Tips shared by "everyday experts" and resources of insights by specialists on low breast milk supply. Use what speaks to you.
1. Wait 5-10 minutes before laying baby down in their bed after they are asleep. A blanket around them may smell like you and the warmth helps the transition into moving into cool bed.
Gwen Hutto – USA
2. Ensure that the baby gets some good “play time” before he or she is put to bed. This will tire the little one and will also put him/her in a good mood which will guarantee a sound sleep.
Shaila Silva – Germany
3. Practice the art of creeping into the bed if your baby tends to wake up easily.
David Lorenz – USA
4. Sidecar their crib and co-sleep. It’s generally necessary for a nursing baby under 12 months to night nurse and a side car crib helps mom and baby return to sleep quickly. It’s also helpful to know that it’s normal and expected to infants and toddlers to wake a night. Self settling is a skill each child develops in their own time.
Ashley Dean Myles – USA
5. Only over time I realised a sleep time routine, nursing them enough throughout the day and lots of cuddles before bedtime soothes them. At 14 months I started putting her to bed when she was just about to fall asleep so eventually when she woke up at night she could fall asleep again by herself.
Sue Ostern -USA
6. When our little one became a toddler, we stopped using a night light and since then she rarely wakes up at night. Wish we tried that earlier as melatonin is released only when its dark. A slightly inclined bed helps keep food down and prevent baby waking and spitting up. We decided to not get into habit of rocking baby to sleep as it would be challenging as baby grew heavier and being at the breast was most comforting anyway. When baby is stirring be quick to lay a heavy hand before baby fully wakes up and keep it there till baby drifts back to sleep. Do the same when you are laying baby down as it mimics your body somewhat. I have often read that every cry of a baby less than six months should be attended to. I also read that when every distress cry is continually attended to (even while its inconvenient for the caregiver) they tend to grow up secure and are more comfortable separating from parent. I found this to be true in our case.
Sangitha P Lorenz – USA
7. For babies who have started drinking milk, just before bedtime avoid giving them fruit and milk within half hour of each other. Acidic fruits or juices can curdle milk and turn it into mucus and will make babies (or toddlers) wake up uncomfortable and throw up. This an ancient Ayurvedic (world’s oldest healing medical system) approach to food. Warm milk just before bed time tends to soothe them and hence makes them drowsy and the protein in milk keeps them full and content through the night.
Padmini Purushotam – India
8. I learned a lot from the book Healthy Sleep Habits. I did the more gentle version of cry it out method starting with naps at about 4 months. I would decide how long I would let him fuss/cry before going in and then watched the clock because my assessment of time was very inaccurate at the time because every minute of my baby crying felt like an eternity. We started with 5-10 min initially and always preceded by a brief cuddle and rocking routine along with the ocean sound on the sound machine. After a while he learned it well and anticipated being laid down. We used the swaddle until he began rolling over, as we did not want to take a chance of him getting tangled in it. In the process of listening to his cries I learned what they meant and knew when to jump out of bed if he cried or let him fuss.
Tania Sonnenberg – USA
9. Drowsy periods tend to occur every 1.5 hours, so use that knowledge to plan your naps/bedtime around the time when they will fall asleep more quickly. Every child is different and what the sleep “experts” suggest may not work for your child (for example, most experts say to give a bath before bedtime…this would keep my son up for at least an hour. I later learned that it can heat the body temperature up for an hour or so and some babies are more sensitive to this and won’t sleep right after a bath). Take what works for your child and leave the rest. If you have a child who struggles with sleep, the book Sleepless in America is wonderful.
Rachel Smith – USA
10. Our son was a very light sleeper as a baby but a bedtime routine of a warm bath followed by a body massage with either baby lotion or oil worked wonders for us. Maintaining a comfortable room temperature so that he was neither too hot nor too cold also helped as did being very, very quiet.
Preeti Dixit – India
11. What worked for me is getting them on a schedule, massage and bath at night. A bit of lavender oil (Dottera oil) diluted with coconut oil on their temple worked great.
Preeth Muthappa Khanna – India/USA
12. With nursing I knew that those nighttime feeds could be important, so I changed my expectations. My goal went from “sleeping through the night” to “staying in bed through the night”. I tucked my little one in next to me and practically slept through those feedings.
Elaine Jones Davis – USA
13. My daughter could only sleep with white noise for the first few months. We tried everything from warm bath, oils, massages but the only way she would sleep was with white noise (real or recorded sounds such as hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, whale sounds) I have no idea why, but it worked like a charm.They have a ton of stuff on white noise now.
Anitha – India/USA
14. When my daughter was born, we co-slept because that arrangement worked best with breastfeeding and also was instinctively what I knew we both needed. I read that it’s actually unnatural for anyone to sleep through the night (and that in terms of human evolution, we’ve been waking up during the night for hundreds of thousands of years), so it was an unrealistic expectation to think that she would not wake at all during the night. Because we co-slept, if she did wake up, then I just nursed her while I was laying down and we would be fall back asleep, usually without noticing we even woke up.
That said, I know co-sleeping or nursing on cue are not necessarily options for everyone. I think it did help to make sure she was well fed before putting her to bed, because sometimes she woke if she got hungry. Also, making sure her diaper was not wet or that it didn’t leak ensured she would stay asleep. ‘White noise’ would also help–so I used things like an air purifier or humidifier during the night.
Prita Lal – USA
Have more tips to add to this topic? Share here
Studies On Normal Infant Sleep – Kellymom.com
Practical Research Parenting Nighttime decisions – Dr. Sears
A Guide To Your Babys’ Sleep & Naps – WebMD
Sleep Strategies – Attachment Parenting International
A to Zzzz – 26 tips – Parenting.com
Sleep Through The night – La Lecha League International
Sleep Through The Night – Babycenter
Hidden Myths Behind Baby Sleep Training Advocacy – Psychologytoday.com
Pros & Cons of Four Approaches – Parenting.com
Cry It Out Method – Tip of Dangerous Parenting Iceberg?
Cry It Out Method – Researchers Found it isn’t Harmful
Five tips – What To Expect
Effects of Light & Dark – Baby Sleep Guide
8 Hours – Relaxing White Noise For Babies
4 Hours Mozart Lullaby
There are several apps for white noise too.
1. Check first if physiological needs are addressed. Wet diaper? Hungry? Too hot? Too cold?
2. Babies tend to sleep longer when their stomachs are full. However, one must take care not to overfeed the baby because this can cause discomfort. Burping the baby well after a feed will help him/her to sleep soundly.
Shaila Silva – Germany
3. As they get older a pat-pat on the back or butt at bedtime or in middle of night.
Gwen Hutto – USA
4. Dress them appropriately, not too warm or too light. Room to not be too hot or too cold.
5. Swaddling mimics the snug feeling while baby was in womb. If swaddling, be wary that loose fabric presents a suffocation hazard.
6. The “shhhh..shhhh..” sounds works well as it mimics same sound while baby was floating in amniotic fluid.
Goodnight Sleep Site – Consultations provided too.