Getting your baby to sleep can be a frustrating challenge, especially if you are in desperate need of some treasured sleep. All babies are different, some sleep through the night without a problem (wouldn’t that be wonderful?), but others are far more restless.
If you have tried all sorts, but aren’t sure how to help your little bundle of joy drift off into dreamland, don’t fret. We’ve spoken to some mums and called upon some of our experts to put together some top tips. Here’s how to help your baby sleep.
It’s all about the bedtime routine
Sticking to a set bedtime routine where possible can really help. Doing things like having bathing, feeding milk, reading a story in bed, then dimming the lights in the same order each night can get your baby used to a regular routine. They recognise that this combination of things leads to bedtime.
Top tip – a baby massage can really help some little ones fall asleep more easily. Researchers at Miami University found that babies and toddlers who were massaged for 15 minutes before bed each night, fell asleep more easily within just one month.
Keep them warm
Changes in temperature can make a baby unsettled. Before you place your baby down, warm their blanket first so there isn’t much of a temperature change. Baby grow sleeping bags can be handy for bedtime, as they make your baby feel warm and cosy and you don’t have to worry about them kicking their blanket off.
Background noise & lighting
White noise is really handy because it provides a soothing, consistent background noise to help your baby stay asleep. You can get cute products, like Ewan the sheep, which makes noises similar to the womb.
Lighting is also important as darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin, a key sleep hormone. If you make days nice and bright and night’s dark, it will help your baby adjust to awake time and sleep time more easily. You might want to get dimming lights for your baby’s room, so you have more control over light levels.
A full tummy
A full baby is a happy baby, and when their tum is full of the good stuff, they will be less irritable and more likely to go to sleep. However, it’s best not to feed them too close to bedtime. If they wake in the night and need a feed, don’t turn the lights on or talk very much, and they might drift off again easier.
It’s all about the timing. Instead of waiting until your baby has fallen asleep to put them to bed, put them to bed just as they start to show signs of tiredness. As the evening progresses, your baby will begin to quieten down, lose interest things and start yawning.
This is the best time to start their bedtime routine. This isn’t always easy, but babies who are able to drift off in bed learn to soothe themselves to sleep, according to Kim West, a sleep consultant and author of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight.
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