How I got my 8-week old baby to sleep through the night

1.) I gave birth to a unusually calm and quiet baby.

2.) I put her in her crib at night.

If you follow these two steps, you also will enjoy having a baby who magically sleeps through the night.

Seriously, I have a particular Bedtime Process:
1. Around 6 or 7, give the baby a warm bath. She tires herself out kicking and splashing.
2. Feed and swaddle in a Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe
3. Cuddle & rock in a dark room til she falls asleep. Takes 5-15 minutes. Put her in the crib.
4. At 10:30, take her out of the crib and feed her without waking her up. She can drink from a bottle while sleeping if you get it far enough in her mouth. After a few weeks she learned how to nurse without waking up, so we nurse and then top her off with a bottle. Feed her until she’s so deeply asleep she can’t swallow any more. If she’s really relaxed she won’t have swallowed any air, so just burp her a little.

If all these steps are followed the baby sleeps until sometime between 6:30-8:30am, but I suspect it only works because she’s a freaky easy baby.


53 thoughts on “How I got my 8-week old baby to sleep through the night

  1. Milana

    this article is dumb…you are praising yourself for getting your baby to sleep at night, but really you are just blessed with an easy baby. Watch out, the next ones are usually trouble after an easy one. and if the baby doesn’t want to sleep, there is nothing you can do.

  2. Clare

    Hi Milana. Well, of course I just have an easy baby. I thought the sarcasm in the first part of my post was obvious. The only thing I did was create a structured bedtime routine and provide the baby with a comforting swaddling sensation. It worked because she’s an easy baby, and that’s just the way she is.

    Easy baby or not, when I did this routine she slept through the night. Before, she didn’t. I posted this in case anyone out there who read this hadn’t tried these things. Maybe it would work for them too, if they had the same type of baby as me.

    And now I would like to take the time to praise myself for being so awesome that my baby was easy.


    1. Karen Heideman

      Good girl Clare. I do the same with my grandson (7 weeks old) and after having 4 other grandchildren and years of experience having had 3 of my own they all were and became easy babies because of as I like to say my mothering instincts. You may have an easy baby but you made her that way and congratulations. Great mothering!!!!

      Grammy Karen of 5 grandchildren

      1. Clare Post author

        Thanks, Karen! I do think I just got lucky, but I try my best and I don’t think I’ve caused any permanent damage yet:) My daughter is 3 now and more delightful every day.

    2. Ray ray

      haha i thought so too. my first child was so relaxed and cruisy, number two is much much different. she is very hard to settle, and much louder and cries way more. your lucky, like i was, to have an easy baby.. im jelous myself, cos this ones a little shit! haha. but yes, a good bedtime routine is key to sleeping thru the night, everyone should know that

  3. Ethel

    A dim room surely helps to get the baby sleepy! I have an eight week old baby and it surely works to feed the baby before they are fully awake!

    This routine may not be easy at first, but keep on trying.


  4. Katie

    Our first child didn’t sleep through the night until she was two and a half years old & believe me we had tried everything, so needless to say we were dreading the sleepless nights again.

    Our second child started to sleep through the night from around 6 weeks old & the only thing we did differently was that we structured feeding times, instead of feeding on demand. She feeds every 3 hours through the day at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm & the last feed at 9pm. We start bed time at 8pm, first with a nice warm bath, then get her babygrow on & feeling calm & relaxed, she then has her last feed at 9pm(ish), she is normally finished and asleep for 9.45. I know this seems late for a baby but she then sleeps until about 8.30 the next morning & is awake a lot more through the day.

    I think that we are very, VERY lucky with her sleeping at such an early age but this may help someone who isn’t so lucky!!!!!

  5. Clare

    Hello Maggie

    The routine I used is just as described above: bath, feed, cuddle, then feed one more time before I go to sleep. I’m not an expert, but a 5-month-old should be able to hold enough in her stomach so that she’s not actually hungry at night. She’s probably waking up out of the habit and continues because she likes your company. I got my ideas for dealing with sleep problems from “Healthy Sleep Habit Happy Child” by Dr Marc Weissbluth. It’s an excellent book.

  6. Kathy

    I have been doing the bath-feed-cuddle routine for a week now it seems to be working…slowly. My 8-wk old sleeps for 4 hours before waking up for another feeding (a good improvement from the every 2-hr feeding before). I also find that having tummy time right before the bath works, it tires him out.

