their longer stretches of sleep during the day and wanting to be entertained at night. Although most will naturally grow out of this within a few weeks there are some simple steps you can take to gently nudge them in the right direction.

Fill her up during the day

Offer regular feeds during the day, at least every 3 hours or less, even if it means waking her up. Some babies will naturally do a 4 hour sleep somewhere in a 24 hour period, don’t let her do it during the day! You can gently wake your baby by picking her up, unswaddling her (if she’s swaddled) or removing some of her clothing, stroking or tickling her arms and legs or go straight to changing her diaper. She’ll still need to breastfeed during the night but hopefully she’ll stretch out her feeds when it’s dark.

Once she’s up, keep her up

Although you also want to prevent her from becoming overtired (she should only be awake for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a time during the day) make sure her play time is during the day. Sing to her, play with her, talk with her and show her around her new environment.

Expose your baby to light throughout the day

Our circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) responds primarily to light and darkness. A baby’s circadian rhythm is still developing over the first few months and exposure to natural light can help get things sorted out. Make sure the curtains are open and you move about your regular activities during the day.. Naps don’t always need to be in her crib. A bassinette in the livingroom will help her sense the daytime rhythm of your house, although as babies get older and have a good day/night rhythm they sleep best in a dark, quiet place for naps.

Keep it dark and quiet at night

Use dim or ambient lighting when tending to your baby at night, the minimum amount you need to see what you’re doing. Simply feed her and change a dirty diaper if needed (diapers don’t need to be changed at every feed during the night, especially if they’re only wet) and don’t engage in any playful interactions. Be quiet, soothing and calm.

Use white noise at night

White noise can help replicate the sounds your baby heard in your womb and can help keep her calm. It may need to be at a fairly loud volume to take effect and can act as a sound barrier, buffering outside sounds from the baby’s room. It is often very helpful for children who are very alert and curious to help them calm their minds and fall asleep.

There will always be “bad” nights

Even once your baby seems to have settled into a regular night time routine there will still be nights when she seems to be up every hour. As babies hit developmental milestones and growth spurts their sleep can often be disrupted while their body and minds catch up. As her brain and nervous system mature she will, over time, consistently sleep longer at night.

line divider

Safe Swaddling

safe swaddling

Swaddling has been in practice by many cultures throughout the centuries and has become increasingly popular in North America in the past ten years. In general, swaddling is tightly wrapping your baby in a blanket to restrict the movement of his limbs.

As simple as it may seem, swaddling comes with risks and benefits. There are some major safety concerns that every parent should be aware of if you are swaddling your baby. These risks include SIDS, hip dysplasia, pneumonia, and over-heating. However, if swaddling is done properly and safely many of those risks can be avoided.

Plase keep in mind the following information and research is based upon swaddling babies at night. It is not recommended that you swaddle your baby during her wakeful hours, as she needs time to move and explore her world and environment. If you decide that swaddling is not for you there are alternative techniques to help get your baby to sleep at night.

A Safe Way to Swaddle

The first step is to learn how to safely swaddle your baby.

• Her legs and hips should not be wrapped so tightly as to restrict movement.

• Legs should be free to move up and out. Consider using a roomy swaddle sack.

• Her arms are bound firmly but not too tightly. Avoid too much pressure on her chest.

• When swaddling your baby for sleep, NEVER lay her down on his stomach. There is a high correlation between SIDS and babies who are swaddled and laid on their tummy to sleep.

• Be aware of her temperature. Sometimes just a diaper underneath is appropriate.

• Only swaddle to calm your baby or for sleeping. Ensure she is unwrapped during wakeful periods for movement and activity, as well as during feedings.

• Make sure breastfeeding is established before you begin swaddling. If your baby is sleeping longer intervals be sure that you wake her up to feed regularly.

• Swaddling should be discontinued if your baby is rolling or close to rolling.

This video shows the triangle technique that may be helpful to swaddle your baby without any compression issues with the hips or chest:

Swaddling and SIDS

The most common prevention of SIDS is to lay babies on their backs to sleep. While swaddling can help young babies (usually 4 months or younger) remain in this position, older babies who can roll over (or even younger ones who accidently manage this maneuver) actually increase their risk of SIDS by becoming stuck on their stomach. The added risks of overheating, difficulty in rousing or ending up with a blanket over their face are all other SIDS risk factors.

Benefits of Swaddling

Please be aware that the following list of benefits assumes that your baby is swaddled safely.

• Your baby may sleep longer and deeper (this is also a risk factor)

• Can be used as a calming technique to reduce crying

• Young babies, when swaddled, cannot wiggle into compromising positions in their cribs

• Reduces the risk of your baby rolling on to stomach

• Reduces flailing arms which could startle and wake your baby

• Can help your baby feel as though she is still in utero

Risks of Swaddling

• Swaddling may impede breastfeeding.
Since swaddled babies can sleep longer and deeper she may feed less frequently. This can also affect weight gain in the early days after birth.

• Can reduce your baby’s ability to self-soothe.
Your baby may naturally soothe and comfort herself when tired and drowsy. This can include thumping her legs, sucking on her hands, a blanket or lovey, and rubbing her face with her hands.

• Over heating
When your baby is swaddled and her environment is too warm, she can easily overheat. If she is damp from sweat, this means that she is on the verge of overheating.

