One thing you can be sure of as you enter into the world of parenthood is that sleep will never be the same again. But you can still hold out hope for a good night sleep if you follow a few rules with your little ones throughout their early days.
From day one you should aim to keep day and night distinctive. Even though your baby will inevitably wake up for feeding in the early weeks/months you should still try to keep night time relaxed and mellow.
- Keep lights dim
- Not too much interaction.
- A smooth and easy nappy change – the least disruptive you can be the better.
- Noise should be minimal.
- Make sure you put baby straight back to sleep.
Sticking to these simple rules will help you all to get the best night sleep possible for the time being. It will also set you up for better things to come as you gradually encourage longer periods of sleep and reach the stage when baby starts to miss a night feed.
Three months onwards
At first, your baby’s sleeping patterns will be all over the place. But as your little one reaches around three months you should be able to implement some kind of bed time and light routine. Not only will this give you back some of your evening but it is the start hopefully what will lead to a good night sleep for all.
- Create a soothing environment. At least 15 to 30 mins before bedtime have a chill out period. This is where you make minimal excitement. Maybe you do baby massage, bathes your baby or just simple sit and have cuddles. Turn the lights low, play soothing music.
- Find out how much sleep you should expect your baby to be getting day and night by checking out this guide: Baby sleeping schedule. Then you can get a rough guide to what bed time you should set to fit in with your lifestyle.
- Don’t worry about your baby sleeping in the daytime. Let baby sleep. It doesn’t usually matter how much sleep baby gets in the day the night time shouldn’t be affected.
- Listen to your baby. If you always try and put baby down straight after a feed and she always cries and gets upset then try feeding her and waiting for a while before putting her to bed.
Remember that sleep is very important for babies and children. Having a solid bedtime routine along with a sensible bed time which fits into your life will benefit you and your little one now and throughout their childhood. But be prepared for this to take time.
What if baby used to sleep through but doesn’t anymore?
Once your baby starts sleeping for six to eight hours at a time it is easy to get used to the extra sleep. But you should always be prepared that baby could go back to having unsettled nights once more. This could be for a number of reasons but in most cases caused by illness and teething. At this time you can only do what you do best and tend to babies needs.
The important thing here is to make sure you don’t fall into a trap. Breaking the routine to tend to your baby’s needs can not be helped. Perhaps you pick baby up in the night to settle them when they are ill. This is fine but you might find that it starts to happen every night, even once baby is well again. Make you stop stop this as soon as you realise it is happening.
As hard as it can be to get woken up several times in the night just always keep the thought in your mind that you will get past this point and it will only be a matter of time before your baby will sleep through once more.
Six months onwards
By the time baby reaches six months old things should have really settled down by now. Baby will be needing around 11 hours of night time sleep. Being so busy exploring and discovering the world around them during the day will really wear them out.
Don’t forget, if you do have any worries or concerns you should always speak to your healthcare provider. They will be able to give you more tailored advice and tips on what you can do.