  7. karlee

    My eight week old is not the easiest baby in the world but has been sleeping through the last four nights. I start around 9:45 and I give him a bath using the johnsons bedtime bath products. We have a lot of fun in the bath and then I dry him off, give him a baby massage using bedtime lotion and then by 10:30 he is finished his last bottle and looking pretty drowsy. I lay him down awake but sleepy and give him his soother. He usually lays awake for up to a half hour being quiet but alert and then usually falls on his own and stays alseep until 7 or 8am.
    First I noticed when he was around 6 weeks old he gave up one of his night time feedings… he would sleep through his 3am and then wake up for 6… then that gradually got later and later. This morning he didn’t wake up until 8:30! It was beautiful.
    10:30 is a little late but as his stomach gets bigger you can put his bed time back gradually and still have him sleep through the night. I actually started putting him to bed at 11:30 and we’re down to 10:30 already.

  8. jen

    my 8 week old baby hates the bathso i avoid bathing him every nite, he also feeds on demand even tho i do trt to make him wait so he is fed every 3 hours but he wants it every 2. his last bottle at nite is around 9pm ish and he sleeps till either 4am or 5am wot cani do during the day to stop him demand feeding,im scared to let him cry too much as he gets so stressed out.he has 5oz every 2 hours during day but is good at nite?

  9. Clare

    Jen, here’s my take on it: feeding on demand during the day at 8 weeks is fine. The baby knows when he’s hungry and he knows when he needs to eat. If his last bottle is at 9 and he’s sleeping til 4 or 5, that’s 7-8 hours; it’s a full night’s sleep. What I count as “though the night” for my daughter is 11-7, 8 hours. The only problem is that your son’s schedule is not lined up with when you’d like to be sleeping.

    Maybe you could try pushing his last bottle a half hour later every night, so you would gradually delay his last bottle til 11 or midnight. If his wake-up time moves too, you’d end up with a kid who sleeps a more convenient 8-hour stretch.

    I would give him as much as he wanted whenever he wanted during the day. Maybe if he was really full in the daytime he’d sleep better at night. He could just be hungry – don’t try to limit how much food he gets or when he gets it during the day. He’s the one who knows when he’s hungry, and 8 weeks is still pretty young.

    I recommend reading “Healthy Sleep Habit Happy Child” by Dr Marc Weissbluth. It has a lot of information about how much hunger should influence sleep at different ages.

  10. lobsterland

    Great Post! I found your blog b/c my blog came up on the automated possibly related posts, at the bottom of the post.
    I too have an easy baby, but I do believe it is all about routine and “sleep training” right from the start. I have always put my little guy to bed and down for naps when he is still awake, this way he knows how to fall asleep on his own, so if he wakes during the night, he can fall back asleep on his own. I’ve always done this, even when he was a few days old, up in the middle of the night for feedings, back to bed while he is still awake.
    Oh, and I love the swaddle blanket too!

  11. Sarah

    My baby is 9 weeks old and is a pretty easy baby I think. I have done a routine of feeding her every two hours since we brought her home from the hospital. I would feed her and try to keep her awake for as long as I could, then let her sleep until eating time again. This worked great for the both of us and I never felt like she was mad and hungry ever b/c she was getting the food she wanted/needed. In the last week or so she has been consistently sleeping 7 to 8 hours at night, but her night time is at 10 or 11 p.m. and I really would like to move it earlier, so my husband and I could have some time together. Is this as good as it gets for this age? (9 weeks) or is there any tricks? Oh, our schedule now is feeding every 3 hours during the day, and about 30 inutes before her last feeding of the night I give her a bath, nurse her, then sing lullabies and rock to sleep in my arms. Oh and also, if I wan to start trying to put her down awake, what is the limit for her to cry? Should I pick her up after a certain amount of time?

    1. Clare Post author

      7-8 hours in a row sounds pretty good for 9 weeks, but I could understand why you’d want to try for a longer sleep. The time limit for her crying when you put her down is whatever you can take – 15 minutes is a good start. The problem is that if you pick her up after 15 minutes, then she has learned that if she cries for 15 minutes you’ll pick her up. Sooner or later you’re going to have to commit to letting her yell for a long time. 9 weeks is still a little young to do sleep training, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to work right away. It’ll take time for her to learn to go to sleep by herself.

