Newborn sleep stages: Helping your infant fall asleep

Sleep is a key factor in keeping a baby (and parents) happy and healthy. In helping your new baby develop good sleeping habits, it’s important to remember that newborns have a sleep pattern unlike any other they will have during their lifetimes. While you as an adult can typically fall asleep right away, a newborn must go through a stage of lighter sleep before entering into deeper sleep. Because of this transition, your young infant might require soothing as they move from one sleep phase to another.

Some things you can do during this transition are…

  • Swaddle your baby and hold him close to you as you sway back and forth
  • Sit with and rock your baby in a rocking chair or glider
  • Stroke your baby’s face or head gently
  • Talk or sing to your baby in a soft voice

While all of these tips and tricks will help keep your baby transition from light to deeper sleep, remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that as your child gets older, it’s important that he learns to fall asleep independently. Once your baby establishes his sleep cycle (around 6 months of age), it’s best to put him down when he is drowsy but not yet fully asleep.