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Soothing Sleep & Settling Suggestions for Babies

Some early childhood educators report that settling breastfed babies can be a challenge. Try some of these suggestions at naptime at your childcare service. The Encouraging & Supporting Breastfeeding in Childcare Resource Kit contains a number of other practical tips and ideas on how to support breastfeeding at your service.

1. Move, baby, move

Walking, dancing, swaying, rocking may be soothing to a grumpy baby.

2. Manage the transition.

Often getting baby to sleep isn’t the issue, it’s moving the baby from your arms to a new surface. Try waiting until she’s so deeply asleep that her arms are limp. You can avoid a drop in temperature if you keep a small blanket against her back if you move her.

3. Change the scenery.

When baby spends time outdoors, she’ll be calmer and sleep better. Going outside, even for a minute or two, usually helps. Even a trip to the next room is a change of scenery that might help.

4. Turn up the volume.

Well, not too high. Loud noises can keep babies awake, but so can silence. Babies feel calmest when they hear the reassuring sounds of people around them. Turn off bright lights. Lower the lights in the room to candlelight level. Try baby massage. A warm calming touch may soothe baby.

5. Sing or read.

A time-honoured way to soothe children to sleep, especially if there’s a rhythm, as in Dr. Seuss’s books or Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Dance gently while you sing or read.

6. Try feeding again.

Even if it didn’t work before, it might just be what she needs now to send her into dreamland. Needing to breastfeed isn’t always the problem. More often than not, though, breastfeeding becomes the answer.

7. Be there.

Fussing or crying should not be ignored. Ignoring cries will make subsequent sleep more difficult. Even if nothing works, the baby who cries in-arms is less stressed than the baby who cries alone.

For further information

For further information on supporting breastfeeding at your Service, download the Encouraging & Supporting Breastfeeding in Childcare Resource Kit or contact the Munch & Move® program at Southern NSW Local Health District.

Tips adapted from ‘Sweet Sleep: Nighttime & Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family’, 2014, La Leche League International

Last updated: 13 August 2018