      1. krystal

        That is NOT true. Babies that young do NOT understand manipulation. They do not realize that crying 15 minutes gets them what they want. I have been putting my daughter to bed awake since she was born. She is now 9 weeks old. Read “The No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. Don’t listen to people that say you have to let your little one cry. That is mean and unnecessary. And, later on, causes trust issues.

    2. krystal

      That is NOT true. Babies that young do NOT understand manipulation. They do not realize that crying 15 minutes gets them what they want. I have been putting my daughter to bed awake since she was born. She is now 9 weeks old. Read “The No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. Don’t listen to people that say you have to let your little one cry. That is mean and unnecessary. And, later on, causes trust issues. If you want to put her to bed earlier, just do it with her awake, but make sure you do your nightly routine and then put her in bed while she’s awake. If she cries, pick her up and hold her a minute, then put her back in bed til it works. DON’T listen to the idiots that say CIO. PLEASE read that book.

  12. Shanda

    My little girl is 8 weeks old and to be honest with you, I am jealous of the amount of sleep you guys are getting. Kara goes to bed at 9:30, and she is a bear in the evening, and she only sleeps till about 2:00 or so. Then she wakes me up again around 6:00. She is at least 10 1/2 pounds and should be able to go longer, but she doesn’t. I feed her every 3 hours during the day 5 oz. She drinks anywhere from 6-7 bottles a day. I’m tired and I don’t know how to make this little one sleep longer. I would love to put her to bed earlier because she is so fussy in the evening. Any suggestions?

  13. Desiree

    i have an 8 week-old who drinks way to much. 8ozs every 3-4 hours he does sleep pretty well; nighttime last goes to bed abot 11 wakes up 3 then 7-8 . but hes crying an awful lot latley hes a big baby tho about 15 pounds now. i dont really know what to do

  14. Luce

    My baby is also 8 weeks old and tends to be fed 4-5oz roughly every 3 hours during the day. She settles really well by 7pm after a bath and bottle and we semi-wake her at 10.30-11pm for another bottle. Tends to wake at 3.30-4am and then again at 7am(ish) but grunts and writhes around a lot after her middle of night feed (although she appears to be sleeping). Any suggestions to help her sleep for a longer stretch? She is approx 11 1/2 lbs and so i think she should be able to manage a longer stretch than 5ish hours in the night!

  15. Sophie

    My son is 9 weeks old now, up until 5 weeks old he would sleep a good 4/5 hour stretch at night and then wake every 2/3 hours. My schedule was, bath and feed asleep by 7, wake him for a feed at 10 and then he would sleep till 3, then 6 then be up around 7ish, i was exhausted! but then it got worse, he started waking at 2, 4, 6 and 7. So we just dropped the 10 oclock feed and started putting him to bed between 8-9 he now sleeps to 4/5 thats 8 hours, he then sleeps from 4/5 till 7ish. In hindsight, waking him at 10 for a feed before bed was just disrupting his sleep and making him wake more in the night! he also gets 3 naps during the day so hes not overtired, and a powernap in early evening.

    Good luck!

  16. bartels

    I have put my now 13 week old baby in a rountine from the start feeding 3 hourly (from start of feed to start of next feed) starting at 7am every day and doing a nighttime routine similar to what was mentioned above. it does work to keep him settled. he started sleeping through a few times at 8 weeks and i asked the CHN if i should leave him as he no longer seemed to need th night feed (over 5+kg) and she said try to resettle him with a cuddle and the pacifier (but not in bed) and it worked, putting him back down drowsy and without the pacifier. (he doesn’t normally have one). then when he woke out of habit for a few more nights i allowed him 15 minutes of grunting around and he resettled. he now goes 11-12 hours….but still feeds 3 hourly in the day so he doesn’t need the food – he is also gaining weight well. worth a try.I read ‘save our sleep’ by Tizzie hall which i liked.

  17. Kerri

    My pediatrician informed me to start putting my daughter down sleepy but awake at 6-8wks…we started this at 6wks and now two weeks later it is still going on…We have our routine…we read books with her brother, rock her, swaddle her and rock her til she is almost asleep then put her down. 5 minutes after putting her down she wakes up and starts to cry…so we’ve been doing the ferber method and have been letting her cry for 5 minutes go in and check on her and then leave the room. We usually go back in in 7 to 8 minutes and then again at 10min…she gets so upset and crys the whole time. Any advice? I feel awful, but don’t want to pick her up so we don’t create a bad habit….

