5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better
The phrase “slept like a baby” really goes out of the window when you become a parent and realise that not only may you never use that phrase again until your children fly the nest, but also that it is not very true when it comes to a sleeping child.
Gone are the days of long lie-ins and hours of uninterrupted sleep when you have young kids, in fact you will probably find it hard to even remember back to when they were a reality.
Around 25% of children under the age of 5 have sleep problems and either struggle to go to sleep or wake up repeatedly through the night. Sometimes the two can happen together and this leaves parents feeling tired and drained, meaning they lack the energy needed to really function properly.
Next time you feel tired and helpless when it comes to getting your baby to have a good night’s sleep, check out these tips and see if you can change both of your sleeping patterns forever:
Set a Routine
Starting a baby’s bedtime routine can be beneficial from as early as 8 weeks old. Make sure you keep to the routine every evening and you should end up with a child who sleeps better and wakes up less often. Play any active games with your baby in the day time, then choose quieter activities for the evening to avoid getting them over excited.
Leave your baby’s favourite activity until last and then do it in their bedroom, this way they will associate their bedroom with nice things to help them look forward to going to bed. Ensure that the conditions in your baby’s room are always the same, so that if they wake up in the middle of the night, the lighting and noise levels are the same as when they went to sleep.
Put a Drowsy Baby to Bed
It’s all about timing when it comes to putting your baby to bed. Give your baby a warm bath and a soothing massage, then when they are drowsy put them down and let them fall into a deeper sleep on their own. If a baby learns how to fall asleep on their own, they will find it easier to soothe themselves further down the line.
There are lots of different ways you can help your baby feel drowsy, including rocking them, singing to them and slowing down your breathing while holding them. Make sure your baby’s cot or bassinet is warm and cosy and always lay them down on their back.
Divert Your Gaze
We know it can be hard to take your eyes off of your lovely little one, but looking them in the eyes can actually stimulate them and encourage them to wake up. If a baby sees the loving face of a parent, it will speed up their heart rate and increase their blood pressure, making it much harder for them to doze off.
If a baby feels there could be some interaction with one of their parents, then they have more motivation to wake up. Keep your gaze away from their eyes and soothe them to sleep with a calming tone and gentle cuddle.
Makeover Their Room
Your baby’s room will have a huge impact on how well they sleep, so it is important to get it right. The first thing is to make sure the temperature is right; the optimal temperature for young children to sleep in is between 18 and 23°C. If you do not have a thermostat, then you can always use a heater or fan to get the ideal temperature.
Use a dimmer switch to control the lighting in your child’s room, as light is a fantastic way to control their internal body clock. Lower the lights in the room as the evening draws in and use a black out blind to keep the room as dark as possible for the rest of the night. In the morning expose them to bright sunlight as this will help to wake them up and understand the time to sleep is over.
Keep Them Asleep
Once you have finally got your baby to sleep and their room is optimized for the best night possible, it is important to do everything you can to try and keep them asleep. If you child likes sounds, then give them a repetitive noise to sleep with, such as a fan, clock or gentle music.
Leave them with something that reminds them of you, like a jumper or scarf so they can feel reassured that you are always there. Make sure that they are as comfortable as possible, and no irritating clothing or wet nappies will wake them up.