Newborns and sleepless nights go hand in hand. They don’t know day from night and need to feed frequently in those first weeks and months. Some babies just seem to be terrible sleepers, others will start sleeping through the night from an early age. Most tend to fall somewhere in the middle and can benefit greatly from the right environment and a good sleep routine.
So, if you’re desperate to get a good night’s sleep, then try out some of the following to get your little darling to sleep through the night.
Follow safe sleep guidelines
Always ensure that you follow the national advice on safe sleeping for babies. This has been developed over a long period and is for the safety and wellbeing of the baby. Sleep deprivation can be brutal, but don’t be tempted to skip any of the advice.
Start getting into a routine
Once you’re out of the newborn phase where neither you nor the baby knows what time or even day it is, you can begin to start getting into a routine. Pick a time that works for you as a family and create a little routine that they will soon start to associate with sleeping. It might take a while at first but stick to the routine. It might go something like bathing them, putting on pyjamas, having a cuddle or a story, a feed, and then putting them down to sleep in their crib.
Keep the room dark
While a baby is still developing its circadian rhythms, it can help to reinforce when it is night and when it is day. Putting your baby down to sleep in a dark room at night can aid in the production of melatonin, which can calm and baby and help them sleep. Use Shadeland shade cloth blinds or a travel blackout bling to darken the room as much as possible.
Keep the environment as calm as possible
Try and keep stimulation to a minimum a few hours before bed. That doesn’t mean you need to turn out the lights and sit in silence until they fall asleep, but turn down TV’s of radios and dim the lights. Don’t get involved with any overly stimulating play with them as this will just keep them awake for longer.
Learn their sleep cues
As you get to know your baby better, you’ll start to notice the signs of tiredness. It can be yawning, ear rubbing, or zoning out. Often people say that you should always put a baby in their crib when they are tired, rather than asleep, so they will learn to go to sleep by themselves. While this might be ideal, it’s not that easy for everyone. If you’ve got a baby that won’t settle anywhere but in your arms, then you’re going to go for the easiest way to get them and you to sleep.
Try white noise
White noise machines have become popular with parents in recent years. They can help with a number of things. The noise is said to be similar to what the baby can hear in the womb, which can make them calmer, and more likely to sleep. Some machines even have a noise that mimics a heartbeat. Sometimes it works because babies might not like silence. How many adults do you know that need a tv or music to fall asleep to?
A white noise machine can also block out the noise from the rest of the house that might disturb them.
You can get specialist white noise machines for babies, or there are many YouTube videos with white noise on them that you could try before investing.
Don’t be tempted to skip naps
As your child gets older, then napping during the day will affect their nighttime sleep. So, if you have a baby that’s not sleeping well at night, you might think it’s logical to stop them napping during the day to make them more tired. In fact, you’ll find that babies who sleep well at night, nap well too. Babies need naps and you’ll usually end up with a really cranky baby who can’t sleep peacefully.
Check the temperature
It’s very important that the temperature in the room is right. Being too hot can be dangerous for babies, as they can overheat. Make sure that the room is cool and has a good flow of air through it for the best night’s sleep. It will probably help your family sleep too as humans sleep better in temperatures between 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the night time feeds low key
Young babies need to feed during the night, especially if they are breastfed as this is digested more quickly by the baby. If you are still doing the night feeds you want to keep them as calm as possible. Don’t switch on bright lights, make too much noise or jostle your baby too much. In fact, it’s better not to engage with them at all if you can. It might be difficult to resist talking to them and interacting, but you want to keep them as close to a sleep state as possible.
Some babies will even sleep feed, never properly waking up throughout the entire process and then drifting back off as soon as they are done.
This process might be easier if you’re breastfeeding, but if you’re using bottles there are things you can do to cut the amount of time it takes to make the formula. Try keeping the premade cartons or bottles of formula upstairs with you, and a sterilized bottle, that way, you just need to open it up and tip in the formula.
Getting into a good sleep routine can take time. As much as you follow everyone’s well-meaning advice, sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work with your baby and you have to keep trying new things. Do what’s right for you and your family while trying not to create too many bad habits. With a bit of perseverance, your baby will be sleeping soundly through the night.