One of the hardest things for new parents is getting their baby to have good sleep habits while dealing with sleep deprivation. Many sleep training methods will tell you to put your baby asleep when they are awake but drowsy. By now, you are wondering how to put baby to sleep awake. Is that even possible? Putting your baby to sleep while still awake and alert can be challenging for many parents.
As a new parent, it almost seems as if you will never sleep again, let alone get to sleep for longer stretches. It is often difficult to know when it is the right time to put your baby down for a nap time or bedtime, as well as how best to do so without causing distress.
I am here to tell you; however, it is not impossible. Getting your baby to sleep for long periods and in their own bed is possible.
Parents can use some tried-and-true techniques to help their little ones relax and drift off into peaceful deep sleep. In this blog post, we will discuss some methods that have been proven effective for soothing babies’ sleep patterns that, include falling asleep while still awake and alert.
Best Way to Establish Healthy Sleep Habits for Baby
The main reason any parent decides to try to sleep train their baby is to get them to sleep at night time without a lot of fuss. To get your baby to sleep, they must have good sleep habits. Good sleep habits improve their sleep cycles and ensure their sleep associations are positive. Establishing healthy sleep habits for a baby is also essential for their physical and mental development.
To do so, parents should create a consistent bedtime routine that includes calming activities such as reading, singing lullabies, or taking a warm bath. This will help the baby recognize when it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. It is also a good idea to keep any nighttime feedings dim and quiet, so they don’t think it is time to wake up.
Healthy sleep habits can also help babies regulate their circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is the body’s natural 24-hour clock that regulates sleep and wakefulness. To encourage healthy circadian rhythms, parents can establish a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for their baby each day.
This also helps when the baby naps. This cannot be easy to do with a newborn baby. However, with consistency and patience over time, having a set routine will be very beneficial. Eventually, your baby will recognize that it is time for bed or nap.
Tips on How to Put Baby to Sleep Awake
Putting a baby to sleep while still awake takes a lot of practice and patience. It will not happen overnight, but it is possible to do. There are many different sleep training methods, and only you know the best plan for you and your baby. However, almost all the sleep training methods want you to start with a routine. Babies thrive on routine because it allows them to anticipate what is next.
Bedtime Routine for Good Sleep Habits
An example of a good bedtime routine for a baby starts with establishing a consistent schedule for winding down and going to bed. This could include reading a storybook, singing lullabies, and talking softly to the baby. Parents should also ensure that the baby’s room temperature is comfortable and not too hot, as this can interfere with the baby’s ability to sleep.
Here is an example of a bedtime routine I used for both of my children until around six months:
- wash up every day- hands, feet, and face/neck
- baby massage
- diaper change
- put on pajamas
- read books
- sing lullaby
- give a bottle or nurse till they start to get tired
- swaddle if they are young enough
- rock them in the dark until they get sleepy
- gently put them in their bed when they are just about to sleep
- turn on the noise machine
Give a Warm Bath
Giving your baby a warm bath before bedtime can be beneficial for relaxing the body and mind. The warmth of the water helps to relax tight muscles and helps to lower the body’s temperature, making it easier for babies to drift off into sleep. I wouldn’t do a bath every day, maybe every other day. When you don’t bathe, you can still use a warm washcloth to wipe them down.
Baby Massage with Coconut Oil
A great way to bond with your baby and help them relax to get ready for bed is to give them a baby massage as the I Love You Massage. Coconut oil is excellent for their skin and perfect to use while giving them a massage. A baby massage can also help promote good digestion and help with gas, which can help them sleep longer.
Use Swaddling and White Noise
Swaddling at night is a great way to help your baby stay comfortable while falling asleep. Wrapping the baby in a lightweight blanket can reduce their startle reflex and keep them feeling secure and warm. Swaddling is only for newborn babies until about four months or until the baby starts to roll over.
Older babies no longer need to be swaddled; however, you can still wrap them in a sleep sack as long as their arms are out. White noise, such as a fan or a sound machine, can also help the baby drift off.
Understand Baby Sleep Cues
Recognizing your baby’s sleep cues is an excellent tool in helping you establish good sleep habits for your baby. There are three different stages of sleep cues you should watch out for. The first stage is when your baby is first getting sleepy. This would be the perfect time to start their bedtime routine.
These signs include:
- staring off- they will be alert but just quietly staring out
- avoidance- they will avoid any interaction and not want to engage with you
- turning of head- they will start to turn their head away from any stimulation
The next stage is when your baby is ready to fall asleep. This is when you should be aiming to put them into their crib to sleep. These signs include:
- pulling their ears
- rubbing eyes
- start to get a little fussy
The next stage is when they are overtired. This means you have missed the initial signs that they are ready to sleep. It is challenging for an overtired baby to sleep in their bed.