  18. Clare

    10 minutes is really not that long – I suspect that your baby has learned that if she just cries long enough, you’ll come back. When my daughter was older and had sleep trouble and we needed to “cry it out”, it took 45 minutes for her to stop crying the first night. The second and third nights were much shorter.

    So, you could try letting her cry for much longer, until she eventually falls asleep. It’s hard to listen to, so try to go to another part of the house, or put on headphones. You could also set yourself an alarm or timer so you can see how much time has really passed – it always feels like much longer than it is.

    The only time I’ve had any luck with crying it out is when I’ve gone cold turkey: no going in, no comforting, no matter how long she cries. But your baby could be different. If you just don’t feel like you’re ready to let her cry for an hour, then you could wait a week or two and then try again, when she’s a little older.

    Good luck!

  19. Clare

    As a general rule, I think you should never wake up a sleeping baby. But if your baby is waking you in the middle of the night to eat, you could wake her up and breastfeed her right before you go to bed. The extra feeding will help her sleep longer so you can get some sleep.

    I did this with my daughter when she was 8 weeks old: I’d breastfeed her at 10:30pm, before I went to bed, and it filled her up enough to sleep through the night. I had to start with a bottle, though. At first it was easier to use a bottle, because she wasn’t really awake enough to nurse, but after a few weeks she was used to it and could nurse in her sleep without waking up at all.

    Good luck!

  20. Connie

    This is a really helpful post and thread, thanks!

    My question is whether or not I should wake my 8 week old, 1o+ pounder to feed during the day? She sleeps pretty well through the night (6-8 hrs)– but also likes to sleep a lot in the morning and early afternoon (3-4 hr stretches between feedings. She is more awake in late afternoon and evening, and often goes without any naps for hours until the long night sleep. I was waking her every 3 hrs but now am wondering if it’s better to let her rest?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  21. Clare

    Let her rest! Her brain is building connections while she sleeps. The more she sleeps, the faster she’ll learn and the calmer she’ll be. Sleep is very important to brain development.

    If her sleep schedule starts to interfere with you getting rest and getting work done, you could try to change it, but if her long naps fit into your day, just let her sleep and enjoy the quiet time. Good luck!

  22. Sam

    Thank you for all these wonderful posts. Very reassuring for a Mum with a sleepy 8 week old, especially the one about brain development! I know I sshould count my lucky stars, but it’s good to know i’m not doing anything wrong!

  23. Jayne

    My baby boy is 5.5 kgs breastfeeds every 2-3 hours during the day, gets a dream feed at around 10pm and is waking at about 2am then 5am for feeding. He doesn’t settle very well at the 5am feed and sometimes gets another feed at 6am or 7am to try to settle him.
    I put him to bed at around 7pm but it often takes several hours to settle him to sleep. To do this he has a dummy and gets patted. He is getting worse as I used to put him down and let him self settle but now he screams, not a protesting cry but an emotional cry with tears and the crying is constant sounding. I have been trying to get him to learn to self settle but am wondering if 8 weeks is to young to leave him to cry. Also he has a dummy, which he cries without but keeps spitting/popping it out and I am having to put it back in every 30 secs or so.
    He is better at self settling during the day until about 4pm, but still requires help to go to sleep. He was diagnosed with reflux and is on medication but I have seen no improvement as yet.
    From about 4pm he is a wriggling, crying, farting, unsettled nightmare and I struggle to care for my 2 year old esp to get tea etc.
    I tried Tizzy Hall’s routine from Save Our Sleep for a few days but it didn’t seem to make a difference (one night on the routine he woke every 1-2 hours!).
    Please, has anyone got any advice?
    I am also off dairy as advised by my CHN, I will see if there is a dairy allergy/sensitivity.

  24. Clare

    Jayne, that sounds like a tough situation, and well beyond my limited knowledge. It sounds like your baby gets too worked up in the evenings to fall deeply asleep, and with his self-soothing problems he’s not able to calm himself back to sleep when he wakes at night. You don’t mention anything about naps – is he getting enough sleep during the day? It could be that fatigue and overstimulation is contributing to the evening freak-outs.

