How to Get Infant to Sleep at Night: Proven Tips & Techniques

how to get infant to sleep at night

Welcome to the world of parenthood! As a new parent, you may be struggling to get your infant to sleep at night. We understand that sleepless nights can be exhausting and overwhelming, but establishing healthy sleep patterns in your little one is crucial for their growth and development.

In this article, we’ll provide you with proven tips and techniques to help your infant sleep better at night. From understanding your baby’s sleep patterns to creating a sleep-friendly environment and establishing a bedtime routine, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Infant Sleep Patterns

Infants have unique sleep patterns that differ from those of adults. They spend more time in active sleep (REM) and less time in quiet sleep (NREM), which can make it challenging for them to sleep for extended periods. Most infants need 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day, but some may require more or less. It is essential to understand your baby’s sleep patterns and needs to provide them with the best possible sleep environment.

Improving infant sleep patterns can be achieved by establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a calming sleep environment, and promoting healthy sleep habits. Factors that can disrupt an infant’s sleep include hunger, discomfort, overstimulation, and illness. Understanding how to address these issues is crucial to promote healthy sleep and ensure your baby is well-rested.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

When it comes to helping your infant sleep better at night, the environment they sleep in can make a big difference. A soothing and comfortable sleep environment can help your baby relax and fall asleep faster. Here are some tips to create a sleep-friendly environment for your baby:

  • Make sure the room is dark and quiet, or use white noise to drown out any distracting sounds.
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, neither too cold nor too hot.
  • Use a comfortable and safe mattress and bedding that fits snugly in the crib.
  • Consider using a swaddle or sleep sack to help your baby feel secure and prevent them from startling themselves awake.
  • Use soft and gentle lighting, such as a dim nightlight, for nighttime feedings and diaper changes.

Creating a sleep-friendly environment can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep and promote longer, more restful sleep. Keep in mind that every baby is different, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your little one.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Creating a consistent bedtime routine is an essential step in promoting healthy sleep habits in your infant. A predictable and calming routine helps signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Here are some step-by-step tips for establishing a bedtime routine:

  1. Choose a consistent time for bedtime and stick to it as closely as possible.
  2. Begin the routine about 30 minutes before the designated bedtime.
  3. Start with a calming activity, such as a warm bath or a massage, to help your baby relax.
  4. Dress your baby in comfortable sleepwear and change their diaper if needed.
  5. Read or sing to your baby to help them wind down further.
  6. Put your baby in their sleep space while they are still drowsy but not fully asleep to encourage self-soothing skills.
  7. Offer a pacifier or soothe with a gentle touch if needed, but avoid creating a sleep association that requires your presence.

Remember, a consistent and calming bedtime routine takes time to establish, and every baby is different. Be patient and flexible, adjusting the routine as needed to meet your baby’s changing needs.

Setting the Right Mood for Sleep

Creating a peaceful atmosphere before bedtime can be essential for helping your infant fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. There are several soothing techniques you can try to create a calming environment for your little one.


Using essential oils can be an effective way to create a relaxing environment for your baby. Lavender oil is known for its soothing properties and can be added to a diffuser or diluted with water in a spray bottle to create a calming mist.

Bath Time

A warm bath before bedtime can be a great way to relax your baby and promote better sleep. Adding a few drops of lavender oil to the water can enhance the calming effect.


A gentle massage before bedtime can help your baby relax and feel more comfortable. Use a natural baby oil and gentle strokes to massage your baby’s arms, legs, and back.


Reading a story or singing a lullaby can be a peaceful way to calm your baby and promote better sleep. Choose gentle and soothing books or songs to help your little one wind down before bedtime.

By incorporating these techniques into your bedtime routine, you can help your infant feel calm and relaxed, setting the stage for a restful night’s sleep.

Managing Feeding and Sleeping Schedule

Establishing a consistent feeding and sleeping schedule is important in promoting healthy sleep habits for your infant. As your child grows, their sleep and feeding patterns will naturally change, but it is important to maintain consistency whenever possible.

Start by paying attention to your infant’s natural sleep and feeding patterns, and try to develop a routine that complements those rhythms. This can help your baby feel more secure and relaxed, which can promote better sleep.

