5 strategies to help your baby sleep through the night
It’s with a sort of malicious glee that parents of older children regale you with stories of sleepless nights (and days) that last for years, when you first arrive home with your newborn.
While it’s necessary in the beginning for them to be fed regularly for 24 hours a day, most babies are physically able to cope with sleeping through the night at quite a young age.
There are hundreds of “getting baby off to sleep” techniques and courses available to parents. They range from letting the child tell you they’re ready to sleep through the night by their actions to a heavily regimented parent-led technique.
Whichever version of sleep training (or non-training) you choose to implement, inevitably there will times when you tempted to throw in the towel. Here are 5 really helpful tips gathered from talking to other Mums, to help you and your little one sleep through the night.
- Put baby to bed earlier. It may seem counter intuitive that you would put the baby to bed earlier if they are waking up too early, but it actually works! Nearly every mother in my mother’s group has experienced this – their baby sleeps longer in the morning, if they go to bed earlier in the night.
- Make sure they’re wrapped up tightly. This is important for the newborns. Babies like to feel comfortable, safe and warm. There are some great baby wraps like the Nuroo Swaddler or the Puckababy, or while they’re really little, you can simply wrap them (tightly) in a muslin wrap.
- Give them a visual cue. When they’re born, babies don’t know the difference between light and day. When you put your baby down for a nap, or to sleep for the night, close the blinds and turn out the lights. Start to teach them that when it’s dark, you sleep, which is VERY helpful for those middle of the night baby self-settling opportunities.
- Are they warm enough? Check that they have enough warm clothes on. Even in the heat of a sweltering summer, the middle of the night can get cold. I like to put a long sleeve baby suit on my son under his summer sleeping bag. I find that if he only has a singlet on, he wakes up early in the morning, and then we all struggle to go back to sleep.
- Have a cup of tea. Sometimes baby is just having a grizzle and will settle themselves back to sleep as long as they’re not disturbed. If you need to give them a little pat, put a dummy back in, or fish the favourite teddy off the floor, do so without speaking or turning on the light. Go to your kitchen, make a cup of tea and drink it. If they’re still crying, go back in and comfort them. But give them a little bit of time (tea-time) to practice their self-settling.
Helping your baby learn to sleep takes time and patience. Try one, or a few of these when things are getting tough, keep calm and remember that this will pass, and you will all sleep…. eventually.