Infant Sleep: Dos and Don’ts

As a new parent (or parent again), the common worry is not being able to get enough sleep. Sleep is crucial! I typically get 9-11 hours of sleep a night (no, I’m not joking); however, I recently started caring for 2 newborn twins a few nights a week, which sparked a desire to share the dos and don’t of infant sleep with you all. 

Sleeping baby with chelsea vail

First thing’s first- do NOT expect your babies to “sleep through the night” or even sleep longer than 3 hours, the first few weeks, or even months. Babies need food! Their only job right now is to grow, which means they need to eat and sleep; that’s it.

(Instant Baby Sleep Secret)

What do I do?

1. Create appropriate daytime and nightime environments

Daytime: open the blinds to let natural light in, go about your business talking, cooking, doing laundry, etc., and keep feeding ’round the clock (on demand)

Nighttime: the nursery or bedroom should be DARK, warm, and have a white noise machine on full blast (this recreates the sounds of the womb)

2. Swaddle tight!

I personally love Woombie swaddles and Mod S’wads. If you have a Summer Infant Swaddle or Swaddle Pod be aware that the velcro is loud and likely to wake baby during nighttime changing. Also, the fit of these swaddles can be poor so you may need to double swaddle by using a breathable blanket first.

Chelsea Vail, newborn care expert

3. Feed before they’re hungry

Yes, you’re tired and you’re hoping they’ll sleep 4 hours…let’s be real, you’re hoping they’ll sleep 8 hours; however, if you don’t feed them every 2 hours (newborns) or every 3 hours (if that’s their schedule), you’ll be sorry. They will wake up MAD and you won’t be ready with a warm bottle or they could have difficulty latchingbecause they’re so pissed off.

4. Nighttime is business time

We all love babies (if you don’t, get the hell off my blog, lol), but it’s important not to interract too much at night. Keep stimulation to a minimum. Pick up, feed, burp, change, swaddle, put down. Repeat a few hours later.

NOTE: “Sleeping through the night” is technically 5 hours so pat yourself on the back when they reach that long between feeds. They’ll eventually do 10-12, but only when they’re no longer infants.

 What DON’T I do?

Don’t pick them up everytime they grunt or fuss; this doesn’t mean they’re awake. Babies are still learning how to sleep and it ain’t always pretty. They tend to channel their inner “Master P” (uhh, uhhh, na na na na)

Don’t fall asleep with them in a chair or on a couch (SIDS risk)

Don’t stare at the monitor all night! In fact, get rid of the monitor. You will hear your baby when they really need you. You’re feeding them in a few hours anyway.

Don’t lose sleep over SIDS; just follow the rules and then go to bed. A breastfed, swaddled tight, baby on their back in an EMPTY crib will be fine.

Don’t be afraid to put them in the swing or bouncer overnight as long as they’re not chin-to chest.

My favorite gear for infant sleep?



Zipper footie pajamas

Mimo Baby Smart Monitor

4Moms Rockaroo or Mamaroo

Gas free bottle like a Mimijumi

Cloth diapers (WAY more absorbant)

Crane Humidifier (infants are nasal breathers)

Sleep train: Wait until they’re 10-14lbs or 2 months+, gradually increase feeds by 20% and begin to space out more time between feeds.

Need a sleep coach? Whole Heart has the best Sleep Coach in Austin! Click here to get in touch with her.

Shhh, I’ve got the secret here to get your baby to sleep instantly. It’s a little unconventional but…it beats crying it out. Click play and watch your baby slip away into dreamland. Here

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