One approach is to feed your baby upon waking up, followed by playtime or other activities. As your infant becomes sleepy, transition to a calming routine, such as bath time or reading a story. Then, put your baby to bed at the same time every night, ensuring your little one is neither too hungry nor too full before sleeping.

When your baby wakes up during the night, keep the lights low and avoid stimulating activities. Instead, offer a feeding or change your baby’s diaper in a quiet and calm manner, falling back into the established routine as quickly as possible. Over time, your baby will learn to associate certain activities with sleep and will be better able to regulate their own sleep schedule.

Using White Noise or Lullabies to Help Baby Sleep

White noise and lullabies can be incredibly effective in helping infants fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. White noise, such as the sound of a fan or a calming static noise, can help block out external noises that may disturb your baby’s sleep. Lullabies, on the other hand, provide a soothing and comfortable environment for your infant, promoting relaxation and sleep.

There are many options for white noise and lullabies, including apps, sound machines, and CDs. Experiment with different sounds and volumes to find what works best for your baby. It’s important to note that while white noise and lullabies can be helpful, it’s still essential to establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a sleep-friendly environment to promote healthy sleep habits in your infant.

However, experts recommend limiting the use of white noise and lullabies to bedtime only, as prolonged exposure to loud noises can potentially damage your baby’s hearing. Additionally, try to avoid placing the sound source too close to your baby’s ears, and keep the volume at a reasonable level.

Overall, white noise and lullabies can be a great addition to your infant’s bedtime routine, promoting relaxation and creating a peaceful atmosphere for sleep.

Promoting Self-Soothing Techniques

Infants have a natural tendency to wake up frequently during the night, seeking comfort and reassurance from their caregivers. However, constantly responding to their cries and needs can create a reliance on external soothing methods, making it difficult for them to self-soothe and go back to sleep on their own.

Here are some strategies you can use to encourage self-soothing in your infant:

  • Place your baby in their crib while drowsy, but not fully asleep. This will help them learn to fall asleep on their own without needing to be rocked, held, or fed.
  • Use a soft and comforting lovey or blanket as a transitional object that your baby can associate with sleep time.
  • Gradually increase the amount of time you wait before responding to your baby’s cries during the night, giving them a chance to learn to settle themselves back to sleep.
  • Consider using a pacifier or thumb-sucking as a self-soothing method, but be aware of the potential negative effects on their dental health and wean them off when appropriate.

Remember, every baby is unique and may respond differently to self-soothing techniques. Be patient with the process and provide consistent support and comfort as your baby learns to develop healthy sleep habits.

Dealing with Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is a common phase that many infants go through around the 4-month mark, where their sleep patterns become disrupted due to their developing brains and bodies. While this can be a challenging period for parents, it’s important to remember that it is usually temporary and can be managed with patience and persistence.

To navigate through sleep regression, try to maintain a consistent sleep routine and environment, keeping things as calm and soothing as possible. Additionally, make sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep, as overtiredness can exacerbate sleep regression. If necessary, adjust their feeding and sleeping schedule to better suit their changing needs.

During this phase, your baby may wake up more frequently throughout the night or have trouble falling asleep on their own. In these situations, try using soothing techniques such as gentle rocking or white noise to help them relax and drift off to sleep. Encouraging self-soothing skills can also be beneficial in the long run, so try giving them a few minutes to self-settle before intervening.

Remember that sleep regression is a normal and common part of infant development, and with patience and consistency, you and your little one can come out the other side with improved sleep habits.

Natural Remedies and Sleep Aids

While there are various over-the-counter sleep aids for infants on the market, many parents prefer to explore natural remedies before turning to medication. Here are some natural sleep aids that may help promote better sleep:

  • Lavender: the scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on infants and promote relaxation before bedtime. You can use lavender essential oil in a diffuser or add a few drops to a warm bath.
  • Massage: gentle massage before bedtime can help soothe infants and promote relaxation. Use a light touch and long strokes to massage their arms, legs, and back. Combine with lavender oil for added relaxation.
  • Music: soft lullabies or gentle music can help create a calm and soothing environment before bedtime. Choose songs with a slow and steady rhythm to help your infant relax and drift off to sleep.
  • Natural Supplements: there are several natural supplements available that parents can use to support their infant’s sleep, such as chamomile and valerian root. However, it’s important to consult a pediatrician before giving your infant any supplements.

