Having a baby crying through the night will no doubt disturb your own sleep patterns leaving you feeling tired and unable to function. You’re not alone if you’re having difficulty getting your baby to sleep through the night. Around ¼ of children under five have sleep problems leaving their parents looking for help. Here are a few different sleep strategies to try out to see which suits your little one.
Even If your baby is as little as 6 weeks old, the following strategies will be worth giving a go to help your baby as well as you get to sleep at night.
● Differentiate between feeds so your baby knows it’s time for bed. Make daytime feeds lively and fun and night-time feeds quiet and calm. You could even use lively and calming music to change the mood from day to-night. This will help you baby to set their body clock to learn the difference between morning and evening. In addition more activity in the day can help promote better sleep at night.
● Give your baby the chance to sleep without you rocking them or feeding them as they will start to depend on it. Put your baby down on their back when they’re looking sleepy and let them fall asleep on their own.
● Set a short bedtime routine such as a bath, nappy change then put them into pyjamas. You could then sing them a song or try a massage.
● If they’re crying give them time to settle down and find a comfortable sleeping position. If they continue to cry go to them and pat them gently reassuring them. Then leave the room and wait for around 2-5 minutes and check on them again. Do this until they begin to fall asleep extending the time you leave them during each visit. Ultimately leaving them to cry is up to you as only you know how to respond to your baby.
● Give your baby a security object such as a baby blanket or cuddly toy. Keep it near you for a while so it becomes scented. Babies have a strong sense of smell so when they awake the smell of you will calm them down.
● Keep your baby sleeping in the same room as you but in a cot not in your own bed. Make sure your baby has a decent mattress also.
From birth to three months most newborn babies are asleep more than they are awake but the amount of sleep varies from child to child. It can be anything from 8-18 hours. Many parents may feel like their child should be sleeping more than they are but a baby has their own sleep pattern which can vary from night to-day.
Some babies sleep more than others. Some for long periods, others in short burst but ultimately your baby will have their own pattern of sleeping and waking. However the key to an effective bedtime routine is consistency. Babies are born without a concept of circadian rhythm so this needs to be taught. Give your baby lots of attention during the day and make sure they’re in a bright environment with noise and stimulation. Keep light and noise to a minimum during night-time feeds. This will help your baby to establish a pattern and recognise when it’s time to go to sleep.
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