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Jillian Harris


5 Tips To Get Baby To Sleep

Before Leo was born, I did a lot of research on how to get the baby to sleep. I was a little nervous about how much sleep I was going to get and I didn’t want to be so exhausted that I couldn’t enjoy his newborn days. I needed a couple (or a couple hundred) tricks up my sleeve incase he was having trouble sleeping!! Well…I quickly realized you can plan ahead as much as you want, but you can never really be fully prepared for what’s to come. Luckily, my preparedness failed in a good way. I was worrying for nothing! Leo has been a great sleeper (most of the time) and I would even find myself wide awake even when he was sleeping (I’m guessing from all the adrenaline). Lo and behold, there have definitely been a few nights that just aren’t as easy as others. These are the nights where I took out my bag of tricks and tested them out. Some worked and others didn’t, so I thought I would share my 5 tips to getting baby to sleep.

Jillian Harris and baby Leo Sleeping

Naps, Naps & More Naps

I read that for the first 6-8 weeks babies aren’t able to stay awake more than 2 hours at a time. If they are awake longer than that, they may be getting overtired. One of the biggest reasons babies can’t get to sleep and cry instead is because they are overtired. This is your time to get those long lasting sleeping snuggles in while they last!! If your babe is beyond the 2 hours of awake time, try looking for signs that they are sleepy, like rubbing their eyes, pulling on their ears or acting more fussy than usual. Then try some of these tips to get them to sleep!!


While my preference is to have Leo skin to skin, sleeping on my chest or in my arms, let’s be real…we can’t do that for every nap. I try to get one skin to skin nap in a day (as well as Justin) but otherwise Leo is on his own in his bassinest or in his MamaRoo. Swaddling has been praised and poo-poo’d, so I think this is one of those things where you need to follow your parental instincts. Some babes may love it, some may hate it, but if it works (like it does for Leo) then roll with it!!

Distinguishing Day & Night

Leo has started (almost) sleeping through the night already, waking up only once on his own for a feeding. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not EVERY night…but we have been making an effort to play with him and keep him ‘active’ while he is awake in the day and when it is night time to keep activity low as well as the lights and noise so that he recognizes this routine and hopefully I’ll be sleeping through the night some day soon!

Putting Baby To Sleep While They Are Still Awake

Leo is still a little young for this step, as he falls asleep so easily on his own but this is a tip that I plan to use with him (if he let’s me!!!). Putting your baby down to sleep while they are still awake so that they don’t get used to falling asleep in your arms and rather recognize their bed as their sleepy place. Ok, I haven’t really been able to practice this yet, so I can’t fully endorse it right now but I know of friends that used this technique and after a few days of practicing, it took them no time at all to get their babes to sleep.

Fill ‘Em Up Right Before Bedtime

This may make more sense when Leo is not eating as frequently as he is now (he is a feeding MACHINE!!) but I always make sure he gets a good feed in right before bedtime so that he is not waking up from hunger. If your babe is having trouble sleeping longer periods of time you may want to try limiting their feedings in the evening and then fill ’em up right before bedtime!! This way their tummy will feel full longer.


These are all tips and suggestions and by no means will they work 100% of the time but I love the idea of parents sharing their experiences and what has worked for them so other parents can try them if needed and hopefully benefit from! I realize Leo’s sleep patterns will change over time and what is working for him now may not work down the road, so I’m hoping you all will let me in on your own parenting secrets along the way!!!

Happy sleeping!!





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  1. Sleeperific

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Great tips Mama! Love that you’re on it and making sleep a priority for your sweet fam.

    My hot tip for you: If the naps/day sleep isn’t easy for him, it’s ok to use your swing, stroller, baby carrier, holding/feeding to sleep… ‘whatever it takes’ as long as you’re doing it safely. At this stage, keeping him well rested is more important than ensuring it happens independently or without props. You’re not going to create any bad habits by helping him when he’s so young! xx

  2. Shannon

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Are you a sleep consultant by any chance? (Basing this solely on you name lol). If you are do you have any tips on sleep regression! Lol

  3. Sleeperific

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Hi Shannon! You know it, sleep is my jam 😉 Feel free to PM me and we can arrange a (complimentary) call to chat about the regression and if/how I can help. Alternatively, my blog has some info which might be helpful if you’d like to investigate yourself. xx

  4. Donna

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Your a good mom, Jilly. I’ve seen recent pic’s of another family who had a baby (you know who they are) that has taken 2 pic’s of their baby without being held. Having a baby also (long ago) it’s never good to hold your child every single minute of everyday. You have to allow them alone time and bassinet time. It’s healthy for them as well as being held and loved. Moderation is key.

  5. Mama in the City

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:24 am

    It’s so great that each parent gets to decide what is best for their baby! Holding or not. I love that part of parenting. I’ve also learned that every babies personality is different and while some babies might have a mild easy to soothe personality and can be put in a cot with ease, some babies actually require a lot of holding and jiggling for them to calm down and just be.

