Sleep

Baby bedtime mistakes can keep your whole family up through the night.
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9 Bedtime Mistakes That Are Keeping Your Baby Awake & How To Fix Them

Simple things that lead to more sleep.

Here’s the thing: When your baby will start sleeping through the night can be pretty unpredictable. Some little ones are born to snooze while others just take longer to find their (Circadian) rhythm. But if you’re in the thick of sleepless nights, it’s worthwhile to make sure you’re not making any big bedtime mistakes and trying all the sleeping hacks available to put baby to sleep.

When your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, or is having trouble drifting off in the first place, it can be frustrating for your friends with excellent sleepers to chime in with, “Have you tried a little cereal in the bottle?” Or, “Are you using a white noise machine?” But maybe one of them will help you find the thing that works, or you’ll come across a product that solves your problem that you didn’t even know existed. Sometimes, one purchase can really change the game.

Some of the most common bedtime and sleep routine mistakes parents make are simple to fix. Maybe the tip will come from a well-meaning friend or from an article like this. Just keep nodding through the advice and looking up all the things. You’re doing great, and your baby will sleep someday.

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1

MISTAKE: Fumbling with formula at 2 a.m.

SOLUTION: Pre-portion your powder.

Pros: It’s dishwasher-safe if placed in the top rack.

Cons: You have to line the lid up with the compartments underneath, or powder may move around inside.

If your baby wakes to eat at night, you want to start feeding them before they become too alert. But scooping formula and pouring water after just being ripped from your own REM cycle is... a challenge. Having your formula powder pre-portioned in a Munchkin Formula Dispenser, and your water already in the bottle, saves a lot of steps and time.

Review: “Wish I had one with my first child. I found it incredibly helpful when making bottles half-asleep in the middle of the night, no more wondering how may scoops I had put in the bottle and having to dump it because I couldn't remember. I just pre measured all my formula and water for night feedings and was able to dump and mix without any thought, it was a life saver for all of us.”

2

MISTAKE: Not checking the temperature of your baby’s room.

SOLUTION: Stick a thermometer near their crib.

Pros: It has three mounting options if you want to keep it out of baby’s reach.

Cons: Requires AAA batteries.

Some studies suggest the ideal temperature of your baby’s sleep space is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. While you can obviously set the thermostat, people in older homes or with lots of windows may find the actual temp of a room differs from that. A Digital Indoor Thermometer like ThermoPro’s can tell you exactly what it feels like in your baby’s room at any time of day.

Review: “I tested these, I have window unit AC in my house and a newborn baby, so I put two in different rooms so i can make sure my baby stays cool. I tested it against my Honeywell thermostat and it read slightly lower because it reads the point temperature (Example 23 ".5"). In my own personal experience, it works well.”

3

MISTAKE: Losing pacifiers in the dark.

SOLUTION: Choose glow-in-the dark soothers.

Pros: They come with a sterilizer case and you won’t have to flip on a flashlight to go looking for it in the middle of the night.

Cons: You will need to size up when baby is around 6 months old.

If your baby sleeps with a pacifier, you know there’s nothing worse than when it falls out at night and you’re running your hands all over the bassinet to find it. MAM’s Night Pacifiers have a glow-in-the-dark so they’re easier to spot in the middle of the night. They’re BPA-free, and the little openings allow baby’s skin to breathe (no drool rashes here, thanks).

Review: “Even if it's been hours since the pacifier has been exposed to light, it still emits a decent glow so you can locate it in the darkest of rooms. I only buy the glow in the dark pacifiers now. Unlike many other pacifiers MAM pacifiers can be put in two ways.... there is no ‘right side’ up. This makes giving it to baby in the middle of the night that much easier. I love MAM and will continue to buy these for my babies!”

4

MISTAKE: Helping baby wind down before bedtime.

SOLUTION: Give baby a massage with relaxing lavender.

Pros: The lotion is free of parabens, phthalates, steroids, and phenoxyethanol.

Cons: Because of the fragrance, it may be irritating to sensitive skin.

Who wouldn’t love a massage each night before bed? Well, babies like them too, and adding a two-minute rub down to their bedtime routine might help them drift off. Aveeno’s Baby Calming Comfort Moisturizing Lotion includes a soothing lavender scent to promote relaxation while moisturizing skin.

Review: “We use this lotion every night as part of our son's night time routine. I don't know if the smell is relaxing or the massage with the lotion is the trick, but it puts our son to sleep every night! We change his diaper, do a lotion massage, put on PJ's, read his books and he falls right to sleep.”

5

MISTAKE: Being inconsistent about bedtime.

SOLUTION: Have a predictable routine.

