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How To Settle a Newborn Baby To Sleep

Settling your baby can be challenging, especially in the first few months. That's why establishing a routine from the first evening will lay the foundations for good sleep for years to come. 

From common reasons why your baby is struggling to settle to baby settling techniques to try, find out everything you need to know below.  

Why is my baby not settling? 

From hunger to discomfort, find the common reasons why your child isn’t settling below.  

Your baby needs feeding 

When your child is struggling to settle, think about where they are in their sleep-feed-uptime cycle.  

Always make sure to feed your baby before putting them down to sleep. This will help to settle them and increase the time before they wake for another feed.  

Your baby needs burping  

Your baby might be struggling to settle because they need to be burped. Common signs that they need to burp are squirming, pained facial expressions, crying or fussing, arching their back, and clenching their fists.  

Find tips on how to burp your baby below. 

  • Pat them on the back using a cupped hand (this is gentler than a flat palm). 

  • Drape a towel or bib over your shoulder/lap to protect your clothing in case your baby spits up. 

Your baby needs changing  

Always make sure your baby has been changed and that you have treated nappy rash before putting them down for a nap.  

Your baby is overtired 

When your child is struggling to settle, think about where they are in their sleep-feed-uptime cycle.  

If your baby is struggling to fall asleep, they might be overtired. Below, find common signs of overtiredness: 

  • Pulling at their ears. 

  • Closing their fists. 

  • Yawning. 

  • Sucking on their fingers (this is also a sign of self-soothing). 

  • Frowning. 

  • Fluttering their eyelids. 

  • Staring into space or looking confused. 

Your baby is too cold or too hot  

You can monitor your child’s temperature by feeling their back or tummy, which should be warm. Choose their sleepwear based on the season and temperature. You can use our clothing guide to find the right sleepwear and swaddle for your baby. 

Never use blankets, hot water bottles, or heated blankets. Always follow safe sleep guidelines.

Your child needs physical assistance  

From birth to three months old, most children need physical or emotional assistance from a parent/caregiver to fall back to sleep. Rocking, feeding, holding, or offering a pacifier are common ways to achieve this. 

Your baby is unwell  

If you have followed the above steps and your child is still struggling to settle, it’s important to ensure that they are not unwell. Check to see if they have a temperature and consider whether they’re teething. A cold, infection, or upset stomach are common reasons why your baby won’t settle.  

If you have concerns about your child’s health, contact a medical professional immediately.  

Baby settling techniques 

From swaddling to using white noise, discover common settling techniques below.  


Our award-winning Swaddle Up™ is designed to encourage your little one to safely self-soothe. Its unique wing tips mean your child can sleep in a more natural arms-up™ position while the twin zipper enables easy nappy changes without disturbing sleep. 

Once your child start to show signs of rolling over or pulling up onto their hands, you must stop swaddling. Designed to help your little one slowly graduate to arms-free sleep, our Ready To Roll collection features Transition Suits and Bags™ with wings that can be removed one by one. 

Rocking your baby 

Some babies require physical and emotional assistance to settle and sleep. You might find that rocking your baby helps to calm them down.  

Short car journey 

Some parents and caregivers find that taking their baby on a short car journey helps to settle them. Always follow health and safety guidelines. 

White noise 

Parents and caregivers often use a white noise machine or app to help their child to settle and sleep better. It is designed to recreate the feeling of being in the womb and will block out other distracting noises such as older siblings, the television, or traffic outside.   

If you are using white noise, always follow the below safety advice: 

  • Always turn the white noise machine off or turn the volume down if your child is distressed. 

  • Always keep the white noise machine at least two metres away from your baby’s cot.   

  • Ensure the sound level never exceeds 50 decibels (no louder than a quiet conversation or a shower running). This may be the lowest setting on your machine.  

  • Always make sure the white noise machine is out of your child’s reach and any cords are safely tucked away.  

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and safety warnings.  

  • Turn the white noise machine off when your child is asleep. 

What should I do if my baby still won’t settle? 

Every child is different, and it might take time to find what works for your child. Following an evening routine will help your little one to understand when it’s time to sleep. This might look like a bath, reading a book, or baby massage.  

It’s also important to create a calming sleep space for your baby. Turn down the lights, close the blinds/curtains, and keep the noise down. Speak in hushed tones and use white noise if this is something your child responds well to. Always follow safe sleep guidelines.  


Common baby settling FAQs from parents 

From how I settle your newborn on the first night to how to settle a baby in a cot, find answers to your most common questions below.  

How long are newborns unsettled for? 

It takes longer for some newborn babies to settle than others, but most children will be unsettled for the first three months. Establishing a safe sleep routine from the first evening is the best way to lay the foundations for years to come. 

How do I settle my newborn on the first night? 

To make sure your newborn baby is settled on the first night, make sure to change and feed them. Ensure they are dressed appropriately for the temperature and season. If they’re still crying, rocking or swaddling them might help. Always follow safe sleep guidelines. 

How do you settle a newborn after feeding? 

It’s important to try to establish a sleep routine from the first night. When you have fed and changed your baby, put them to sleep on their back. If they are still fussing, gently rocking them or singing a lullaby might help. White noise is also a helpful tool. Always follow safe sleep guidelines. 

How to settle your baby in a cot/bassinet 

Once you have fed and changed your baby, put them to sleep on their back in the cot or bassinet. Always ensure the mattress is flat, clean, firm, and is the right size for the cot/bassinet. Do not use excess blankets and remove any toys, loose objects, and other choking hazards from the cot/bassinet.  

If your baby wakes, try to avoid taking them out of the cot/bassinet. Instead, quietly comfort them with gentle words, singing, or light pats. Over time, this will encourage them to self-soothe.  


At Love To Dream™, we know that every child is different, and we’re committed to helping you to find the right solution for your family. With you at every step, Love To Dream™ believes today’s little dreamers are the shapers of tomorrow. For further advice from our experts, visit our Sleep Library.