    Do you have anything like the Fussy Baby Network where you live? In my area, these very knowledgeable people come to your house and help you figure out how to get your baby to calm down and go to sleep. Their site has a lot of information and forums for asking questions; you could at least get some online advice from a professional baby-calmer.

    It sounds like you have a classic colicky baby. They’re supposed to grow out of it, but it can take weeks. In your situation, I’d try increasing the amount of womb-stimulating cuddling the baby gets in the afternoon. That should make evenings easier for the baby.

    Have you tried one of those swaddling wrap baby carriers? I had a K’tan carrier ( , and found it really useful for when I needed to hold the baby and also have hands free. I was able to carry the kid around while shoveling snow & doing housework – they really like the tight cuddle & rocking as your body moves. With any luck the baby will stay quiet while you’re trying to get dinner ready.

    In any case, it sounds to me like you’re a few steps away from sleeping through the night. You need to help the baby get used to calm evenings & bedtimes first.

    Good luck! Does anyone else have any advice?


  25. amber

    my baby will be 8 weeks on the 23rd i am a first time mom she was born premature she was 4 pounds 11 ounces she is pushing 7 pounds now but she wakes me up every 2 hrs to eat in the middle of the night and i have to get up in 4 in the morn to go to work me and my husband and during the day she wakes up every 2 hrs screaming and crying to eat than she goes right back to sleep and sleeps all during the day everybody told me to try to keep her up in the daytime but thats hard to do when shes only 8weeks old she really cant do nothing it takes everything just to hold her own head up so at night time shes wide eyed opened and plus her ped told me if she wants to sleep during the day let her sleep cause she needs all the sleep she can get she needs sleep to grow but than shes up all night and i kinda have a routine at 6 pm i bath her feed her than hold and her lots than put her in her swing and she dont like to sleep in her bassinet the only thing she will sleep in is her bouncey chair with vibrator on but than 2 hrs later she is screaming and crying so for experienced moms please let me know the best way to handle these situations and some advice thanks!!!! love my baby girl mary elizabeth nov 23rd 2010 3:57 am

    1. Clare

      Hi Amber

      I’ve never been in your situation, but here’s my take on it. I think you’re doing everything right for your baby now. She was premature – you don’t say how much – so although she’s 8 weeks old, she’s not the equivalent of a full-term 8-week-old in development. If she was born at 32 weeks, she’s only up to 40 weeks now, so you have to think of her as if you’re dealing with a newborn. She needs to sleep a lot, and she has to wake up every 2 hours to eat because her stomach is still small. She likes to sleep in the bouncy chair because it moves, and it reminds her of being inside your body. She’s still not quite ready for life on the “outside”, and she’s too young to try to get her to sleep through the night.

      But you need to get some sleep for yourself. Can you get her to take a bottle so your husband or someone else can take some of the nighttime feedings? Can you try splitting the night into two, so that you take all the feedings before midnight and your husband or someone else gets midnight – 4am? Even if you get 4 or 5 hours of sleep in a row you’ll feel much better.

      I think your baby is too young and small for you to be able to change her sleep patterns much. You could try keeping things low-key at night so she gets the idea that it’s not fun playtime. When you feed her, keep the room dim and quiet. Make eye contact and smile, but be calm and don’t entertain her. Bore her at night – eventually she’ll get the idea that it’s better to be awake in daytime when it’s exciting. But let her sleep in daytime if she wants to, and always feed her when she’s hungry. As soon as she gets to around 10 pounds she’ll be able to sleep longer. It might take a few more weeks, but you’ll get there.

      Good luck.

  26. amber

    thanks clare!!!! we will try your advice just got back from her ped today come to find out she has acid reflux thats why shes so fussy and gassy so we changed her formula to similac sensitive for gassy and fussy babys plus she told me to put oat cereal in her bottle it will help her have stools plus it will help her sleep longer so were doing that on her next feeding and plus she had her 3 immune shots omg i cried more than she did my husband and my mom had to hold her arms and legs i couldent do it i cried like a baby and they induced me when i was 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant and they said she was preemie but today she weighed 8 pounds and 8 ounces so she is gaining so much weight in 2 months thanks again for your advice clare i love my beautiful baby girl nov 23rd 3:57 am

  27. Sara

    I’m so glad I found this blog. My son is 6 weeks 4 days old. We have had a rough go of sleeping from the beginning. He is a breastfed baby and has been fed on demand since he was born. He has mild reflux and I have an oversupply/over active letdown issue. Even with these he has still gained weight very well. His birth weight was 6lbs 13oz, he now weighs 12lbs.

