You may notice that babies and sleeping don’t usually go in the same sentence. You have probably read every book under the sun, and scrolled the internet for information about how to get your baby to sleep. The truth is that there are many schools of thought out there in the internet world, about how to get your baby to sleep. It all depends on your own personal situation and what your baby is like. I used to get so jealous of the mums out there when the would tell me that their baby had slept through the night. I would have given anything for some actual help, some great advice to help my little one. I had to work things out myself, and unfortunately our first was a bit of a guinea pig. Years later with a few kids under my belt I have figured out a great way to get babies to sleep. It works so well and you will be teaching your baby how to get to sleep by themselves. Initially babies feed a lot when they are newborns, and they need to wake up and feed at least every 3-4 hours to thrive. Breastfed babies tend to wake more often as breastmilk isn’t as heavy on their little tummies and is digested a lot quicker. So keep this in mind as it’s the best thing for your baby. However, you will be a few months down the line and probably noticing that your baby doesn’t really need to wake as often and that they are just using you as a dummy to fall back to sleep. Here are a few great ways to help your baby get to sleep:
Your baby has been in a dark place for 9 months and life outside the womb is so bright. Invest in some blackout curtains and it will make a huge difference, especially in the summer months when the sun rises so early.
Before you put baby down, make sure they have brought up all of their wind. It is helpful to feed, burp and change baby and then feed again. If they have bubbles in their tummy then they will be to uncomfortable to sleep properly.
Awake to bed
If you have been feeding your baby to sleep, then this may be a game changer for you. Keep your baby awake whilst you are feeding, then once they have finished feeding and winding and nappy changed, you can put them down in the cot to self soothe. Try not to rock them to sleep as they are still using you to go to sleep.
Some parents find that using a pacifier can help baby's self soothe and settle easier in their cot. This is a personal choice and do whatever works for you.
Babies just love routine and they will quickly learn the cues for bedtime. So try and do the same routine every night, things like books or music are fine to change but the order in which you do it will matter. Try feed, bath, massage with oils or cream, feed, story and it’s nice to sing a song to them as you go up to the room where they will be sleeping.
Communicate to your baby that it is time for their big sleep and that you will see them in the morning. Let them know in advance that you will not be feeding them to sleep. Make it a nice relaxed atmosphere especially if you have other children.
When your baby is a newborn swaddling is s great way to relax your baby and make them feel safe. Once your baby gets a bit older you will notice that they like one arm out and then completely out. This is a great time to switch to a sleep sack, as babies move around so much and kick their covers off which can be a hazard.
Time to sleep
Put your baby down in their cot in a safe sleep position tired but not asleep. As I said before it’s up to you whether you want to rock your baby so that they are almost asleep. If you have other children to care for, you may want to just walk away. If it’s your first you may want to stay in the room next to the cot. Say goodnight to your baby and either walk away or sit next to the cot. You may notice your baby grizzling, let them work it out as it’s new for them. If they are crying then after a minute go into them and tell them that they are doing great and that they can fall asleep. Try this every 3-5 minutes initially If your baby is really upset them give them a cuddle and once they have calmed down put them back in the cot and say it’s sleepy time now. If you are staying in the room then inch away every few minutes, telling them that they are doing great and that they can do this. As I said before, this is a new skill that they are learning and you will figure it out between you and your baby. This is not a cry it out method, it’s teaching your baby how to sleep. I personally used this method when my baby was 8 weeks old and he went from waking up every hour to sleeping 6 hours. Then at 4 months he was sleeping through the night.
If you are struggling to get your baby into a routine at night or you just feel that you would benefit from having some quality sleep, consider having a maternity nurse.
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