Healthy Sleep Habits for Your Baby

There’s a lot that goes into preparing to bring your baby home for the first time. But a lot of it is logistics––and we want to remind you not to forget about preparing for how to approach baby sleep.

For many babies, setting up the sleep fundamentals for them from day one is all they need to start sleeping like a dream (once they are developmentally ready that is). Knowing how to establish healthy sleep habits is an important part of this.

Here we go over 11 healthy baby sleep habits that are scienced-backed and proven to help encourage restful, long-stretches of sleep, and set your baby up to tackle the inevitable sleep regression and sleep disturbances that are to be expected in their first year of life.

Top 11 Healthy Habits to Help Your Baby Sleep

Consistent Soothing Bedtime Routine

A predictable series of steps that happen in the same order each night will signal to your baby that it's bedtime, creating a healthy nighttime habit for anyone involved. The habit of a bedtime routine doesn't have to be long or complicated––it just needs to be consistent. A song, story, diaper change, and little cuddle are just enough, if done consistently. Make sure to keep feeding separate from your bedtime routine to prevent your baby relying on feeding to fall asleep.

Separate Feeding and Sleep

Separating feeding from sleep at an early age creates the healthy sleep habit of being able to fall asleep independently and not rely on food to fall asleep or fall back asleep. This makes nighttime easier as they get older and go through sleep regression or changes in sleep cycles. Many parents follow the Eat Sleep Play schedule to create a structured daytime routine to help their baby not associate feeding with sleep, and also help regulate their internal clock, which is key for eventually sleeping longer stretches overnight.

Regular Sleep Schedule

A sleep schedule that aligns with your baby's natural circadian rhythms regulates the sleep and wake cycles, making it easier for them to fall asleep faster and sleep for longer stretches. The Smart Sleep Coach by PampersTM app can tell you exactly when to put your baby to sleep based on their circadian rhythm, so the moment you put them down they don’t protest or struggle to fall asleep.

Consistent, Age-Appropriate Naps

Have you ever heard the saying that “sleep begets sleep”? For babies, getting enough sleep during the daytime hours is key for ensuring restful, long stretches of sleep at night. Getting in the sleep habit of an age-appropriate daytime nap schedule prevents overtiredness, promotes optimal growth and development, and improves mood and behavior. Plus, it gives parents some much needed time to base other plans, chores, or self-care around.

Safe and Comfy Sleep Space

Healthy baby sleep habits are all based around practicing safe sleep practices. Ensuring their sleep environment is also dark, cool, and quiet can help promote the most restful sleep and sustain sleep habits. Experts recommend blackout curtains to keep out light and the ideal room temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. The consistency of a white noise machine can also cue to your baby it’s time for sleep.

Pay Attention to Sleep Cues

Respect your baby’s circadian rhythm by following their natural sleepy cues and wake windows, and not the clock. Sleep cues can include rubbing their eyes or getting fussy. The moment you notice a sleep cue you should get in the habit of putting them right to sleep. The Smart Sleep Coach’s Smart Schedule can help you track sleep patterns and remind you when to look for sleepy cues.

Flexible Bedtime

While a bedtime routine should be followed consistently, it’s important to adjust bedtime based on how your baby slept during the day. The most restorative sleep happens before midnight, so if a nap was short or skipped, an earlier bedtime can get them back whatever sleep they missed during naps.

Encourage Self-Soothing, When Appropriate

Falling asleep independently is the goal for baby sleep––we don’t want them to rely on external support or bad sleep habits to fall asleep or fall back asleep. If your baby wakes unexpectedly, instead of rushing in to offer support try to give them a moment to self-settle. Oftentimes they can figure it out, no problem! Keep in mind encouraging self-soothing doesn’t mean not to respond to their needs if they wake at night. If you’re unsure of how to help your baby self-soothe, take this free 3-minute sleep quiz and get a personalized plan tailored to your baby’s sleep needs.

Confidence in Managing Sleep

Get in the habit of telling yourself that you’re doing everything you can to help your baby become a strong independent sleeper. in your ability to help your baby sleep better. Stay calm and consistent and remember––sleep challenges in babies are normal

Respect Your Baby's Sleep Needs

Babies need significantly more sleep than adults. Parents and caregivers need to adjust schedules and expectations to accommodate their sleep requirements. This includes doing what you can to get your baby the daytime sleep they need, even if it occasionally needs to be in a car or stroller ride, and not pushing wake windows if not absolutely necessary.

Don’t Stress About Sounds

Babies are noisy, especially as newborns! Be prepared for noisy sleep patterns and even some flailing or banging. Try and resist the urge to check on your baby at every sound so you don’t accidentally wake them.

Use the Apps

Taking advantage of resources created by pediatricians and sleep experts to help parents like you navigate baby sleep should be top of your list! The Smart Sleep Coach app is an example of a way to stay on top of your baby’s sleep and be prepared for the inevitable sleep disturbances of the first year or so of laugh. An optimized sleep schedule and environment, and encouraging good sleep habits, are the best way to help support your child’s journey to being a healthy, independent sleep habit. for expert advice and tools to guide you through your baby's sleep journey.

The Bottom Line

Healthy baby sleep habits are key for restful sleep for your baby. By doing your best to encourage healthy sleep habits in your baby, you will set them up for a life of positive sleep associations and developmental growth.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.