How To Put A Fussy Newborn To Sleep

Can You Sleep Train A Newborn

How to Get a Colicky Baby to Sleep- Pregnancy & Parenting- ModernMom

This all depends on the definition of sleep train. If the term sleep train conjures up visions of strict schedules and and leaving her to cry herself to sleep in an attempt to teach her to self-settle, then no, definitely not.

But encouraging good sleep habits, gently from the get-go can pay dividends. Some class this as sleep training so here were talking things like starting a bedtime routine and waking baby from day naps, both so she can eat and doesnt sleep too much during the day . Oh, and lets not forget trying to get that newborn to sleep in a bassinet.

For my top 10 gentle, no tears newborn sleep tips check out: How to get your baby to sleep through the night: 10 steps for an awesome nights sleep, no cry-it-out

Try The 5 Ss From The Happiest Baby On The Block

When I was pregnant, I read Harvey Karps famous book, The Happiest Baby On The Block, and I always recommend to my friends to do the same. Its a very simple read that is packed full of information, and theres also a DVD which Ive heard is extremely helpful . Karps method is based on implementing 5 common actions to soothe your fussy baby: swaddling, placing your baby on their side, shushing, swinging and sucking. The biggest emphasis is placed on swaddling first, because it gives your newborn a sense of security that mimics the feeling of being in the womb. Now, we know not all babies love being swaddled, and thats why there are 4 more Ss that almost always work in some form. You dont need any special equipment and even in a sleep deprived state, you can usually remember a few of them!

Remove Anything That May Be Causing Stimulation

Lights, loud noises, and being around a lot of people will distract baby, making it harder for him to relax and fall asleep.

You will need to retreat to a quiet, dark room so that your baby can begin to relax and get ready for bed. This is one of the best approaches for how to calm an overtired baby.

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Pillows And Extra Bedding

Pillows are not necessary for babies they increase the risk of sudden death because they can cover the babys face or cause overheating. Older babies can climb on them and get out of the cot.

As a general rule, dont introduce a pillow until your child starts to sleep in a bed.

Dont leave toys or stuffed animals in the cot with a sleeping child.

Why Does My Newborn Only Sleep When Held

How to Calm a Fussy Baby, Quickly

Now, the easy answer to this question is because your child is used to it. But thats not the only thing to consideryou are also used to it. A lot of parents wouldnt feel comfortable with their babies falling asleep anywhere but in their arms.

If sleeping in your arms is a habit, it can be hard for baby to fall or stay asleep by themselves . There is nothing wrong with cuddling your newbornyou truly cant spoil thembut for you to get the rest that you need, you might need your arms free.

You can start small by putting your baby down in their crib when they are very drowsy but still awake for one nap a day. The more you do this, the more that they will get used to being able to fall asleep and stay asleep in their own space. While older children can be sleep-trained, newborns should not be, so if your baby seems like they are in distress, dont be afraid to soothe them.

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When Should I Seek A Doctors Help

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby seems to be extremely fussy/irritable or cannot be soothed he/she may have a medical problem such as colic or reflux .
  • Your baby appears to have a breathing problem.
  • Your baby has a difficult time being awakened from sleep.
  • Your baby is uninterested in feeding or persistently shies away from activity.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2020.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Accessed 3/23/2020.
  • National Sleep Foundation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 3/23/2020.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Calming Down Your Fussy Baby At Night

A fussy baby at night is not unusual. In fact, you may feel that you have no right to complain about what you assume is a normal stage of childhood. while it is perfectly normal for your child to have an occasional rough night, there are also some signs that a fussy baby at night is actually a sign something else may be going on.

If your baby has been sleeping through the night and suddenly begins waking, or has been sleeping for long, uninterrupted stretches and now is reverting to waking up more frequently, you should consider that something may be upsetting his sleep patterns. While babies need less sleep the older they get, the normal development is to sleep less during the day and extend the nighttime sleep pattern. The sudden switch to having a fussy baby at night may signal one of many potential issues.

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Gripe Water Is Your New Bff

A common problem with newborns is gas. Gas is very common with newborns because their body is just learning and getting used to digesting and processing food. This is a new experience for them. They also do not have the ability to express gas themselves, they need help from mom. It is always important to make sure that the baby is burped in the middle of a feeding and after to try and get rid of the trapped air.

If this doesnt work, or if the baby is having a hard time expelling gas, Gripe water may be your new best friend. Gripe water should only be given to newborns over 1-month and it is a great, all-natural, way to settle down any upset stomachs.

Soothing/calming & Settling Your Newborn In The Bassinet Instead Of Your Arms Eliminating The Put Down

How To Get Your Fussy, Crying Baby Or Kids To Sleep For Nap Or To Bed For The Night

Ive possibly saved the best until last here if you can put this one into practice, youll be away. Literally and metaphorically. This one eliminates the need to put baby down at all. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense: why try to transfer your newborn while asleep, why not put her in the bassinet and then help her settle?

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Conditioning Baby To Fall Asleep

Sleep is not a state you can force your baby into. Sleep must naturally overtake your baby. Your nighttime parenting role is to set the conditions that make sleep attractive and to present cues that suggest to baby that sleep is expected. Try the following sleep tight tips, which may vary at different stages in your babys development. What doesnt work one week may work the next.