It’s important to remember that natural remedies and supplements may not work for every infant and should be used with caution. Always consult a healthcare professional before trying any new sleep aids.

Managing Sleep Associations

As your infant learns to fall asleep on their own, it is important to manage any sleep associations they may develop. Sleep associations are objects or actions that your baby associates with falling asleep, such as nursing, rocking, or a particular pacifier. While these associations may be helpful in the short term, they can become problematic if your baby wakes up during the night and cannot fall back asleep without them.

To manage sleep associations, try to introduce a variety of soothing techniques to your baby’s bedtime routine. This can include gentle rocking, singing lullabies, or using white noise. It is also beneficial to try to put your baby down to sleep when they are drowsy but still awake, rather than waiting until they are fully asleep. This can help them learn to associate their bed with the feeling of falling asleep on their own.

If you find that your baby is having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep without their sleep associations, try gradually weaning them off of them. For example, if your baby relies on nursing to fall asleep, try nursing them until they are drowsy but not fully asleep, and then putting them down to sleep on their own. This may take some time, and you may need to be patient and consistent in your efforts.

Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient and persistent in finding a sleep routine that works for your baby, and gradually introduce changes to help them learn healthy sleep habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Dealing with Night Wakings

It is common for infants to wake up during the night, and it can be challenging for parents to soothe them back to sleep. Here are some strategies to help you manage night wakings:

  1. Check for basic needs: Before assuming your baby needs help falling back asleep, make sure they are not hungry, wet, or uncomfortable. A simple check can eliminate the need for unnecessary interventions.
  2. Use a consistent soothing technique: Find a comforting technique that works for your baby and use it consistently. This can be anything from gently rubbing their back, singing a lullaby, or offering a pacifier.
  3. Avoid overstimulation: Keep the environment calm and quiet during nighttime wakings. Avoid turning on bright lights or engaging in stimulating play that could wake your baby up even more.
  4. Gradual withdrawal: If your baby relies on your presence to fall asleep, gradually withdraw your presence over time to reduce the association. For example, move from holding them until they fall asleep to sitting beside the crib, and then to standing by the door.
  5. Be patient: Night wakings may take time to resolve, and it can be frustrating, but staying patient is important. Remember that every baby is different and may require different strategies to soothe them back to sleep.


Managing night wakings in infants can be challenging, but with patience and a consistent approach, you can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit them for years to come.

Addressing Sleep Troubles and Concerns

As a parent, it can be concerning when your infant experiences sleep troubles, but it’s important to remember that sleep difficulties are common and can be addressed with patience and persistence. Here are some common sleep concerns you may encounter with your baby and some strategies to alleviate them:

Sleep ConcernsStrategies
Night awakeningsTry to soothe your baby back to sleep without picking them up. Use a gentle voice and soft touch. Avoid turning on bright lights or engaging in stimulating activities.
Napping troublesEstablish a consistent nap routine and choose a quiet, calming environment for naptimes. Encourage your baby to self-soothe by gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them alone before going in to comfort them.
Refusing to sleepStick to a consistent bedtime routine and ensure your baby is getting enough physical activity and stimulation during the day. Consider using techniques like white noise or swaddling to help soothe them to sleep.
Sleep regressionStay consistent with your bedtime routines and sleep strategies. Be patient and understanding, as sleep regression may take time to resolve.

Remember, every baby is different and what works for one may not work for another. If you are concerned about your infant’s sleep patterns or have tried several strategies without success, consult with your pediatrician or a sleep specialist for additional guidance.

Consistency and Patience: The Key to Success

Remember, establishing healthy sleep habits for your infant takes time and effort. Each baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Consistency is key when implementing sleep strategies, so stick to your routine as much as possible.

It’s also important to have patience. Progress may be slow, and setbacks will occur. But don’t give up! With time and persistence, you will see improvements in your baby’s sleep patterns.

Be sure to communicate with your partner or support system to ensure you are both on the same page and are consistent in your approach. And remember, always consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s sleep habits.


Establishing healthy sleep habits for your infant is a process that requires consistency, patience, and a lot of trial and error. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every baby, the tips and techniques outlined in this article provide a starting point for creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a bedtime routine, and promoting self-soothing techniques.

