It’s no secret that most new parents dream of getting a better night sleep. Some babies are better sleepers than others – some babies sleep in short bursts while others sleep through the night very early on. Every baby has its own sleeping pattern, and it rarely aligns with its parent’s desire for sleep.
Don’t get caught up on what you think your baby should be doing
The thing I always find bizarre is how good behaviour and sleep are so aligned in some people’s minds. So people will say to a new parent ” Are they good for you?” What they mean is do they sleep well? It’s all a bit odd really. They are babies, they don’t know good or bad and they’ve been used to being tucked up inside you for months – society certainly expects a lot from newborns.
Some babies just don’t sleep well. There is nothing wrong with them and there is nothing wrong with you! Don’t let others convince you there is. My youngest did not sleep all the way through the night until he started full time school, neither did I as a child.
Even if your baby is not a good sleeper, you can still have a bedtime routine. We’ve always done this, it didn’t mean they slept well, but we still had the routine. Develop a bedtime routine and a cosy sleeping environment to encourage your baby to sleep. Ease your stress and prepare for bedtime in advance to optimise your chance of a good night’s sleep.
Here are a few things you can try, but if these don’t work, don’t stress, talk with a baby sleep consultant.
Create a comfortable environment
It’s recommended that your baby sleeps in the same room as you, day or night, for the first six months. However, after these initial months it is essential to get your baby used to self-soothing and sleeping without you. A comfortable cot can make a world of difference when they are trying to get to sleep alone.
Make sure their room is at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. You can also invest in baby sleepsuits to help regulate their body temperature and keep them safe throughout the night. By ensuring your baby is protected from anything like a blanket getting tangled over their head in the night everyone can sleep peacefully.
Try not to change their nappy in the middle of the night unless it is a very messy situation. If you need to change it, make sure the lights are dimmed, and you talk in hushed tones.
Before your baby arrives, install a dimmer switch in their bedroom so you can create a soft, cosy atmosphere before bed. Lighting is a great way to teach your baby the difference between night and day as well. In the day, open the curtains and don’t worry about everyday noises as they would help prevent your baby getting used to sleeping in the daytime, if surrounded by a low noise level. However, at night lights should be soft and talking kept to a minimum.
Set a bedtime routine
Babies who follow a night-time routine are more likely to sleep better and easier. Introduce a routine around the three-month mark and stick to it. Play games before the evening to burn up any remaining energy, and then run their evening bath. Change them into night-time clothes, a fresh nappy and read them a bedtime story. As they get older, you can adapt and simplify the routine to fit their schedule. Some fresh air and time outside prior to starting the bedtime routine can also help.
What is preventing your baby from getting a good night sleep?
Of course, sometimes other factors are impacting your baby’s sleepy time. Identify why they are crying and look for ways to help them. For example, if they are teething, they may be crying from early pulling, and waking up regularly in the night.