Having trouble getting your baby to sleep through the night?
You aren’t alone. Studies have shown that about one-fourth of children under the age of five have trouble sleeping. Some refuse to go to bed, some wake up often in the middle of the night, and others do both.
If your child is having a hard time sleeping, chances are you aren’t sleep well either. Luckily there are a few strategies you can try and a few newborn essentials you can buy for your baby to help.
The following strategies can help your baby sleep better through the night, as early as 6 weeks old. In order for this baby advice to work, though, you have to be consistent, even on the weekends.
• Pay attention to feeding times. During the day, feeds should be lively and social. At night, though, they should be calm and quiet. This will help your little one learn and understand the difference between daytime and night time.
• Allow your baby to sleep with something that will make them feel more secure. A blanket or stuffed animal may be all they need to feel safe if they wake up during the night. Babies often have a strong sense of smell as well; if you’re breastfeeding, try expressing some of your breast milk onto a little bit of muslin and place near their cot. Your scent may give them the security they needs when they wake in the middle of the night.
• Consider using a dummy, but wait until they are at least eight months old if possible. At this time, your baby should have the fine motor skills they needs to put the dummy back in they mouth if it falls out in the night. Before then, you may find yourself getting up several times to help. Many parents rail against dummies and pacifiers but if you find it works, then great – it’s worth trying anything that helps us to sleep better. Always look for a tooth-friendly dummy if possible.
• Allow your baby to fall asleep by themselves at night between six and eight weeks old. While they may fall asleep easier while you rock them, they may come to depend on this if you don’t allow them to fall asleep without being rocked.
• Choose a bedtime routine, then follow it. It might include a bath and a nappy change, then changing into their pyjamas. You can include a night-time story or song, or even a massage. The routine shouldn’t last any longer than 45 minutes and should occur every single night.
• Tune into her needs. One of the best ways to do this during the day is by carrying her in a sling so she feels close to you and secure. If she wakes in the night, figure out what could be bothering her. Does she have a full nappy? Is she cold? Are her pyjamas uncomfortable?
If you’re trying to help your baby sleep through the night, begin by using a few newborn essentials, like a dummy and a security blanket to help them understand when it’s time to go to sleep. These tools, combined with a few changes in your routine, should help them sleep better at night.