Get baby used to a variety of sleep associations

The way an infant goes to sleep at night is the way she expects to go back to sleep when she awakens. So, if your infant is always rocked or nursed to sleep, she will expect to be rocked or nursed back to sleep. Sometimes nurse her off to sleep, sometimes rock her off to sleep, sometimes sing her off to sleep, and sometimes use tape recordings, and switch off with your spouse on putting her to bed. There are two schools of thought on the best way to put babies to sleep: the parent-soothing method and the self-soothing method. Both have advantages and possible disadvantages:

1. Parent-soothing method. When baby is ready to sleep, a parent or other caregiver helps baby make a comfortable transition from being awake to falling asleep, usually by nursing, rocking, singing, or whatever comforting techniques work.


Baby learns a healthy sleep attitude that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in.

Creates fond memories about being parented to sleep.

Builds parent-infant trust


Warm Bath With Products That Contain Lavender

During babys actual bedtime, you should consider bathing him with products that contain lavender.

Lavender produces calming sedative effects which can help baby relax and encourage him to sleep. Studies have shown that lavender can actually slow the activity of the nervous system resulting in better sleep, improved mood and lower stress levels.

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Offer Your Baby A Pacifier

Research has shown that a pacifier can help calm your baby at night and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome . If youâre breastfeeding your baby, wait until heâs about 3 to 4 weeks old before offering a pacifier. If your babyâs pacifier falls out while heâs sleeping, thereâs no need to put it back in his mouth.Sucking the tip of a clean finger can also serve as comfort. However, donât give your baby a bottle of breast milk or formula to fall asleep with. The milk can pool in his mouth, and this can lead to dental decay and ear infections.

How Do I Teach My Baby To Self Settle

How to Get a Newborn to Sleep at Night (9 Tips)

Create a calm sleep environment

  • Create a calm sleep environment. …
  • In the first month, use a swaddle or a baby sleep sack, this helps create a cosy warm space for your baby. …
  • Guide your baby to self settle: …
  • If your baby doesn’t settle then try patting and singing to them in the cot for a few minutes.
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    Addressing Fussiness By Age

    Babies can change so much week by week. While they may not necessarily grow out of fussiness just because theyve hit a new phase during the first year, knowing what babies need based on age can be helpful. The most significant fussiness factor parents can control is sleep. So heres a sleep cheat sheet:

    0-3 Months: 14-17 hours of sleep.

    4-12 Months: 12-16 hours of sleep.

    Sleep times account for full daytime and nighttime sleep in 24 hours. For babies under six months of age, sleep should be nearly evenly divided between day and nighttime hours. However, babies should begin to slide toward shorter daytime naps as the months go on. For instance, a baby at six months should be getting 10 hours of sleep per night with four hours of daytime napping sprinkled in!

    Emphasising The Difference Between Night And Day

    From 3-4 months of age, babies start to have their longest sleep at night. Here are some things you can do to help your baby get used to the idea that night is different from day and that night is a good time to sleep:

    • During the night, keep the room dark or dimly lit and quiet.
    • Use a dim light when you attend to your baby during the night.
    • At night, respond to your babys cries quickly and settle or feed baby as soon as you can.
    • Give night-time feeds in the bedroom. This helps to keep these feeds brief and make them different from daytime feeds.
    • At night try to be soothing and quiet when youre with your baby. Keep play for daytime.

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    How To Banish Evening Fussiness

    Theres no quick fix for The Witching Hour, unfortunately. Its something that gets better with time , but how are parents supposed to survive until then?

    Here are some simple techniques that can help alleviate fussy newborn behavior

    For more help with your newborn, you may be interested in these newborn sleep resources:

    Put Him In A Baby Carrier

    How to put a crying baby to sleep in 1 minute

    Baby carriers are currently all-the-rage in the U.S. Not only do they free your hands up so that you can still get some work done around the house, but babies love the closeness and have the tendency to fall asleep in them.

    Your warmth, the sound of your heart beat, and the semi-swaddled constriction will undoubtedly soothe your baby and relax him enough so that hell finally fall asleep.

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    Take A Walk With Your Little One:

    Change of environment is a good way to reduce overstimulation. If the baby is fussy at one place, try walking with them at another place.

    Rhythmic changes during walking is also a game-changer. Bonus points if you accompany another adult while walking. This will help prevail over the sanity of your child.

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    A Few More Tips To Get Your Newborn Sleeping On Their Own

    Getting your baby to sleep without being held isnt easy. But sooner or later, youre going to need them to know how to sleep in their own bed.

    Set Realistic Expectations

    Be as mentally prepared for the evening as you can be.

    It can be distressing to hear the sound of your young child cry, and youre going to be up every 20 minutes in the middle of the night as they wake over and over again.

    This is a stressful time in the parenting journey. Set realistic expectations so you dont get too frustrated.

    Dont Give Up

    Whatever you do, remember that for some babies, sleeping is a challenge, and for the right technique to work you need to apply it consistently and with patience.

    It may take combining a few of the tips we have described here, along with a few weeks of practice, until you really begin to see a difference in how long your baby sleeps for.

    Small Victories!

    Celebrate the small wins you have. If your baby would previously only sleep for 10 minutes without being held and will now sleep without being held for 90 minutes? VICTORY!

    Continue with the small steps of progress and that long-awaited sleeping through the night will come, eventually!

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    When Tummy Distress Causes A Fussy Baby

    Some babies experience gas and reflux while their digestive symptoms balance. Breastfeeding babies also tend to swallow air when gulping milk that can lead to painful gas bubbles. Burping can help. While digestive issues shouldnt cause concern as long as your baby is eating, producing wet diapers, and gaining weight, its still a good idea to discuss this with your pediatrician.

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