Remember that every baby is unique, and progress may take time. It’s important to have realistic expectations and not get discouraged if your little one doesn’t immediately respond to the strategies you try. With persistence and a little bit of luck, you should be able to develop a sleep routine that works for both you and your baby, providing you both with the much-needed rest you need to thrive.


Q: How can I help my infant sleep through the night?

A: There are several proven tips and techniques to help your infant sleep at night. By understanding their sleep patterns, creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a bedtime routine, setting the right mood for sleep, managing feeding and sleeping schedules, using white noise or lullabies, promoting self-soothing techniques, dealing with sleep regression, exploring natural remedies and sleep aids, managing sleep associations, handling night wakings, and addressing common sleep troubles and concerns, you can create a consistent and peaceful sleep routine for your baby.

Q: How can I understand my infant’s sleep patterns and improve them?

A: Understanding your infant’s sleep patterns is crucial in helping them sleep better. By recognizing the typical sleep patterns of infants and addressing any issues they might have, such as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you can implement strategies to improve their sleep patterns and overall sleep quality.

Q: What can I do to create a sleep-friendly environment for my infant?

A: Creating a soothing and comfortable sleep environment is essential for your infant’s sleep. This includes ensuring a cool and dark room, using white noise or lullabies, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, and providing a safe and comfortable sleep surface with appropriate bedding.

Q: How do I establish a bedtime routine for my infant?

A: A bedtime routine is crucial for promoting healthy sleep habits in infants. By following a consistent sequence of soothing activities before bedtime, such as bathing, reading, and gentle massage, you can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep and prepare them for a restful night.

Q: What techniques can I use to set the right mood for sleep?

A: There are various calming techniques you can try to set the right mood for sleep. These may include dimming the lights, engaging in quiet and relaxing activities, using white noise or lullabies, and creating a peaceful atmosphere in the bedroom.

Q: How should I manage my infant’s feeding and sleeping schedule?

A: Establishing a balanced feeding and sleeping schedule is important for your infant’s overall well-being and sleep quality. By ensuring a consistent schedule that allows for adequate feedings and naps throughout the day, you can promote better sleep at night.

Q: Can white noise or lullabies help my baby sleep?

A: Yes, white noise and lullabies can be effective tools in helping infants fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. The rhythmic sounds can create a soothing environment and drown out background noises that may disrupt your baby’s sleep.

Q: How can I promote self-soothing techniques in my infant?

A: Encouraging self-soothing techniques is important for your infant’s sleep independence. By gradually introducing methods like gentle rocking, pacifiers, or comfort items, you can help them develop self-soothing skills and promote longer and more restful sleep.

Q: How do I deal with sleep regression in my infant?

A: Sleep regression is a common phase that infants go through, and it can disrupt their sleep patterns. By understanding the reasons behind sleep regression and implementing strategies such as maintaining a consistent routine, providing comfort, and practicing patience, you can navigate through this phase and maintain healthy sleep habits.

Q: Are there natural remedies or sleep aids that can help my infant sleep?

A: Yes, there are natural remedies and sleep aids that can promote better sleep in infants. These may include techniques like aromatherapy, soothing herbal teas, or gentle massage. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any natural remedies.

Q: How can I manage sleep associations in my infant?

A: Sleep associations are certain cues or habits that your infant associates with falling asleep. Managing sleep associations involves gradually reducing or eliminating negative sleep associations, such as dependency on rocking or nursing, to prevent sleep disruptions and promote independent sleep.

Q: What should I do when my baby wakes up at night?

A: When your baby wakes up at night, it’s important to respond calmly and soothingly. By offering comfort, using gentle techniques to help them return to sleep, and avoiding stimulating activities, you can encourage your infant to settle down and continue sleeping.

Q: How can I address sleep troubles and concerns in my infant?

A: Sleep troubles and concerns in infants are common, but they can be addressed. By identifying the underlying causes, implementing appropriate sleep strategies, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals if needed, you can alleviate sleep troubles and promote better sleep for your baby.

Q: What is the key to success in helping my infant sleep?

A: Consistency and patience are key to achieving successful infant sleep. Each baby is unique, and progress may take time. By consistently implementing sleep strategies and patiently adapting to your baby’s needs, you can establish healthy sleep habits and help them sleep better through the night.

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