At this point, they will need to be calmed down and soothed before they can be put down to sleep. If your baby gets to this stage, it will be challenging to put them to sleep. Don’t let this discourage you from trying again tomorrow. This does not mean that process is not working. Remember, getting them good sleep habits takes a lot of time and patience. Be patient. You got this!
Overtired signs include:
- hysterical crying
- arching their back
- their body becomes rigid
- seems unconsolable
- Duration of Baby Sleep by Months of Age
Parents need to recognize that newborn babies need more sleep than older infants and toddlers. Newborn babies need an average of 14-17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. It is essential to establish a consistent schedule so the baby can learn when it is time for rest and when it is time for play.
A good sleep schedule for newborns would include three naps during the day and one overnight sleep period of 8-10 hours.
Recommended Sleep Requirements by Age
Newborn- 3 months
Newborns need the most amount of sleep. They are usually only awake for feeding and changing and a short playtime before taking short naps until the next changing and feeding.
Infant 4 months-11 months
During this age period, your infant will go through many milestones, which can cause disruptions in their sleep habits. The first sleep regression occurs at around four months, following another at about six months, and again at nine months.
During these regressions, you must remain patient and continue your routine with your baby. In the long run, they will come out of the regressions with better sleep patterns.
Toddlers 1- 3 years
Your toddler will have a sleep regression around 12 months that is sometimes mistaken for them needing to drop a nap. This is not always the case, and you may, in fact, not need to drop to one nap until around 15 months.
At each different stage, you may need to have a new routine for bedtime or at least adjust it for other things they may need. For example, if they are potty training, a new addition to your routine may be sitting on the potty before bed. Or during night wakings, you may also take some time to sit on the potty.
FAQs for Baby’s Sleep
1. At what age should you put your baby to sleep awake?
It is recommended to start putting your baby to sleep while still awake from around 4-6 months of age after they have had enough time to develop good sleeping habits.
You should always ensure that your baby feels safe and secure when falling asleep, and use calming techniques like swaddling or white noise to help them relax before going for the night.
2. Can you put a newborn down awake to sleep?
Yes, it is possible to put a newborn down awake to sleep. However, since newborns need an average of 14-16 hours of sleep in 24 hours, it is essential to establish a consistent schedule so the baby can learn when it is time for sleep and when it is time for play.
Calming techniques like swaddling and white noise can also help the baby relax before going for the night. Additionally, parents should ensure their baby feels safe and secure when falling asleep by providing an appropriate environment with comfortable temperature levels.
3. What is the fastest way to put a baby to sleep?
Establishing a consistent schedule and pre-bedtime routine is the fastest way to put a baby to sleep. This could include activities like reading a storybook, singing lullabies, giving your baby a warm bath and swaddling them in a lightweight blanket, and using white noise such as a fan or sound machine.
Establishing these routines will help your baby recognize when it is time for bed and make it easier for them to fall asleep faster. Additionally, ensuring their environment is comfortable with an appropriate temperature can help babies go down easier.
4. What should you do when your baby wakes in the middle of the night?
When your baby wakes in the middle of the night, it is crucial to remain calm and avoid stimulation. Try calming techniques such as rocking or cuddling them softly, using a pacifier, singing lullabies, or playing soft music to help them relax back into sleep.
If you are breastfeeding, you can also try offering them a feed. It is also essential to make sure that their environment is comfortable with an appropriate temperature level so they can drift off peacefully again without any disruptions.
5. How do I stop my baby from waking up when I put it down?
To stop your baby from waking up when you put them down, it is essential to establish a consistent pre-bedtime routine that signals sleep time. This should include reading stories, giving your baby a warm bath and swaddling them in a lightweight blanket, singing lullabies or playing soft music, and using white noise such as a fan or sound machine.
Doing this will help the baby recognize when it is time for bed and make it easier for them to sleep. Additionally, ensuring their environment is comfortable with an appropriate temperature can help babies drift off peacefully without any disruptions.
Finally, if your baby does wake up when you put them down during the night, try calming techniques such as rocking or cuddling softly or offering milk if you are breastfeeding to help them relax back into sleep again.
Putting your baby down drowsy but awake means you don’t wait until your baby entirely falls asleep before putting them in their sleeping area. Having them be able to go to sleep when they are drowsy but still awake is an essential part of establishing healthy sleep habits.
It can be a daunting task for parents, especially those with a new baby that needs 14-16 hours of sleep in 24 hours. Fortunately, there are several tips and tricks you can use to help make this process easier.
Those tricks include things such as creating a consistent schedule and pre-bedtime routine that signals sleep time, using calming techniques like swaddling or white noise to help them relax before going down for the night, and making sure that their environment is comfortable with an appropriate temperature level. With practice and consistency, these strategies will become second nature, and your little one will soon learn to fall asleep easily on their own!