How to Help Your Baby Sleep Better Without Sleep Training

As a parent, one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a baby is ensuring they get enough restful sleep. While sleep training is a popular method, it’s not the only way to help your baby sleep better. By making thoughtful changes to a variety of areas, we can optimize our chances for more restful sleep.

Optimize the Room Environment

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial for helping your baby fall asleep and stay asleep.

Keep It Dark

A dark room helps signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. Use blackout curtains to block out daylight or streetlights. If you choose to use a nightlight, choose one with low wattage and a soft, warm glow rather than a bright or blue light, which can interfere with the release of melatonin (the hormone associated with the onset of sleep).

Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

A comfortably cool room promotes better sleep. The ideal temperature for a baby’s room is between 68-72°F (20-22°C). Overheating can be dangerous and disrupt sleep, so dress your baby in lightweight clothing, and use a swaddle (under 4 months) or sleep sack to help keep your child safe and comfortable.
Blankets, sheets, comforters and the like, should never be used in a crib under 12 months of age due to risk of suffocation or strangulation.

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Establish an Age-Appropriate Routine

Babies thrive on routines, and a consistent pre-sleep routine can signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Watch for Subtle Sleep Cues

One of the main reasons for crying when trying to sleep, is that a child is already overtired by nap or bedtime. Parents may assume the crying is due to sleep training, and avoid it because of this. However, the vast majority of babies cry when they’re overtired. The cries may start off just as whimpers, but as the child increasingly becomes exhausted, their crying intensifies.

Therefore, if you are trying to help your baby sleep better without sleep training, work on putting them down for a rest, before they become overtired.

Babies often give subtle cues when they’re ready for sleep. Look for signs such as zoning out, becoming quieter, or eyes looking glassy. Recognizing and responding to these cues promptly can help you avoid overtiredness, which can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep.

Help your baby sleep better without sleep training

Create a Relaxing Wind Down Routine

A calming pre-sleep routine can help your baby transition from wakefulness to sleepiness. This routine might include activities like a warm bath, gentle rocking, reading a short story, or singing a lullaby. The key is consistency and keeping the routine the same every night so your baby knows what to expect.

To learn more about wind downs, click here.

Help Your Baby Sleep Better Without Sleep Training By Ensuring Your Baby’s Needs Are Met

A baby who is hungry, uncomfortable, or overtired will have difficulty settling down to sleep.

Provide a Full Feed

Make sure your baby has a full feed before bedtime. A hungry baby will have trouble sleeping for long periods. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, ensure your baby is well-fed and content. To ensure that feeding to sleep doesn’t become a sleep association, you can work towards ending the feed 5-10 minutes before your desired sleep time, thus still giving time for a wind down routine.

Check for a Clean Diaper

A clean diaper is essential for a good night’s sleep. Change your baby’s diaper right before putting them down for the night to avoid waking up due to discomfort from a wet or soiled diaper.

Avoid Sleep Deprivation

It might seem counterintuitive, but a baby who is sleep-deprived will often have a harder time falling and staying asleep. Offer regular sleep periods throughout the day based on your child’s age and needs. For newborns, this might mean napping every 1-2 hours, while older infants may have 2-3 naps per day.

Offer Regular Sleep Periods

Babies need different amounts of sleep depending on their age. Establishing a consistent nap schedule can help ensure your baby isn’t overtired by bedtime.

Understand Age-Specific Sleep Needs

Newborns (0-3 months) generally sleep 15-17 hours a day, often in short periods of 2-4 hours. Infants (4-11 months) need about 14-15 hours of sleep, including naps. Pay attention to your baby’s natural sleep rhythms and adjust their schedule as needed to ensure they get enough rest.

To see charts that show the number of hours of naps and total sleep per 24 hrs, click here.

Be Flexible and Attentive

While consistency is important, being attuned to your baby’s sleep needs means sometimes having to be flexible, too. Some days, your baby might need an earlier bedtime. This will definitely be true if they have had short naps or skipped one entirely.
Respond to their needs and adjust the schedule accordingly to prevent overtiredness. It is more restorative to do an early bedtime, than to try and fit in an extra nap, especially after 5 months of age.


Helping your baby sleep better without sleep training is entirely possible by making a few key changes to their environment and routine. By ensuring the room is dark and comfortably cool, establishing a soothing bedtime routine, meeting your baby’s basic needs, and offering regular sleep periods, you can foster a healthy sleep pattern that benefits both you and your baby. Remember, every baby is different, so be patient and attentive to your baby’s unique cues and needs.

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