Having a newborn baby is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life, particularly if it’s your first child. But, getting your cherub to sleep can be challenging, exhausting and downright frustrating at times. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve pulled together some advice on how to get baby to sleep, establishing some baby sleep routines and tackling some common baby sleep problems.
Baby Sleep Training
Sleep training is the process of teaching your baby to get to sleep and more importantly, stay asleep throughout the night! It’s never too late to start, but ideally you can begin as early as six weeks old. It’s all about establishing a routine. After the 3 month mark, your child should have developed a pretty regular sleep pattern and shortened their night-time feeds. It’s now time to start baby sleep training!
Typically, teaching your child good sleep habits comes down to two methods: tears or no tears.
• Tears – let your child cry it out. Of course, don’t let your baby cry endlessly, but don’t rise to every outburst. Allow short periods of crying, comforting them occasionally without picking them up. The belief behind this method is that in order to fall asleep on their own, babies must learn to soothe themselves.
• No tears – a softer approach, which involves comforting your child straight away when they cry. This method involves soothing and nursing your baby to sleep, developing closeness at bedtime. This can be a much more gradual approach, with the risk of creating overdependence on props and attention.
It is important to remember that every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Some will be naturally good sleepers (count your blessings!), whereas others will need some sort of help to get a good night’s rest. Find a method that works for you and don’t be afraid to mix it up if your child isn’t responding to it.
Baby Sleep Routines
Establishing a sound sleep routine is key for ensuring not only your baby gets a good night’s kip, but you do too! From around six weeks old, you can work on building a routine. This will enable your child to learn when they’re tired and how to tell you. Once you start to notice when your baby becomes cranky in the evening, be sure to start your routine before then so they can enjoy it! Here’s some ideas to incorporate into your baby sleep routine:
• Bath time – a staple in any bedtime routine. A cosy, warm bath signals it’s time to wind down for the night.
• Massage – relax your little one after their bath by gently massaging their arms and legs. You can use a little baby moisturiser or oil to make your hands nice and smooth.
• Storytime – help your baby settle by reading to them. There’s nothing like the sound of your voice to soothe your child to sleep.
• Feed – make sure your baby has a full tummy before nodding off. Not only will they get a better night’s sleep, but so will you when they don’t wake you up!
• Lullaby – singing to your baby is a classic way to lull them to sleep. Like reading a story, your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice.
• Play a game – a simple game of peekaboo before bed can be fun. Keep it quick and simple, so as not to overexcite your little one.
Baby Sleep Problems
If your child keeps waking up in the middle of the night, you’re not alone. Some will go back to sleep easily on their own; others sadly won’t. There could be a variety of reasons for this, such as:
• Hunger – your baby could have a grumbling tummy. Make sure your little one gets a feed before they nod off to minimise the likelihood of a midnight snack!
• Temperature – your child could be too hot or too cold to sleep. If you think your little one is too hot, check their tummy or the back of their neck, and remove a layer if need be. If your baby is too cold, consider putting a vest on underneath their sleepsuit and tucking them into a sleeping bag.
• Inconsistency – a sudden change in routine can mess with your baby’s sleep pattern. Be consistent when it comes to bedtime and try to keep disruptions to a minimum. Of course, it’s not always possible to stick to a rigid routine, but patience is key to returning things back to normal.
• Mattress – choosing the best mattress for your baby is essential for a good night’s sleep. It’s important that air can easily circulate through your little one’s mattress to help them breathe, especially if they are lying on their bellies – the Silentnight Safe Nights mattress helps the air to circulate, giving your little one a better night’s sleep.