• Hypothermia
Surprisingly, swaddled babies are not necessarily warm and cozy. Studies have shown that swaddled babies can have a lower body temperature then non-swaddled babies.

 Hip dysplasia
This joint disease can be the result of tight swaddling which immobilizes the hips and legs and forces them in a straight position for pro-longed periods of time.

• Respiratory compression leading to infection and pneumonia
When your baby is swaddled tightly it can compress her chest, not allowing the lungs to fully expand. Trapped air in the lungs can lead to respiratory infections and may cause pneumonia.

Alternatives to Swaddling

There are other methods you can use instead of swaddling that will ultimately have the same calming effect and can help your baby fall asleep. Also see How To Sooth a Fussy Baby.

• Rocking
Gently rocking your baby either in a rocking chair or standing up and doing the “figure 8” with your hips creates a soothing motion that will help her fall asleep.

• Skin to skin contact
Skin-to-skin contact is always a good way to help comfort your baby. Skin-to-skin also regulates her body temperature, heart rate and breathing, stimulates digestion, and helps both both you and your baby relax.

• Walking
Just like rocking, walking with your baby can create a calming motion that will help your baby to fall asleep.

• Breastfeeding your baby

• Baby wearing
Please refer to The Basics and Benefits of Babywearing [LINK]

O’Mara, Peggy. “The Question of Routine Swaddling”
Bregje E. van Sleuwen, Adèle C. Engelberts, Magda M. Boere-Boonekamp, Wietse Kuis, Tom W.J. Schulpen and Monique P. L’Hoir. “A Systematic Review of Swaddling” Pediatrics 2007;120;e1097 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-2083
Ksenia Bystrova*1,2, Ann-Marie Widström*1, Ann-Sofi Matthiesen1, Anna- Berit Ransjö-Arvidson1, Barbara Welles-Nyström1, Igor Vorontsov2 and Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg. “Early lactation performance in primiparous and multiparous women in relation to different maternity home practices. A randomised trial in St. Petersburg” International Breastfeeding Journal 2007.
Ksenia Bystrova*1,2, Ann-Marie Widström*1, Ann-Sofi Matthiesen1, Anna- Berit Ransjö-Arvidson1, Barbara Welles-Nyström1, Igor Vorontsov2 and Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg. “Early lactation performance in primiparous and multiparous women in relation to different maternity home practices. A randomised trial in St. Petersburg” International Breastfeeding Journal 2007.
Bregje E. van Sleuwen, Adèle C. Engelberts, Magda M. Boere-Boonekamp, Wietse Kuis, Tom W.J. Schulpen and Monique P. L’Hoir. “A Systematic Review of Swaddling” Pediatrics 2007;120;e1097 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-2083
Mahan ST, Kasser JR (2008). Does swaddling influence development of dysplasia of the hip? Pediatrics, 121 (1), 177-8
Sahin F, Akturk A, Beyazova U. et al (2004). Screening for developmental dysplasia of the hip: results of a 7-year follow-up study. Pediatrics International, 46(2):162
Yurdakok K, Yavuz T, Taylor CE. (1990) Swaddling and acute respiratory infections. American Journal of Public Health, 80:873-875

line divider

Baby Wearing and Sleep

babywearing and sleep

Babywearing is a great tool to use to help your baby get to sleep and stay asleep.

Peaceful daytimes lead to restful nights

Even if your goal is not to get your baby to sleep, Dr. William Sears, a nationally recognized pediatrician and author (and father to 8!) writes, “A peaceful daytime is likely to lead to a restful night. The more attached you are to your baby during the day and the more baby is held and calmed during the day, the more likely this peacefulness is to carry through into the night. We have noticed babies who are carried in baby slings for several hours a day settle better at night. Babywearing mellows the infant during the day, behavior that carries over into restfulness at night.”

Part of the bedtime routine

You may find that when you want to put your baby down for bed he seems revved up from the stimulation of the day. Particularly when he’s learning new skills and his brain just doesn’t seem to want to shut off. By placing your baby in a sling and walking around for a half-hour or so before bedtime you can help him calm down and relax. Over-stimulated babies who may need some extra help can rarely resist the double hitter of breastfeeding while in the carrier.

Helps with napping

Babies who sleep well during the day also tend to sleep better at night. What if your baby has a hard time going down for naps? Having him sleep in a carrier is a great way to accomplish naps during the day while you can still get things done (or take a nap yourself!). Many babies also sleep more soundly and longer while in a sling or carrier.

Out and about

Having your baby nap in a carrier while out and about can be a life-saver. It also means you don’t have to schedule your day around naptimes and sleepy babies. Even toddlers have been known to take a nap or two on the go.

Others can help

If your baby loves to breastfeed to sleep but sometimes you just need a break, fathers and other caregivers can step in with babywearing. The familiar sensation of being carried closely can help him go to sleep regardless of who is carrying him.

Multiple associations for sleep

There are many techniques for settling a baby to sleep, babywearing is just one of them. However, getting your baby used to multiple associations for sleeping is beneficial for those nights when the “usual” doesn’t work.

line divider

Photo credits: Nicolas Hoizey via photopin ccAdam Melancon via photopin cc; Librarian Avenger via photopin cc; storyvillegirl via photopin cc; Neticola via photopin cc; StarMama via photopin cc; via photopin cc