Pros: This is a classic story, and the book can be handed down if it survives that long.

Cons: It’s not a board book, so babies can rip the pages.

While you may not think reading to your baby has much impact when they’re a newborn, just going through the same motions in the same order each night can help cue them that, yep, it’s bedtime again. Goodnight Moon was published in 1947 so chances are you read it as a kid too. It’s simple, soothing, and you’ll probably have it memorized after a week or two.

Review: “Such a great book and the perfect bedtime story. I used to read it to my kids and just bought it for my grandson. It’s a calming story that helps the kids settle down when it’s time to go to bed.”

6

MISTAKE: Letting household noise disturb baby’s slumber.

SOLUTION: Use a white noise machine.

Pros: It plugs in to an outlet or it can be powered by four AA batteries.

Cons: Reviewers say the volume knob stops working after a year or so.

There are countless white noise machines for babies on the market, and for good reason — they can help baby sleep and drown out other household noise (hey, not everyone can go to bed at 8 p.m.). The HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine has six sound options, can run continuously or be set on a timer, and is small enough to move around wherever your baby is sleeping.

Review: “My baby has noticeably been taking his full 2-hour daytime naps after I started using this machine - for the stream/white noise sounds. I sleep in the same room with my baby and have this running all night - I think it helps me sleep better too. The intermittent waking up that my baby had during his night sleep has reduced after I started using this machine. It calms him down immediately as he wakes up in the middle of the night.”

7

MISTAKE: Using blankets, which may not be safe.

SOLUTION: Keep baby warm with a sleep sack.

Pros: The two-way zipper makes it easy to do diaper changes overnight without uncovering baby’s upper body.

Cons: The sizes only go up to 6 to 9 months.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using loose blankets while babies are sleeping because they increase the risk of SIDS (and honestly, they don’t stay on anyway). The Simple Joys by Carter's Unisex Babies' Cotton Sleeveless Sleepbag Wearable Blankets are the perfect solution. They stay on securely so no matter how much your baby wiggles around, they’ll stay covered. But the shirt-like fit ensures no excess fabric will gather around your little one’s face.

Review: “Love the two way zip! Most other sleep sacks I have use a zipper that starts at the top that you have to put together yourself. That gets much harder when you have a squirmy older baby, and since we don’t do nighttime diaper changes anymore, we didn’t really need something that zipped from the bottom up. I like the two way zipper that starts at the bottom here. Also a great deal for the price!”

8

MISTAKE: Letting the light in day or night.

SOLUTION: Hang blackout curtains.

Pros: You can choose whether you want a rod pocket or grommet hangers.

Cons: They’re supposed to be machine-washable, but reviewers recommend spot cleaning.

With more than 39,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating, the Amazon Basics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains are a safe bet when it comes to keeping the light out of your baby’s room. They’re available in 21 colors and a variety of widths and lengths to fit any style and window size. These are especially helpful during the day, if Baby absolutely refuses to take a nap when it’s light out.

Review: “I am in love with these curtains! I ordered these curtains as I was looking for something inexpensive that could block out all light for the window in my daughter's nursery. The window is directly above her crib so I needed to make sure that the curtains would cancel out all light and heat for my baby when she takes naps. Seeing as they were very cheap, I did not expect them to be so gorgeous hung up! They also block out almost 100% of the light from the room!”

9

MISTAKE: Running into Baby’s room every time they stir.

SOLUTION: Check the monitor first.

Pros: It also monitors the temperature in your baby’s room.

Cons: The camera doesn’t pan remotely.

It’s natural to want to run into your baby’s room every time you hear them stir (and if you’re worried about them, always go). But if your little one is a noisy sleeper or you’re trying to see if they’ll resettle on their own, a video monitor is priceless. The ANMEATE Video Baby Monitor with Digital Camera lets you see what’s going on without having to enter baby’s room, potentially waking them up even more.

Review: “My child is 3 1/2 and we have owned a baby monitor since she was born. We have gone through 2 monitors so far and this one, is our 3rd. In comparison, this monitor far surpasses the others we have owned. Pros: 1) It's compact which I like a lot. You don't have to carry a clunky object around the house. 2) The screen doesn't come on unless you want it to! You can black out the screen but still hear your little one. 3) The picture quality is great. With the others we have owned, if it was just getting dark outside, the screen would be black and fuzzy and you couldn't see anything. 4) This monitor doesn't have a physical/tangible antenna so there are no worries about breaking it off.”

While none of these products (or any others, for that matter) are guaranteed to get your baby sleeping through the night, they certainly can’t hurt. At least if you’ve covered all your bases — like white noise, room temperature, and safe sleep — you know your baby is sleeping comfortably. One day soon, you will too.