I am the proud father of a beautiful just-over-3-week-old girl. She has been pretty good up to now in terms of her sleep and feeding cycle. Most of the time, she's asleep, will wake (or be woken) for a change and feed, then she slips right back into sleep by the bottom of the bottle/boob. Most of the time during the day she'll sleep in her Sleepyhead or BabyBjorn chair, and in the evening she will mostly sleep on us skin-on-skin. Then through the night in her moses basket.

However, recently she has become less predictable, and I am certain it's because she is not getting her full amount of naps, or is having them disrupted by us picking her up, moving her, or going out. I have been looking into identifying her sleep cues so that we can see when she needs to go down for a nap. I guess my question is; once she displays these cues (yawning, rubbing eyes, jerking movements etc), what is the course I should put into action in order to quickly get her into a successful nap? Is it different for during the day vs at night (like during the day noises are good, but night there aren't as many)?

As an example, tonight she had an evening feed. She took her usual number of ounces but didn't get milk drunk. But as I was carrying her back up to our bedroom she yawned in my arms. Once I spotted this, I quickly went to her changing table, put on a sleepsuit (she was wearing just a vest up to this point) and put her down in her moses basket in our bedroom. She didn't settle right away, she was a bit wriggly and gurny, and I had to gently rock the basket and for about 60 seconds sshhhh-ed her quite loud. After that she did seem to settle, but was still awake and making little noises and fidgeting for about 5-10 minutes before finally drifting off. The problem with this is I cannot do this at 4am while my wife is sleeping as I do not want to wake her.

I know this probably seems like a pretty simple question, but she didn't come with a manual :)


1 Answer 1


Congratulations on your newborn! I wish I could give you The Routine to put her to sleep without fail, but in my experience (4 kids), there's no such thing. Every baby is different. Things that work for one baby will not work for another one. Case in point: We have twins. They've got totally different characters, and were different from the moment they were born.

Babies are research projects. Try different things, stop doing things that repeatedly fail to work and do whatever seems to work best to get her to sleep. In our case, for 2 of the kids, this meant carrying them around and singing to them for what felt like hours at night. The other two I could rock to sleep in something like a BabyBjorn and then carry to bed once they were asleep. My firstborn would only fall asleep during the day when we took a lenghty walk outside with him and screamed his head off the rest of the time, except when we fed him. It was different for the next two, and almost the same again for the fourth.

It might take a while for you to figure out a routine that works for your baby, and there's no guarantee that this routine will continue to work. But there's really no way around that. If you're unlucky like us, you'll have to deal with a baby that never sleeps for more than 2 hours at a time (even at night), takes about an hour to fall asleep and screams for almost all of its waking moments for seven months straight. From what you write, yours seems to be fairly easy to get to sleep. But it's really all a matter of experimentation and patience.

The problem with this is I cannot do this at 4am while my wife is sleeping as I do not want to wake her.

Maybe letting her fall asleep in another room where she can coo and you can ssshh or sing or rock her to sleep and then transporting her back when she's asleep might work?

Babies are often exhausting for the parents, but the great thing is that it won't last - it gets easier the more experience you have with them and the older they get. So even if you don't find a surefire way to get her to sleep, hang in there!

Just one detail that doesn't have much to do with your actual question:

Most of the time during the day she'll sleep in her Sleepyhead or BabyBjorn chair

AFAIK, it might not be safe to let a baby sleep for longer periods of time in things like unattached car seats and bouncers/chairs (e.g. in a tilted position), especially if they're left unattended. One of the reasons seems to be because the head could fall forward and that will make breathing difficult (or even impossible). I'm aware sleeping recommendations for babies change over time, but I think it's still accepted that the safest sleeping position is flat on babys back, with as little clutter, pillows etc around it as possible (read: none), and no blanket that might move over baby's head. You don't have to obsess over the perfect sleeping arangements - but do reduce the risk of accidental suffocation as much as possible.

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