I'm a studio and lifestyle photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, kids, and family photography in and around the greater Pittsburgh area.
Getting a baby to sleep is often one of the most challenging things about having a newborn. It’s definitely tough in the early days when you’re exhausted, but don’t worry, this phase won’t last. As a newborn photographer in the Greensburg, PA area (and a mom to three!), I have spent many hours getting babies to sleep. Below are some baby sleep tips that have been proven to help in the studio during newborn sessions and can help you at home too.
Read your baby’s drowsy signs and place them in their crib at the first sign of sleepiness. If you wait too long, your baby may become overtired. It’s challenging for your baby to get to sleep and stay asleep when they’re overtired. When your little one is still, quiet, and staring off into space, it is time to put them to bed.
Blackout drapes and a white-noise machine will help create an atmosphere in their room that is soothing and comforting, like the womb. When properly adjusted, a white noise machine can help mask but not completely eliminate ambient noise and external sounds.
Most people will give you this piece of advice first when you ask how to get your baby to sleep. Even if they don’t like it at first, give it another shot and see what happens. Sleep patterns change so quickly in the first few weeks. As long as your baby is too young to roll over, it is definitely worth a few tries.
The majority of people, especially infants, sleep best in cool environments. For the baby’s room to be as comfortable as possible, try to maintain a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you place your hand on your baby’s chest and it feels warm, they are warm enough.
Looking for new diapers and crib sheets in the middle of the night is a pain, and turning on the lights can completely wake your baby up. If this happens, it can take forever to get them back to sleep. Double layer using a regular crib sheet and a disposable waterproof pad with a sheet on top. Then, you can just remove the top layer and pad and toss the waterproof pad. To avoid having to search through drawers every time your baby’s diaper leaks, keep extra onesie and diapers close at hand.
Because they are wet or hungry, babies frequently wake up in the middle of the night crying. But it can be frustrating for everyone when a baby wakes up in the middle of the night because they can’t find their pacifier. Try stashing a few pacifiers in the crib’s corner, and whenever they misplace one, assist them by guiding their hand toward the corner. This shows them where the pacifiers are and will make it easy for them to quickly go back to sleep. It should take them about a week to figure out this trick.
A baby should always sleep in their crib on their back to ensure their safety. Many babies under 6 months, however, do not nap well there, so don’t be concerned if they fall asleep on your chest, in a car seat, or in a baby carrier. You are not affecting your nighttime sleep by allowing naps to be more sporadic in the first few months. Most babies do not develop a nap schedule until they are 5 or 6 months old, and some nappers resist while others are more adaptable.
Consistency is key! The order is up to you, but most parents include a bath, a story, and one last feeding before bed. A quick massage with lotion can also be a great way to relax your baby before bedtime.
Every baby is unique. It can be stressful to hear other people talk about how well their babies sleep. Tune out the unhelpful comparisons as much as possible. To figure out how to solve your own baby’s sleep problems, you’ll need to do some observation, engage in some trial and error, and have a lot of patience. Just because your baby is having a rough time sleeping now does not mean that will happen forever; this is constantly changing and will fall into place. Patience and consistency are the keys to getting more sleep for the baby and for yourself. Rest assured that this, too, shall pass, and that you will soon be sleeping soundly once again!
As a professional baby and family photographer in the Greensburg, PA area, I ADORE photographing newborns and infants. Let’s chat about a photography session for your little one!