Sleep deprivation is one of the most difficult things about being a parent, with many mums and dads awake in the night trying everything to settle a restless baby. You may have resorted to nighttime drives or early morning TV in an attempt to settle a fretful child, but there are many other techniques worth
Sleep deprivation is one of the most difficult things about being a parent, with many mums and dads awake in the night trying everything to settle a restless baby. You may have resorted to nighttime drives or early morning TV in an attempt to settle a fretful child, but there are many other techniques worth trying too.
Setting a bedtime routine
Prompting your baby to form a series of sleep associations can be essential at preparing them for a good night’s sleep. So whether you have a bath nightly, read a story or listen to music before bed, setting a loose routine can help your baby realise it’s time to sleep. If possible, dim the lights so the baby relaxes and starts to notice the difference between day and night. Many parents swear by a baby massage before bed or classical music.
All babies are different and it will take time to find the approach best suited to your baby. By being relaxed and following your baby’s lead, they learn that sleep is pleasant and something to enjoy. Some babies like to be fed to sleep, whilst others may like back stroking or rocking. Whatever your baby enjoys, indulge it, but also try to vary it so that they do not learn to rely on a certain activity for sleep. Comfort is important to babies and by comforting them whenever necessary, they become more secure and are likely to develop better sleeping patterns.
Be wary of ‘help’
There are hundreds of products available promising a good night’s sleep and likewise many parenting manuals claiming to hold the key to success. By all means avail of a little help, but be wary, as some of the advice can be contradictory and the products confusing and no real substitute for parental comfort. If you do opt for some sort of additional comforter, go for a simple old fashioned mobile or lullaby toy, rather than an all singing, all dancing creation that may be over-stimulating and a hindrance.
Babies will sleep better if temperatures are regulated and they don’t get too hot or too cold. Pay attention to the room temperature and then dress the baby accordingly, using sleepsuits, sleeping bags or blankets. Newborn and very young babies may like the security that comes from swaddling, so try to pay attention to the cues the baby is giving. Of course, babies don’t like being too hot. The general rule is that babies should have an extra layer, but that is not always necessary.
Find what works
Each baby will be different to the next and sleep training is the same. Some babies prefer co-sleeping whilst others are content sleeping independently. From moses baskets to cots, babies have preferences about where they want to sleep. The advice is to lay babies on their backs, but some babies may prefer to sleep on their side or their tummy. By recognising your baby’s preferences you are likely to find a solution that works, even if it’s just temporary. By realising that these patterns are subject to change and techniques will need altering, you are in the best position to support your baby in developing good sleeping habits. Whether you opt to sing lullabies, wear baby in a sling or rock them, there is something to soothe and comfort every infant. By staying in tune with your baby, going with the flow and being open to different approaches, your baby will react positively, reassured by your confidence and sense of calm.