Posted on 6th Sep 2017
I don’t know who invented the phrase “to sleep like a baby”, but it definitely wasn’t a person with an actual baby. So to new mums: you are NOT alone.
Did you know that, according to studies, the term ‘sleeping through’ is just five hours in a row? Regular night waking is simply a biological survival instinct for newborns. This is because babies have shorter sleep cycles, smaller tummies and spend more time in active sleep than adults do. Night waking is also protective against SIDS.
So if the idea of five whole hours of uninterrupted sleep sounds amazing to you, then I have created a list of baby sleep tips to help your baby (and you!) get a good night’s sleep. Every baby is different, and different methods work for each personality. There is no one rule for all.
Baby Sleep Tip No.1
Babies love routine. A bedtime ritual can help to calm your baby down and prepare him for sleep. Whether it is bath time, massage, cuddle with their lovey or a simple one like changing into pyjamas and reading a book, this will help baby to understand what is coming next. I have a really simple routine of changing, sleeping bag, putting on music and nightlight up and feed.
Baby Sleep Tip No.2
This was super handy to learn cos an overtired baby can be a lot harder to settle. Infants communicate they are tired through certain behaviours. Losing interest in the things around him, eye rubbing, going quiet or starting to fuss are common ones. Try napping baby when you notice these tiredness cues.
Baby Sleep Tip No.3
Avoid Eye Contact
This is an interesting one but very true! Your face is too exciting and stimulating for baby. If you get too animated with baby during bedtime, they will want to play with you, not sleep! I find while I’m rocking my bubs to settle him before putting him in his cot, I can’t make eye contact.
Baby Sleep Tip No.4
Most new mums do it some time or the other. As long as you follow safe sleeping guidelines, I don’t believe it is anything a new mum should feel guilty about. To co-sleep safely, you can use a co-sleeper or bassinet next to your bed. My midwife was lovely and supportive when I told her my daughter only wanted to sleep with me for the first 3 months. We moved her into a cot when she was 5 months old when it stopped working for both of us.
Baby Sleep Tip No.5
This was a good one. I believe it was from the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD we watched at mums group. Basically, SHHH as loud as they are crying or they can't hear you. So you have permission to scream "SHHHH!! It's OK!!!" as you drive home when a hysterical bubs in the car.
Baby Sleep Tip No.6
Newborns are used to constant sounds (in the womb), like your beating heart and noisy stomach, so silence may be very unsettling for them. Some babies sleep easier if you turn on a white noise machine. White noise is also great for cancelling out noises…like a shouting toddler outside.
Baby Sleep Tip No.7
Don’t Rush In
This was definitely true for my 2nd. Often, babies wake up crying or chatting and go back to sleep. My bubs cried in his sleep even, especially when he wasn’t well. Avoid rushing in and allow baby some time to see if they can resettle on their own. This can help them realised they can sleep without your help.
Time flies fasts with little ones. Before you know it, they will eventually sleep better. Those sleepless nights only seem like they'll last forever. Remember that all kids are different, and getting adjusted to a new routine is as challenging for them as it is for you.
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