A newborn’s second night is often the worse. After having spent the last nine months comfortably swishing around in the comfiest and warmest place on earth, baby suddenly finds himself in the cold, hard and scary real world. Naturally, he then vocalizes his displeasures, much to the distress of his already sleep-deprived mom and dad. By day two, most moms already find themselves frantically looking up ways to get their newborn to stop crying and fall asleep as soon as possible.
As much as parents are desperate for their newborns to sleep eight consecutive hours –or at the very least four— that’s just not possible. Although it’s true newborns sleep 16-18 hours per day, as points out Healthline, the unfortunate reality is that it’s not necessarily in a row. Sometimes, it can be 20 minutes here or up to two hours there if parents are lucky!
It’s hard to constantly hold a newborn even though they might actually sleep a long time cradled in our arms but sometimes, dishes need to get done and we just need a hot minute to ourselves. With that in mind, there are 20 genius ways for any mom (and dad!) to try and get a newborn to fall asleep ASAP.
20 Frequency Following Effect
In a surprisingly helpful YouTube video, award-winning hypnotherapist Scott Sandland shares his 4 hypnotic tricks to get a baby to sleep, among which can be found the Frequency Following Effect.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve dangling a pocket watch in front of your blurry-visioned newborn. “What we want to do is everything we do: our swaying, our rocking, our butt-wiggle, our shushing, our rubbing his fingers. Anything that we do, we start a little bit faster and we just slow it down over time. And we do it intentionally and methodically,” explains Sandland.
This is definitely a very simple but effective method of putting a newborn to sleep as fast as possible.
19 Practice SRD
New mom Karen confided in us the way she used to get her newborn to sleep, which is actually a combination of the previous tip, along with SRD: Swaddle, Rock, and Deposit.
“I used to gently pat our first on my chest & walk back & forth. She liked the gentle movement. After she would fall asleep and I'd put her back in her bassinet. We also started giving her a soother from day one.”
The soother part is a little controversial and if you can get away with not using one, then that can make a world of a difference later on.
18 Grab A Tissue
Although this next one may sound and look a little weird, it’s the kind of thing that desperate parents all over resort to trying. Believe it or not, it does actually work. There are lots of videos of parents attempting the tissue trick on their newborns but it’s Nathan Dailo’s video that stands out the most.
After just five times of gently getting a tissue passed on his face, the little newborn can be seen already start to drift off to la-la land. By the 10th time, he's completely sound asleep.
17 The Kitchen Is More Than Just For Cooking
Lots of parents place a fan in the baby’s nursery or flip on the ceiling fan but sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. With that in mind, a change of scenery can often help as well. Let’s say you have been desperately rocking and swaying your newborn in the nursery for a while already. Your back is starting to cramp up and you need to pee so bad.
Walk over to the kitchen instead and turn on the stove fan. As odd as it may seem, the white noise effect might totally help to finally calm the little tot down!
16 Put The Car Seat On The Dryer
"I put her in her car seat, put the car seat on top of the dryer, and turned it on," revealed an extremely tired mom on Café Mom.
This is pretty much the equivalent of going for a bumpy car ride but if you don’t have access to a car or you don’t trust yourself to go driving around because of how tired you are, then this mom’s trick might be worth a try. It goes without saying that extreme caution needs to be exercised with this one to ensure the baby doesn’t tumble off but it could be worth trying just until the little one finally tuckers out.
Letting a newborn sleep in a car seat also isn’t particularly recommended because as Dr. Harvey Kemp explained to Happiest Baby, “When your baby is seated, her heavy head can fall forward causing difficulty breathing.” So if you try this method, it might be worth trying to transfer him to the crib afterwards. Just maneuver extra slow.
15 Do It Kylie Jenner Style
Taking the baby for a stroller ride features on most newborn guides, both with regards to activities to do with the little one, as well as one of the ways to get them to sleep.
However, as Can Do Kiddo points out, it’s important to avoid the “bad stroller habits even great parents have,” recommending instead that parents “find a stroller that allows you to lay your baby flat until he or she can sit upright with just a little support.”
As great as this advice is, it also won’t hurt your newborn to go for a ride in a non-flat stroller once or twice just until he finally drifts to sleep. Either way, exercise this one with caution.
