How To Help Calm A Restless Baby To Sleep

Getting your baby to sleep can, in the moment, seem like an impossible task, but rest assured it is very possible! We all know what it’s like to have a tired, restless infant that  just doesn’t seem to want to sleep, even when you know they need to! Rest assured, we can help you get your little one off to dreamland. Here are some tips we think will help you, your baby and whole family start getting better sleep tonight.

#1 Are Their Immediate Needs Met?

Some quick questions to ask yourself when trying to calm a fussy baby, especially when you are trying to put her down for a nap or general sleep time, are: are her needs met right now? The needs we’re talking about are diaper, food, and temperature.

If your baby is fussy and won’t go to sleep, try checking their diaper to see if it is wet or otherwise soiled or even if it has become twisted or uncomfortable. That may be the reason behind the fussiness. 

Has your child fed recently? Maybe they did, but they could still want more. Try giving them more milk to see if they are fussy because they are having a “snack attack.” 

Finally, your baby may be fussy because they are too hot or too cold. Check the temperature in the house. Is the temp cranked up high or low since your baby was last asleep? Is it suddenly colder outside and you forgot to put the heater on? Your baby may be at an uncomfortable temperature which can distract them from falling back asleep and cause fussiness. If all three of these needs are met, then consider the following tips as well. 

#2 Prevent Overtiredness

It may seem counterintuitive, but your baby may be having trouble going to sleep because they are “too” tired. An overtired baby will have trouble going down if they have been kept awake between naps too long. Wake windows vary greatly as a child grows. For instance a 2 week old baby only needs (1) 30-60 minute wake window per day. An 8 week old infant needs (2) primary wake windows that are closer to 60-75 minutes and 1 or 2 shorter 20-30 minutes wake windows. Conversely, a 4 month old baby will have wake windows relatively equal to his or her sleep windows. 

More detailed wake windows are a blog in and of themselves, so if you have questions about where your baby is at, please reach out to us for guidance. Wake windows are so IMPORTANT to help facilitate good sleep! And remember, a short or interrupted nap means that you should start putting your child down again soon to prevent keeping them up too long and risk getting them in an overtired state. 

#3 Leverage Your Home In Every Way Possible

Leverage your home in order to help reduce unneeded stimulation. Take your baby into a dark, quiet room, and hold them and rock them to see if they start to fall asleep. Make sure that your baby’s main sleeping area is far away from the “busier” parts of your home and is dark, quiet, and peaceful. 

You will hear some parents say “I want my baby to sleep anywhere and everywhere”. This is not always up to the parents because some babies CAN NOT handle the added stimulation. Also, just because a baby can sleep in a loud, bright environment, doesn’t mean they should and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality of sleep they will be getting is good. Try to remember those important things.

#4 Swaddle Them

As if babies couldn’t get any cuter, swaddling a baby takes things to a whole new level. Wrapping your baby like a cute little burrito isn’t just great for Instagram likes, it also helps to calm them down and keep them calm and asleep through naptime. Some say that this simulates the 360 degree pressure that they felt in the womb and can be comforting because it is familiar to them. Putting them on their backs will almost assuredly activate their startle reflex. If your baby is startling all throughout their sleep, they will continue to wake.

#5 Use The Four “S’s”

The four “S’s” are:  Swaddle. “Shhing.” Sucking. Swinging and Side Stomach laying. Use that as your checklist to ensure that your child has the best chance of going to sleep. Make sure they are swaddled. Don’t be afraid to “shush” them in a gentle and soothing way. Use long drawn out and quiet “shhhhh” sounds. You can offer a pacifier, just don’t run to replace it if it falls out of your baby’s mouth. Try swinging or big up and down motions (hold baby close) and finally try side stomach laying (not during sleep).

#6 Use Rhythmic Movement To Lull Them To Sleep

Rhythmic movement can also help your child fall asleep faster when they are fussy or restless. Try putting them in a car carrier and walk around the house with them while slowly swinging it as you walk. You can also pack the carrier into your car and drive around the neighborhood a few times to help soothe them as well. You can also hold them or rock them while walking around the house or pacing around their room. 

Parting Thoughts

Getting your restless infant to sleep can definitely be a process with varying challenges. Sometimes this process happens quickly or slowly as each child and family dynamic is different. If you have any questions about getting your baby to sleep, or your baby in general, please reach out to us HERE. We are experts in all things baby (we LOVE them) and sleep and would love to help!


If you have questions about your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help. Please reach out to us here!


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The content contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or to replace the advice of any medical professional. It is based on our opinions and experience working with newborns and their families. Other’s opinions may vary. It does not represent the views of any affiliated organizations. The reader understands that the term “Babynurse” is often a word used to describe a newborn caregiver. However, unless otherwise disclosed, we are not licensed nurses in any state. By reading and/or utilizing any information or suggestions contained in this blog, the reader acknowledges that we are not medical professionals and agrees to and waives any claim, known or unknown, past, present or future. This blog may contain affiliate links.
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