  6. Amy Case

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:57 am

    This is a newborn! I don’t think you need to worry about holding “too much” at this stage. As the months pass, baby will get plenty of time to self-soothe. It goes by so fast! Enjoy!

  7. Jen

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I’ve always used Lavender with my kids to help relax and sleep! Diffusing in their bedrooms at night, in the bath and in lotions.

  8. Tania

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:33 am

    I love your newborn pics. Congrats. Leo is so cute.
    Just a tip though, babies are all so different. My first born was just a good sleeper (she is 14 and is now tough to get out of bed!). I thought all the books I was reading was what helped me to make the right decisions.
    Well then…my second came along and I tried every trick in the book. I tell you, he just did not have an easy temperament from the get go. And to this day, he’s the one out of bed as the sun comes up.
    I think you have to work with what you’re given. And if your new born is tough to get to sleep, do whatever works to save your sanity. They all do eventually sleep through the night!

  9. Mama in the City

    August 30th, 2016 at 10:49 am

    This is so perfect! As a mom of three, my first was a high needs baby and needed to be held and jiggled and it was SO hard. He cried and would sleep in 20 minute segments despite all my parenting tricks and books I read. My second was just like baby Leo and it was so much easier as a parent. I’d put her down awake and she’d sleep, just like the books said! My third was in the middle but I knew to roll with it and that personality plays so much into things. Loved your advice Tania. It was perfect!

  10. Lindsay Macadam

    August 30th, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Hi – I am due in Oct with my first and am loving to hear what to expect after expecting from you 🙂 I keep hearing and reading that you are supposed to wake the baby during the night to feed them every 2-3 hours, even if they don’t wake up on their own. Then I talk to other mothers who laugh at this idea and tell me if the baby is sleeping just go with it. Any advice?

  11. Adrian

    August 30th, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    We had to wake ours due to how much weight he lost and how he was gaining slowly. I would ask your doctor once your baby is born and they see how their weight is.

  12. Am Rod

    August 31st, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Yepp– they lose weight once born and some have a tough time gaining it back by the time their first checkup comes. You’ll be overwhelmed by all the info at the hospital, but there are people to contact if you forget or don’t recall info. About anything really! A nurse should call you to check up on you and baby plus ask random questions. Even about the baby’s poop color and texure lol

  13. Sam

    September 1st, 2016 at 10:05 am

    A lot of the time lactation consultants encourage this to make sure babes are eating enough and mom’s milk supply is kept up, but my aunt is a neurologist and she said if the baby is sleepin’, let them sleep. They’ll wake if they’re hungry…And they will up your supply with cluster feeding when they need it. As long as baby is healthy and gaining weight well! If a doctor advises you otherwise due to nutrition issues than it is absolutely a different story 🙂 Good luck mama!!

  14. Susan Hickman

    August 30th, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Congrats Jillian! I used to have issues with babe falling asleep in my arms while nursing & waking once moved to the cold bassinet. I would set a heating pad in the bassinet, sit down to nurse & then REMOVE the heating pad and lay babe in the warm bed. Voila, no waking up because they moved from body warmth to a cold bed 🙂 Once they were a little older I would put them to bed awake so they learned to comfort themselves and go to sleep but this worked great when they were wee.

  15. Melissa

    August 30th, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    One thing that became really helpful with both my kids was learning that most babies have a 90 minute awake and asleep cycle. There is a great book out there all about it. “The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program” by Polly Moore. At the time when I discovered it I was able to share it with my moms group and as we were all first time moms we all found it really helpful. It was and still is the best book I ever purchased in regards to sleep.

  16. Erin

    August 30th, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I would say swaddling was the trick for me! My son had to be bundled tight or else he would wake up. He was also premature so it gave him a lot of comfort, especially in the really early days.
    He’s eight months now and still doesn’t like to put down to sleep when he’s awake, he still falls asleep in my arms for every nap and at bedtime but I really don’t mind getting in all those cuddles while is still can! Soon I’ll be wishing I could cuddle my baby boy to sleep! 🙂

  17. Am Rod

    August 30th, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I sure do miss the newborn infant days! Just wait till you have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. You will never ever sit down, sleep, eat or be sane. Ever. Again. Lol Terrible 2s and 3s have been horrific but I love my girls more than life itself. Even though they can be so extremely strong willed and emotional. Seeing baby Leo does make me miss them being newborns, so tiny and quiet. Now I can’t even have enough peace and quiet to think long enough about what to pack for their daycare bags, lunches, or if I need to do more laundry to provide enough clean undies for potty training. There are wonderful times and then there are miserable times that leave you feeling like a failure. Either way, always remember that you can do this and try to make things fun and rememberable for them. Make them call you Number One Mom even when you have to take away toys, send them to time out, lose your patience or run out of love. It happens and then it gets better the next day. Doesn’t always stay that way all day every day, especially terrible 3s and the other child is teething, but you can encourage yourself to be super woman and power thru! Just remember, no one is perfect and hard days will always happen.

