How To Put a Fussy Baby To Sleep 

  • By: Gian
  • Date: June 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Some babies fall easily asleep, while others need a little more encouragement. Putting a fussy baby to sleep can be frustrating for parents, but it doesn’t need to be a daily struggle.

While gentle whispers and a little rocking soothes calm babies, your fussy infant may need something more to help them fall asleep.

To help you and your infant sleep at night, here are a few tips on how to put a fussy baby to sleep.

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Reasons Why Your Newborn May Be Fussy at Night 

Babies use crying as a form of communication. Your fussy infant may be crying for the reason that can include one or more of the following.

Hunger

Babies are fussy when they are hungry. Track your infant’s feeding times, so you’re not putting them to bed on an empty stomach. You can also watch for some tell-tale signs babies exhibit, like sucking on their fists or smacking their lips.

It’s also common for babies to cluster feed at night. This is often a phase that passes but can be frustrating and exhausting for both parents.

Body Temperature

Infants often cry when they are hot or cold, so make sure you have the right room temperature for baby to sleep in. Consider a room thermometer with remote monitoring app to help you ensure the temperature is just right.

Try to dress your baby similar to what you are wearing. If it’s wintertime, don’t forget socks (yes, babies can sleep with socks on!) or footed pajamas! Fleece pajamas can be worn in winter.

Along with not over or underdressing your infant, you may also want to consider using a swaddling blanket.

You can either purchase a swaddling blanket or make one at home. The goal is to create a snug wrap around the baby. Swaddling infants gives them a sense of security and replicates a womb-like feeling. The cozy feeling can help your fussy baby fall asleep faster. It can also limit the number of times your baby wakes up during the night.

It’s also a good idea to check your baby’s temperature. If your infant is two months or younger, always contact your pediatrician if your baby has a fever.

Diaper

Always check your baby’s diaper. Infants go through many diapers, and they do not like it when the nappy is wet or soiled. Frequent diaper changes will also save your baby from developing a diaper rash, making your baby further unhappy.

Diapers should be changed if soiled, even at night. How Long Can A Baby Wear A Diaper At Night

Gas

Gas is common in babies, and it’s why burping is a part of feeding. Gas and bloating are uncomfortable for adults, so imagine how your infant feels. Burping your baby before bed will take care of any gas, allowing them to fall asleep at night.

How to Calm a Fussy Baby at Night With Noise

It can seem counterproductive to use noise to calm a fussy baby. But, for parents wondering how to soothe a baby to sleep, external stimulation can have a calming effect.

Many sounds are soothing to your baby. For instance:

  • White noise
  • Water or rain
  • Heartbeat (to mimic the sounds in the womb)
  • Ocean waves

These and other sounds can be found on a noise machine or a phone app. We found this Hatch Baby one of the best sound machines for helping babies sleep

One way to bond with your baby and calm them simultaneously is by singing to them. Your baby isn’t going to judge your singing voice. It doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune. All your baby hears is your voice, and it’s often enough to help an infant fall asleep.

It doesn’t matter if you sing a lullaby or pop song, as long as you keep your voice low and soothing.

How to Get a Fussy Baby to Sleep with Sucking

How to Get a Fussy Baby to Sleep with Sucking

Some pediatricians warn parents against letting their babies suck their thumbs or fingers. They also discourage the use of pacifiers.

The concern is the risk of dental problems, but it typically only applies to children who have permanent teeth. The sucking motion can push permanent teeth forward, resulting in the need for braces or a retainer.

Sucking isn’t a problem for newborns. In fact, some infants suck their fingers and toes in the womb. It’s a soothing action that can help a fussy baby calm down for sleep. Babies can sleep with pacifiers.

It is a good idea to wait to introduce your baby to a pacifier if you are breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends holding off on giving your infant a pacifier until breastfeeding is established, typically around three to four weeks. It helps ensure sucking on a pacifier doesn’t interfere with your baby’s ability to latch onto a nipple, read our guide to nipple confusion.

How To Put a Fussy Baby To Sleep With a Bath

How To Put a Fussy Baby To Sleep With a Bath

Some babies find bath time incredibly soothing. Watch how your fussy baby reacts in the bath. If the crying stops and your baby is relaxed after the bath, you may want to make it a part of your nighttime ritual.

There are additions to your baby’s bath that make it even more soothing. For example, lavender is known for its calming effects. Try using lavender-scented soap and lotion. 

It’s also important to keep your demeanor calm during the bathtime–although baths are enjoyable for babies and parents alike, tickling and playing with your baby won’t inspire sleepy thoughts. 

The warm water splashing against your baby may help you both sleep longer at night. Also, baths are one of the best ways of clearing up diaper rash.

How To Make a Crying Baby Sleep With a Massage

How To Make a Crying Baby Sleep With a Massage

Infants can also appreciate a good massage, just like adults. You can break out some lotion or oil, but it’s unnecessary.

Typically, all your cranky baby needs are to feel your touch. Use gentle motions to rub your baby’s arms, legs, stomach, and back.

Don’t forget to watch your baby for cues. Not all infants enjoy being massaged.

If you’re struggling to put your baby to sleep, there are plenty of options to try! Any one or a combination of these tips will help your baby fall asleep faster and sleep for longer. 

No matter which method your choose, the most important thing is to have a predictable routine for your baby. Once your baby has an established routine, you’ll be on your way to sleeping through the night. That’s something every parent wants!

This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.

Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).