How to put a baby to sleep in 8 easy steps

***This blog post was brought to you by 7 years of sleep deprivation and conflicting advice.***

sleep deprivation

There is so much advice about how to put a baby to sleep so I’ve condensed it down to 8 simple, and easy to follow steps!

Step 1 – Check for tired signs

You need to put your baby down when they’re sleep, but awake! So you need to watch for tired signs and catch them right in the middle of the optimum falling asleep phase! These signs include but are not limited to blinking, jerky movements, quieter or more active than usual, crying, yawning etc. Actually if they’re yawning, then it’s already too late – they’ll hit overtired in 0.02 seconds and there’s nothing you can do. Your day, night, and most of next week are now ruined. Sorry.

Step 2. Have a consistent routine

ALL the baby books say that a bedtime routine is essential for baby’s sleep. You can’t haphazardly put babies to bed however and wherever they feel like it. You can’t just surprise babies with sleep! They need to see it coming.

Step 3. Bath time

A soothing bath is an excellent way to calm baby before bed. Just be sure the water isn’t too hot, too cold, too deep, or too shallow. Are you using 100% organic, natural, soap-free, tear-free, Australian Dermatologist Board Certified (possibly not a real thing) baby soap? Have you read three dozen conflicting articles about whether or not using baby soap is good/bad/okay/terrible for your baby? Good. Dry baby with a pre-warmed towel.

Step 4. Clean Nappy(s)

Get two nappies out. Trust me. I (almost) guarantee as soon as you put that first nappy on baby will poop. Change baby into another clean nappy. Acknowledge that crap just cost you 48 cents.

Step 5. Dress baby for bed

Remember little babies can’t regulate their own body temperature so it’s important not to over – or under – dress them. A good rule is to dress baby in as many layers as you are wearing and add one layer. And take off two. Now add another three layers. If baby seems cold/hot/confused by constantly adding and removing layers adjust this step as necessary.

Step 6. Prepare baby’s room

Firstly you need to ensure that their room is dark and quiet, by installing thick block out blinds and threatening everyone else in the house on penalty of death if they so much as whisper while you’re putting baby to sleep. Now put on a night light and a white noise machine so the room isn’t too dark and quiet and baby thinks they’re being put to bed in a sensory deprivation tank. White noise machines are available at baby stores for about $100. You can also download a white noise app to your phone – but be aware that some research may or may not show a link between mobile devices and cancer (Also how are you supposed to check Facebook while baby is sleeping if the phone is being used for something a cheap radio set to static could do just as well.)

Step 7. Settling your baby to sleep

How you choose to settle your baby to sleep could pretty much make or break his or her entire future, because once you start something with your baby you can never – ever – change it.

  • If you choose to rock your baby to sleep they will need to be rocked to sleep until they are 20kgs and your arms will fall off (also, you may need to get your back replaced with a metal rod… hey! Now I understand the meaning of “You’re making a rod for your own back” – they mean “You’ll NEED a rod for your own back.” That makes SO MUCH more sense.)
  • If you feed your baby to sleep they will ALWAYS need food to sleep. That’s why there are so many adults who need to suck on a burger every night before they can fall asleep.
  • If you’re leave your baby to fall asleep on their own – even they’re calm and not at all crying – they will think you have abandoned them and at 15 they will run away from home and join the circus.
  • If you choose to cosleep they will sleep in your bed forever. Good luck with that when they’re grown up and wanting to bring someone home for the evening.

Step 8. Toss it all and do whatever works for you and your family.


Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


  1. My almost 4yo was breastfed to sleep until approximately 21mo. And currently my 18mo is being breastfed to sleep.

    Some nights I wish she would wean and give me a break but others i wouldnt have it any other way.

  2. Just be careful when using a white noise machine. They became a tricky topic after the results of researchers at the University of Toronto showed that some of the machines available on the market are capable of delivering noise that is unsafe even for adults. Following these results, the researchers urged parents to place the machines further away from the crib, on a moderate setting, and use it only for a limited period of time. Read more:

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