    In the beginning he would only sleep an hour or so, then nurse an our all through the night and day. For the last 2 weeks it has gotten a little better. Now he sleeps 2 ours at a time a couple of times during the day, and then cat nap here and there for 30 min or so. At night he is very fussy. Starting in the early evening nothing makes him happy. We have a night routine. Around 8 he gets a bath, lotion, jammies, story, breast, rock. He will fall asleep in my arms but sometimes it takes a while. It takes about 2 1/2 hours for the routine from start to sleep. He will then sleep until 12:30-1:30 if I put him in the swing in the livingroom. My husband stays up and gives him the first feeding of breast milk by bottle. This process takes 2 hours until he is asleep again. He then brings him to bed. We co-sleep. Sometimes he will sleep for an hour sometimes he wakes as soon as my hubby gets into bed and wants the breast. After this he is up constantly. He’ll eat a little, sleep 30 and so on.

    Please help! I am exhausted. I don’t know what to do to get him into a better pattern. I would be so happy with constant 2 hour stretches of sleep.

    I’m afraid that we have ‘spoiled’ him. He is our first so we held him all the time at first even while sleeping. He also wants to be held during the day all the time. He is only content in his bouncy/swing/playmate for 10 min or so a couple times a day.

    I don’t mean to take up so much space and ask so many things, I’m just lost. Thanks for any help and advice.

    1. christy

      I’m glad I found this site! Sara, my baby is 8 wks old and is going through the same thing. Most of the time I can only get him to sleep with the swing or bouncing him. He eats often and takes over an hour to get him to calm down and sleep. I think he has gas and air that takes over an hour to pass. I’ve tried everything from gas drops to adjusting feeding positions. I started giving him a bottle of expressed milk before bed time to make sure he was getting a full belly. He would sleep for 2 hrs after that. I also think his stomach will get air and stop feeding due to feeling uncomfortable, after the air passes which could be 30-60 min latter he is ready to finish feeding. His cry transition from hunger to pain in the tommy back to hunger and it’s hard to figure out one from the other because there is no distinction or break between the two. I tried to get him to fall asleep on his own but his stomach is so upset I end up bouncing him to sleep most of the time. Please let me know how your little one is doing now.

  28. amber


    dont worry this is my first baby to but it only gets better my baby has acid reflux so bad that her ped has put her on meds zantax liquid she takes it twice daily 1 millimeter but ever since her ped has told me to put 2 teaspoons of gerber baby oatmeal in her bottle it helps her sleep longer and put more weight on which both are true ever since we do that she sleeps like 4 hrs at a time which is wonderful rather than every hr at a time!! so maybe you can try that? i guess you can put baby oatmeal in breatmilk i formula feed because doctor said i can not breastfeed because of my medication but check with his ped first and just remember every time your baby cries every hr is he hungry? or could he just need diaper change or just want attention? every hr before we feed my daughter we always change her diaper first so we keep rashes away and its been workin! she hasent had a rash 1 since day one! but i had a routine to i would always bath her feed her read to her and just hold her but she was always up every hr so sometimes routines dont always work thats why he rped told me to put her on bay oatmeal because its normal for babys to cry every h cause their tummies are so small thats why oatmeal cereal helps her ped calls it thickining but every baby is different best wishes to you and your baby!!!!

  29. Clare Post author

    Hi Sara. Your situations sounds really difficult. I’d be going crazy with less than 2 hours of sleep at a stretch.

    First off, I don’t think you can spoil a baby. They know when they need something. If they need something, they cry. If they don’t, they just sit and look around. Needing to be cuddled, rocked, or held is just as valid a need for a newborn as needing to be fed or changed.

    The fact that you say your baby is particularly unhappy in the evening makes me think he might be colicky. He’s getting tired and overstimulated in the afternoon, and only the rocking and swinging help. Colic isn’t really a medical condition, it’s just the newborn’s nervous system having trouble adapting to being on the “outside”. Colicky babies have trouble relaxing, and like to have womb-like experiences like being constantly held and rocked.

