50 Tricks to Try When You Can't Get Your Baby to Sleep

baby sleeping mom shoulder

Sleep. We need it. And even four cups of coffee doesn't give you what a good night's rest does. Not to mention the fact that baby needs to sleep so she can grow and thrive and not have cranky days. We've gathered up all the gimmicks and tricks to help a baby sleep ... because we know you're tired and would like to have all your options laid out in front of you.


Perhaps you already do some of these -- but some nights, the old standbys just don't seem to work, and you need to try something new. Try them all (or hopefully you don't have to) and see which combo works for your little one. We're hoping for some results ... and sweet dreams.

1. A nice stroller ride. Kids love motion ... and at least you'll get some fresh air, maybe some vitamin D.

2. Or a drive in the car ... around the block ... 57 times.

3. Baby yoga. Try some moves about an hour before bedtime. It could be the perfect wind-down to a busy day of scooting about.

4. Baby Mozart. Classical music puts us to sleep and it really works on some babes.

5. This song -- created by neuroscientists and researchers to put little ones to sleep. We suddenly want a nap ourselves.

6. Pretending you're asleep next to your baby. Make sure she's really asleep before you get up and walk away, or you'll have to try the whole ruse all over again. Third time might be the charm!

7. Comfort nursing. 

8. Another go of the mobile.

9. White noise. 

10. Try alternating soothing motions. Rock, then gentle bounce, then sway, rock, then gentle bounce, then sway ....

11. Swaddle that baby!

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12. Run the vacuum. Some babies love that sound and find it oh so soothing.

13. Or turn on a fan.

14. Get a light that projects stars on the ceiling. Baby may stare at them into slumber.

15. Lavender oil. Try spraying a little bit in the room.

16. Gently rubbing baby's forehead.

17. Softly stroking baby's cheek.

18. Let baby lie on your chest, skin to skin.

19. Give baby a ride in the swing.

20. Give baby a warm bath a little bit before bedtime.

21. Try this hold to get baby to sleep. We think this mom has magic hands. We want magic hands!

22. Avoid eye contact. Seriously, don't look baby in the eyes when it's time for bed. It's just too exciting for her.

23. Put a gentle hand on baby's tummy and the top of her head. Oh so soothing.

24. Adjust the thermostat. Keep the room cool -- not cold, not warm. 

25. Give baby her paci. Binkies are sometimes sleep's best friend.

26. But if baby uses a binky and isn't sleeping, try going without it. 

More from CafeMom: Here's the Secret to Raising a Happy Baby -- You're Probably Already Doing It

27. Baby massage -- we're always tired after a massage, so why wouldn't baby be?

28. Read to baby in your best Bob Ross (aka monotone) voice. 

29. Sing. Don't worry if you're not at the John Legend caliber; just sing softly. Baby loves your voice.

30. If you're able to, try having someone else put baby to bed. Sometimes Mama is just too exciting.

31. Try hypnosis. Some pediatricians use this method to calm their youngest patients.

32. Set a rhythm for the day. Wake, eat, play, nap, eat, play, sleep. Repeat. Keeping a schedule helps some little ones sleep when they should sleep.

33. Move the crib to a different location in the room. Maybe baby just isn't feeling the feng shui of the room?

34. Hold her hand. So simple to do, so sweet, and sometimes so effective. It lets baby know you're there. 

35. Reduce daytime napping. We know, we know! You need those naps, but you need nighttime sleeping more.

36. Cut out caffeine if you're breastfeeding. 

37. Hum. It mimics the sound of your voice when baby was in the womb.

38. Use a tissue. It works for this baby!

39. Put baby in PJs made of all-natural fibers. Make sure there are no tags or scratchy parts in what he's wearing.

40. Get rid of clutter. In the crib and out. We sure don't feel calm when there's a mess everywhere! Neatness might help baby, too.

41. Wear your baby. The sling or carrier isn't for all night but it might help baby get to the snooze state. Then you can gently place him in the crib.

42. Put a ticking clock in baby's room. It replicates the sound of a heartbeat.

43. Invite your "baby whisperer" friend or relative over. Seriously. If it works, you can mimic everything he or she does to attempt on your own.

44. Slightly warm the sheets before putting baby to bed. The shock of cold sheets could jolt baby awake.

45. Read this book -- The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep -- created by a behavioral psychologist and linguist that helps kids go to dreamland. Parents swear by it.

46. Run a hairdryer. Not at baby's hair, but nearby. Baby may find the sound just the trick to help her fall asleep.

47. Or the clothes dryer. Some parents say putting baby in their car seat or bassinet and then in the laundry room (with you there with them, holding on to the seat) is like a lullaby. 

48. Squirt breast milk on her. They say this breast milk cures everything, so maybe it's the magic thing for sleep too? Desperate times. But really, try a tiny feeding ... might be just the trick.

49. Let Grandma take baby for the night. Maybe Grandma can set the tone for a sleep schedule, one you can follow when she's not there.

50. Pray. Maybe the sleep gods and goddesses are listening.

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