Parenting to Sleep

In the beginning, it may seem like there is no rhyme or reason to your baby’s sleep. This is totally normal! As they grow, patterns will emerge that will help you in predicting when baby will nap or go to bed. Until then, it’s never to early to start helping ease them into sleep.

Here are a few techniques families in our community have had success with:

  • Nursing: It’s ok to nurse baby to sleep, then transfer her to her sleep space. When you transfer her, you want to catch her in the deeper part of her sleep cycle (characterized by slower, more rhythmic breathing, little movement, and no eyelid fluttering). Transfer her down very slowly, keeping her close to you until on the sleep surface, then placing a firm weighted hand on her chest or bum to help settle her and lightly rock her if needed before gradually pulling away.

  • Swaddle: Swaddling is your friend until around the time he can roll from back to front and his Moro/startle reflex is gone (around the time he starts to roll).

  • Dancing to sleep: Think about creating a playlist that you will enjoy listening to while you “dance” your baby to sleep - you can try this if she wakes up during the transition from breast to bed, or add it in where it makes sense. Getting immersed in music that you enjoy can actually be meditative and perhaps help relax you too. And it gives you a timed stopping point. You can change the song tempo and slow it down gradually to help your baby wind down with the music. Typically she should be asleep in 4-6 songs, and as she gets older, it will become 2-3 songs, and sometimes only 1 song. You can try to nurse and dance at the same time if she likes it and it will help with the association if Dad wants to do bottle/ dance to sleep.

Once she is asleep, you can transfer her down very slowly, keeping her close to you, then placing a hand on her chest or bum. For the first week or so, you may need to cuddle her down (see “snuggling down”) in bed for a while prior to easing away.

  • Snuggling down: For some babies, the standard fall-to-sleep techniques are not enough. If baby isn’t ready to be put down to sleep alone, try lying down with him next to you and nestle close to him until he is sound asleep. Do this for a week or so, then try again with the above techniques.

  • Baby Wearing: Some babies get so revved up during the day that they can have trouble winding down. Wearing your baby around the house for a half-hour or so before the designated bedtime can help reset her nervous system and ease her into a calm state or even sleep. When she is fully asleep, ease her out of the carrier onto the sleep surface. This can work with you or your husband. If she needs to nurse to sleep, dad can still wear her to get her calm (and give you a break), then pass her over to you to eat/sleep.


Download PDF Version


Product Resources at the 'hood

Order online or stop by our Retail Store for one-on-one help from our expert Retail Mavens. Some of the products we recommend for help with sleep are:

Classes and Groups:

Private Consults - Sleep Consults are available for families who want one-on-one coaching to recognize and develop their baby's sleep patterns. We approach sleep from a whole-family perspective. Rather than focus on sleep training, we help you learn to recognize babies cues and create a developmentally appropriate and family-friendly plan for sleep. 

To schedule a consult, call the front desk at 303.643.5662