14 Place, Clip & Walk Away
Many parents clutch their wallets to their chest and stare wide-eyed at the prices of baby swings. While there are some budget-friendly ones, the most popular swings are quite out of this world in price. On the one hand, it’s hard not to go for one of the pricier options because of all the seemingly useful features but on the other, you really do need to just focus on it being able to rock front and back, as well as side-to-side.
With that being said, a baby swing is an absolute must-have tool in the “getting baby to sleep ASAP” arsenal. It’s true that some babies can’t stand the swing but others never want to leave!
13 Leave The Room
Speaking of walking away, sometimes it’s important to do just that!
“It's tempting for parents to stay in the room to help their little-loved ones fall asleep - but once small babies become toddlers, this can pose a problem just a couple of hours down the line when they wake up and find the room empty. They immediately sense that they aren't protected, and call (or scream the house down) for help,” explains The Telegraph.
It can be especially hard for new parents to walk away but while I’m not advocating for the CIO method whatsoever for the newborn stage, it can be worthwhile to place them down and just see if they go to sleep on their own. Sometimes, newborns and babies, in general, will just lay there quietly for a bit, staring up at a mobile and then drift off. It really depends on each baby!
12 …Or Leave The House Completely
At your wit’s end because baby just won’t stop waking every 20-minutes? Welcome to parenthood… just kidding, sort of.
At the end of the day, everyone needs a break sometimes. Whether a mom whose newborn has been latched to her indefinitely since day one or a dad who has been diligently preparing and feeding all the bottles.
No matter which parent needs a break, just go guilt-free. Leave baby with the other partner along with an old shirt for your scent and go grocery-shop alone or just pretend to leave by actually hiding out for a nap in bed with earplugs. The thing with newborns is they quickly get used to the routine and while they might not sleep easily with one parent, they might drift right off with another.
11 Go Chest To Chest
"My husband had to lay my daughter on his chest, lay on the kitchen floor, and spin in circles,” revealed one mom on Café Mom.
While that’s certainly a weird one, chest-to-chest or skin-to-skin has indeed been proven to help babies sleep. Today’s Parent lists this one as one of the “sleep mistakes new parents make” but between me and you, if you’re desperate to get baby to fall asleep now, this one is worth trying.
The American Academy of Pediatrics points this one out as being dangerous. But if let’s say, you have baby sleep on your chest while you play Spider-Man on PS4, then there’s no danger there!
10 The Power Of Scents
Do essential oils actually work? First of all, it depends on the way the oils are made as ones “obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils,” explains Healthline.
Parenting Science reports, “A number of studies have shown that people exposed to the scent of lavender feel more relaxed and spend a greater percentage of time in deep sleep.”
“So if lavender is an effective infant sleep aid, it might be because the fragrance makes parents feel more relaxed – and more likely to behave in ways that keep babies calm,” they also go on to add.
Either way, it’s worth a try! The same goes for chamomile essential oil. Just don’t feed it to baby or apply it on his skin!
9 Got A Phone? Use It!
Up there with using a kitchen fan to get baby to fall asleep, turning on the vacuum is another tried and tested method.
“Your baby loves noise. But not just any noise… white noise. You see, those first nine months of your baby’s life living in its mother’s womb, is time spent in constant noise,” aptly explains Fade Away Sleep Sounds.
While you might feel less-than-economical having the vacuum running for longer than 20 minutes, you can instead download a white noise app like Sound Sleeper and try either the vacuum, hair dryer or simply the fan. Just be careful to place your phone more than a few feet away from baby and not too loud.
8 Play A Game Of ‘Ignore The Newborn’
Once again, we are not advocating for letting a newborn baby cry himself to sleep or anything of the like. The Telegraph explains:
“Small babies don't have a grasp of when it is day and night - but they do understand when mummy and daddy want to play. If your child wakes up crying at 2am in the morning and you respond by energetically trying to entertain them, they'll rightly think that it's time to have fun. Then, when you put them back down again, they'll be awake and confused that you're leaving.
Instead, act calmly and boringly. Feed the child if they need feeding, don't say too much, and try to put them back to bed without too much physical contact.”