    Have you tried swaddling? It really helps. Newborns’ brains are still wiring their limbs, and all the weird nerve impulses make them twitch and keep them awake. They can’t control their limbs at all. When they are tightly swaddled, they feel safe and close like in the womb, and they are much more relaxed. I’d try putting your baby in a tight swaddle as soon as he gets crabby in the afternoon and see if it helps. You can use something like the Kiddopotamus blanket, or just wrap the baby up in a receiving blanket like a burrito. Put him down to sleep swaddled too. I kept my baby swaddled pretty much full-time for the first couple months, except for tummy time and changing.

    Besides swaddling, try white noise and rocking. I think you might be in a vicious circle where the baby is overstimulated and nervous, and then can’t relax because the outside world is weird with all the gravity and air, and then being tired just makes him less able to relax and sleep. In “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, Harvey Karp recommends “Five S’s” for soothing babies. There’s a summary here:

    Basically, you want to mimic the conditions of the womb, so the baby feels like he’s in a familiar environment and can relax. Once he can relax, he’ll be able to fall asleep and keep himself asleep. The more he rests, the more he’ll be able to sleep. Weird, but that’s how it works. Less rest = less sleep.

    Good luck! I really recommend Harvey Karp’s book and website. There’s a lot of good stuff in there for calming down newborns.


  30. Sarah

    I have been trying to get my baby to go to bed while still sleepy yet awake. He is 8 weeks old, and when I try to do that, he cries and cries. I was previously holding and rocking until he fell asleep. Now, after reading books on the topic of teaching your baby to go to sleep not in your arms, but rather on his own at night, I am trying it, but it is tearing me up to hear him crying for 30 minutes. I can’t stand it, I am getting physically sick hearing him cry, and he clings to me when I do pick him up, his little fingers clutching to me, and he is really really crying, and all worked up, so glad to see me. My question is, am I spoiling him by holding him and singing to him and rocking him to sleep every night? I get him down very easily this way, but then it means no one else is able to get him to sleep. He will go to sleep for someone else, but then wants to see me, his mom, and wakes up within 10 minutes, and then I rock, etc. and then he goes down, …..but just for me. Please advise. I admit I love to rock him to sleep too.

    1. Clare Post author

      Hi Sarah

      You’re not spoiling your baby. 8 weeks is still really young, and is right at the beginning of the period when sleep training is feasible. You won’t create problems for yourself if you continue rocking your baby to sleep for a few weeks, and the rocking and cuddling at bedtime is great for bonding and infant brain development too. I rocked my baby to sleep until she was at least 3 months old.

      But you do want to start getting your baby used to having someone else put him down. It sounds like he is totally dependent on you for comfort right now, and he needs to learn that other people can comfort him just as well as you can. You could try having another family member start the bedtime rocking process, then you come in and take over for just the last bit. You could also try having someone else rock him and cuddle him when you’re putting him down for naps. Does he take a bottle? Getting someone else to feed him is also a good way to teach him that there are lots of people who can give him the love and care he needs.

      I don’t think there’s any harm in waiting a couple weeks until the next time you try putting him down awake. Even 2 weeks can make a big difference in brain development at such a young age. I’d spend the next 2-3 weeks having other caretakers/family members do more of the bedtime rocking, and handing off to you for a final cuddle & put down. Make sure that they do the same routine with songs, dim light level, rocking, etc, that you do.

      Next time you try to put him down awake, arrange it so that you can’t hear him. Put him down to sleep and leave the house for at least an hour, preferably 3. Have another family member stay and do whatever is needed, and let them tell you what happened when you come home.

      Hearing your baby cry is the worst feeling in the world. It’s supposed to be – our species has evolved so that the sound of an unhappy baby makes us willing to do anything to stop it. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to stay and listen to it. If you leave the house, then your baby will have to accept comfort from whoever is there, and he’ll learn that it’s ok for other people to take care of him at night. It won’t hurt him, and it’ll be much easier on you if you’re not there.

      Good luck!

  31. Adele,


    My baby girl is 7 weeks tomorrow. She was born premature on 33 weeks (4.1 lbs) with a caesarean ‘cause she wasn’t getting “food” from the umbilical cord. Now, it seems that she still doesn’t get enough food. She weighs around 7lbs now. She has a bottle (4,5 oz) every 2 hours (and less) which doesn’t leave us with a lot of sleep. In ICU her first 2 weeks she was in a routine of every 3 hours. She even started to eat Purity’s cereal to try to keep her fuller for longer. It only makes her get less winds when she finishes her bottle afterwards.

