A mother discovers how to settle a newborn as she leans over her baby in beautiful cot in a bright and airy bedroom
Comfier Parenting by Alex Irving 4 minutes

How to settle a newborn, fast

How to settle a newborn, fast

Ah, the joy of a sleeping baby. There’s nothing quite like it. Because when baby sleeps, you sleep, right? Ha — if only it were that simple.

We know that getting a baby of any age to sleep can be a challenge. But most babies will struggle with sleep at some point in their lives, so it’s important to know that you’re not alone.

To find out more about how to get our newborns to doze off, we caught up with paediatrician Dr Sarah Arachchi to bring you expert advice on how to settle a newborn baby and how to get some of that soothing shut-eye for yourself.

How to put a baby to sleep in 40 seconds

Can it be done? While we would love to say yes, the truth is that most babies will fall asleep when they’re ready, and sometimes it just takes time.

Getting to know your baby and what works best for them will make bedtime much easier.

“Every child is different, and only you will know your own baby,” says Dr Sarah. “I always tell parents to listen to their child’s cues and be guided by what works in their family.”

How to settle your baby

You’re just getting to know your newborn, so there’s no such thing as a sleep routine yet — we hear you. It can be hard knowing where to start at the best of times, but when you’re confused, exhausted and sleep-deprived? It’s no fun.

Before you go from here to Timbuktu to try and get baby to bed down, here are some basic questions you can ask to better understand the inner world of your tiny tot:

🍼 Are they tired? Signs of tiredness include yawning, grizzling, snuggling in, fussiness and crying.

🍼 Are they hungry? Make sure your baby is well-fed before you try to put them down for sleep.

🍼 Do they need changing? Make sure your baby has a clean, dry nappy.

🍼 Is their room calm and comfortable? A quiet, dark environment often helps babies to settle.

While these questions help us get to the bottom of many sleep-related mishaps, every baby is different, so what works for a newborn might not work for a toddler.

To help us help our little bubs get through the night, Dr Sarah talks us through how we can settle our little ones no matter their age.

How to settle a newborn

When babies are still very small, rocking and feeding is often the best technique for getting them to sleep. But Dr Sarah reminds us that a bit of extra help can go a long way.

There are no ‘bad habits’ at this stage and it’s recommended to do what works best for you and your baby. 

“If you’re struggling with sleep and a baby is frequently waking, it’s important to seek medical attention or chat with your doctor or health nurse, as it can be taxing on the baby and parents.”

How to settle a baby at 3 to 6 months

When your baby reaches the 3-month mark, some parents might start to think about their ‘awake’ and ‘sleep times’. Awake time should be roughly 2 hours for most babies at this age. 

It’s a good idea to start a routine of feed, play, sleep, which will help with their overall sleeping habits as babies love routine. 

“Keep in mind there is a 4-month sleep regression which may occur, but see this as a small bump and keep being consistent in your routine and it should help with establishing positive sleeping habits,” says Dr Sarah. “They are still very small and learning lots of new things so it’s important to be patient and give it time.” 

How to settle a toddler at 6 to 12 months

When your baby reaches the 6-month mark, some parents might try a technique known as controlled comforting. Dr Sarah explains. “Controlled comforting involves going in and out of the room at different intervals and patting bub in the cot to settle them in gently.”

This may not be a preferred approach for every family, so if your baby is struggling to sleep and it’s affecting the wellbeing of your family, speak to your doctor or early childhood health professional. 

A mother helps to settle her newborn in a beautiful, clean nursery
Having a good sleep routine one way parents can help settle their newborns

The importance of a sleep routine

Adults benefit from having good sleep routines, so it’s no surprise that our little tots need the same sort of regularity. While you could argue that eventually all children sleep through the night when they’re ready, routines are still important and usually lie at the heart of good sleeping habits.

“Having a good routine with a consistent sleep environment is one of the single biggest factors to promote good sleep,” says Dr Sarah. “It’s a technique that often creates more success when practised consistently.”

When creating this consistent sleep environment, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the basics. You’ll need a cot for your baby, and the cot will need a good mattress that’s firm and close-fitting for comfort and safety. Dim and quieten the room while they’re nodding off to help signal that it’s time to sleep. And when you’re ready for them to be left alone in their own rooms, white noise or soft music can help them drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Sleep Easy with Koala

Koala’s new Joey range features a cot, kid’s bed and mattresses for your growing baby. Our mattresses are rigorously tested and endorsed, so you can rest as easy as your baby. With options suitable for newborns right through to kids aged 12, our mattresses are designed with safety, superior sleep and late-night accidents in mind. 

The Joey range also includes a chest of drawers, so you can set up your nursery, Koala style.

We’re also committed to giving you the best sleep and peace of mind you’ve ever had, which is why we worked tirelessly to ensure our Kookaburra Cot and Joey Bed Base meet Red Nose Australia Safer Sleep criteria, and we offer 120-night trial on all our products (even the little ones!). 

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