  18. VeggieGirl

    August 31st, 2016 at 5:29 am

    I’m not sure that’s enough times feeding in the night at only a few weeks old? Great for you if it is but we were always told that baby needs to eat 3-4 times per night between months 0-3.

  19. Lindsay

    August 31st, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Oh my word! Who told you that? 3-4 times a night? That’s a nightmare! Lol

  20. VeggieGirl

    August 31st, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Our pediatrician. Their tummies at the beginning are like the size of a marble. Which is why they need to feed more often.

  21. Am Rod

    August 31st, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I always fed both my girls several times a night too. We were told they needed to eat every couple hours. My babies were both small and struggled with weight. I agree with what your pedia told you. Once my girls got a little older and more on track I trained them to not need so many feedings at night and instead did more during the day.

  22. Janine

    September 2nd, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Nope. It has nothing to do with tummy size. If babe has surpassed their birth weight and is gaining well, feeding well etc. If they sleep through the night and only feed once (or twice) that is fine! Don’t wake them to eat. Both of my boys were great eaters and started sleeping long chunks of time at night. My first dropped all night feeds by 5 months and my second by 6.5 months. Both were breastfed/pumped and bottle fed.

  23. Jen

    August 31st, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Hi Jillian! I have a little guy who’s four months old so I’ve really enjoyed following your new mom journey. I wonder if you’ve tried using the Halo sleep sack? It has the option to swaddle with arms out which is supposed to be safer once your little one starts rolling. It’s worked really well for us and it’s also recommended by a bunch of medical associations. Best of luck!

  24. Sam

    September 1st, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Do whatever feels right to you mama. Definitely promote the put down awake but drowsy! Even now while he is so little. I had the BEST sleeper until four months. Was sleeping through the night from 4 weeks onwards. But didn’t practice the awake but drowsy thing… and once he hit 4 months and a true sleep cycle started… it took 2 months of drowsy but awake struggles (with a bit of co-snoozin and many sleepless nights for mama) to get him used to it. I just couldn’t stand any tears so we worked at it. Don’t do it every time though – gotta enjoy those sleepy amazing baby snuggles while they’re teeny <3 <3

  25. Stephanie

    September 3rd, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Wow you’re SO lucky to have a baby that sleeps almost the night at under a month! My daughter didn’t sleep the night or give us good stretches until 5 months. I used to dread the evening as it would only mean the gruelling night was upon me.

  26. Erin

    September 5th, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    One thing I did with my little ones was gently pat them on the back to comfort them. I patted them while nursing rocking them or just while I was holding them. This way at night if they started to fuss I was able to calm them down by patting them gentle and not have to pick them up. It helped them settle quicker and sleep through the night quickly.

  27. Jordan G @ The Happy Homebodie

    September 7th, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I have 5 month old twins who started sleeping through the night at 3 months, and my best tip is to get a white noise machine and turn it up loud! Those things are amazing. My babies now associate them with sleep, both nap and bedtime, and it is so helpful. We bring it when we travel or even when they sleep at grandma’s house up the street. Highly recommend. I also folowed the schedules in the Moms on Call books which gave us a nice structure, which is pretty much mandatory when you are juggling two at once.

  28. NICU RN

    September 23rd, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Jillian,

    I admire your adoration for motherhood so far, it really is inspiring. I would just like to raise awareness of “Safe-sleep” with your babe, and what you share with the public.

    I am a NICU nurse and we really try to engrain the idea of safe sleep with parents, and although we can tell them until we are blue in the face, we have no control of what you do once you are home.

    Swaddling is one thing that you post a lot that can be a concern. Unless you have special swaddle blankets/cocoons, they can be so unsafe if they unravel over your babe.

    Another thing is co-sleeping. I realize that you want to be with your baby so much and never have him leave your side, but there have been so so sooo many instances where babies have died because parents have rolled over on them and not noticed, or injuries from other accidents.

    I respect your amazing life as a new mom, but I just want to remind you to be mindful of how powerful your voice is, and although these are just your opinions, so many look up to you and value your opinion!

    Thank you for reading 🙂

  29. Mary Lou Boehm Cooper

    September 26th, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Hi Jillian. I just saw your snap about little Leo not wanting to sleep in his bassinet. I am the mother of 5. All grown. My #1 objective was to get my babies to sleep through the night. That transition from moms snuggle arms to bassinet was always tricky. 1st of all. Try to keep from both of you going under the covers. Then I filled a water bottle with warm water and set it I. The bassinet under their blanket. As soon as baby is soundly asleep, get him into the bassinet. It won’t be cold and jarring. Just one warm place to another. Also, when they woke during the night I always changed then in my warm bed between feeding sides. Keep it dark and no talking. My kids could sleep on their tummies back then which I think makes a difference. All slept through by 2 months old. You’ll get there. You are doing great. One day at a time. Hope these tips help.

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