    Should I only expect her to sleep through (or for at least 4 to 5 hours) after another couple of weeks?

    1. Clare

      Hi Adele

      I don’t know much about premature babies, but I do know that in terms of development, you have to count their age from their gestational age, not how long since they were born. So your baby girl is only at 40 weeks development now, which is the same as a full-term newborn.

      The standard rule of thumb for beginning sleep training is 10 lbs and 8-12 weeks old (from full term 40 weeks gestation). Most babies have to weigh 10 lbs before their stomach is big enough to keep them full through the night.

      You must be exhausted from feeding so frequently. You might be able to get a 4-5 hour stretch in a few weeks, when she’s bigger, if you try some of the techniques mentioned above:

      1. Swaddle your baby so she can’t jerk herself awake
      2. Make nighttime feedings boring, with a dark room and no playing or talking. Just feed, cuddle, and put her down.
      3. Before you go to sleep, feed her in her sleep. Pick her up and shove the bottle or nipple far in her mouth. After a couple tries she should learn to nurse in her sleep, and then you can “top her off” for a couple hours before getting some sleep yourself.

      Good luck!


  32. Claire

    Its so good to know I’m not alone. My baby boy is 8 weeks and suffers from mild reflux. He sleeps well in the day and doesn’t battle to go down at night but from midnight onward he makes so much noise. Its like he is trying to push out gas! Nobody is getting any sleep, least of all me and I go back to work in a month. Iv tried gripe water etc and nothing seems to get him to settle. Please tell me somebody has an answer! He sleeps 3 – 4 hours at a time whether its night or day. He just seems so restless in the early hours! I’m pouring my heart out here, any responses!

  33. Carly

    My little boy is 8 weeks old now, he still wakes up every 2 1/2 to 3 hours all night and is fed the same all day as well, we have tried a routine but he hates having a bath so we miss that out, which just makes it the same as what we do all day to get him to sleep (change nappy, feed him, take to quieter room, wrap up in blanket, rock to sleep )
    he only eats 3oz at a time – if we’re lucky! – have tried getting him to eat more but even if he does he still wakes up in 3 hrs.
    any suggestions ??

  34. avijendr

    Wonderful, to be honest I am jealous. But won’t you wakeup your child to change her nappies or won’t she cry for the same? My wife and me are having a depression as out baby won’t sleep at all during he night and only shows some sign of sleep by around 9:00 am. Not sure what to do. He just cries when we put him down in the bed. To make things worse as he is a colicky baby, sometime in the middle of the night if we take him in our arms still he doesn’t stop crying. Very tiring indeed! But it’s outr first baby and when we see his face and when he smile once it brings os a lot of energy and strength. We love him!

  35. yasmin

    I have a similar routine m baby is 8 weeks Wed 18 Jan 2012 now and my son as his bath bout 9pm followed by a bottle then bedtime 11pm the trouble is my son has colic and possetting so he brings back up the milk 30 minutes to a hour later so that’s why I sit him up to 11.00 I no that sounds late then put him to bed, but then he will sleep right through til 7am 8am if I’m lucky but this is not every night about 4nights out the 7, and if he does wake up it wil b cos he’s puked up everywhere n will want another feed so then if he gets up about 2/3am I’ll hav 2 sit him up til about 4/5am so until the possetting stops the routine can’t fully b done 😦

  36. Maria

    i don’t agree with article. I have 8 weeks old baby boy and we give him a bath at 7pm then we feed him, put him in his bed…and he usually wakes up at 11.00 pm and then at 1.30 and then at 4.00 so not all babies sleeps so easily like you described yours…..

  37. Carly

    as you can read earlier at 8 weeks my baby wouldn’t sleep through the night either, but then at around 10 1/2 – 11 weeks he just started to do this himself. Now we feed him between 11 and half past and he doesnt wake until at least half 5 although more often it is half 6. We make sure he doesnt stay asleep for more than 2 1/2 hrs (in one go) during the day and always keep the last feed at the same time – even if we fed him at 9. Hope some of this might help although really every child is different and your child is more than likely to just do things in their own time 🙂

  38. aiman

    The child starts to develop quickly after spending two months in the world. The parenting style also changes as the baby gets old. keep reading the article if you want to know the changes you will see in the 7 week old baby.


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