7 Equilibrium Disorientation
We already covered the Frequency Following Effect but hypnotherapist Scott Sandland has another tip to quickly help a newborn go to sleep: Equilibrium Disorientation. All you need to do is hold your newborn by the feet and dangle him upside down baby-yoga style… just kidding!
Seriously, don’t do that.
As he cradles his newborn baby boy in the crook of his arm, he explains that he just “wiggles his butt [which] sends just a little bit of wiggling to his head.” It’s nothing dramatic folks! But he does go on to explain that the slight butt and head wiggling makes them go deeper to sleep.
6 Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Ride
We have already covered car seats and stroller but simply taking the baby for a little car ride is another one of those tried and tested methods of getting baby to catch some much-needed ZZZs.
While you wouldn’t want to do this one on a daily basis (gas is expensive, after all!), it can be beneficial on particularly desperate times when baby just won’t stop crying. Again, exercise caution with this one and don’t keep baby in the car seat too long. This one really does only apply for a baby who keeps fighting sleep no matter what. Better yet, attempt the dreaded transfer into the crib once you get back.
5 Forget The Crib, Take Advantage Of Your Own Bed
Co-sleeping; The controversial practice that divides parents either for or against it. According to Kelly Mom, co-sleeping comes with a slew of advantages, mainly because not only parents “often get more sleep” but so do babies!
As scary as it may be to co-sleep with a newborn, the practice hinges on safety. Kelly Mom goes onto explain the mattress should be firm and devoid of any “loose pillows, stuffed animals, or soft blankets near the baby’s face.”
Whether you choose to co-sleep at night or not, getting the baby to sleep on the bed during the day could also prove advantageous while you take advantage of the break to get some chores done or simply watch a movie on Netflix.
4 Let Out Your Inner Beyoncé or Eminem
According to The Telegraph, studies have demonstrated “a significant decrease in heart rate and pain level” at the end of the session involving music.”
That is all the more reason to sing to your baby but it can also have for effect to put him to sleep!
Ivan Hewett, a music critic for Telegraph attested to the fact himself writing, “I can vouch for this effect myself. My daughter suffered from painful colic as a baby, and I remember pacing up and down in the small hours with her on my shoulder, singing, “Horsey, horsey, don’t you stop, just let your hooves go clippety-clop...” It wasn’t a proper lullaby, I know, but she liked it. And it worked: in no time at all I was nodding off, sometimes waking just as I was about to walk into the wall. With her it took a little longer, but it always did the trick in the end.”
Don’t worry if you don’t know any lullabies. If you know all the lyrics to Beyoncé’s "Formation" or Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, then sing whichever to your heart’s content! True story: my own baby was soothed by Eminem’s rapping.
3 Envision Pizza Dough
According to the Baby Sleep Site, “Infant massage really does help babies sleep well! Studies show that infants who are massaged by their parents before bed tend to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and stay asleep longer.”
Wow! Massage your baby while diffusing some lavender or chamomile essential oil and you might just have the sleepiest baby on the block. While baby massage is simple, “it does require that specific techniques be applied in specific ways to specific points on your infant’s body,” also explains Baby Sleep Site.
So grab your phone and open up the trusted YouTube for a quick guide.
2 Three Sheets To The Wind
A milk-sleepy baby is one of the cutest and most precious moments that any parent gets to experience!
“After a good feed, babies act kind of [inebriated] from the milk. So when you rouse your child, her eyes will open – maybe even roll around in a blurry stare – but then she'll probably fall right back asleep,” explains Parents.com.
Getting baby milk-sleepy is hands-down one of the best ways to get him to not only fall asleep but also to stay asleep for a while – a win-win situation! Dreamfeeding is another practice that can be potentially beneficial but it’s important not to keep doing it for too long.
1 A Rule To Never Break
Among all these ways moms can get their newborns to finally get some shut-eye, there is one major rule to remember and never break!
Many moms find themselves conflicted on what to do when their baby sleeps for four hours straight, having just gotten told by the pediatrician to wake them every two to three hours to feed.
It’s one of those being “stuck between a rock and a hard place” moments but as a general rule, never wake a sleeping baby!
Well, almost never. What To Expect states, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waking your baby if he sleeps more than four hours for the first two weeks.”