Sleep is the one huge challenge that most parents with babies face. Everyone secretly (or not so secretly) hates that one couple with the newborn who started sleeping through the night immediately. For a long time, sleep can be a huge struggle, for both you and your baby. There is a range of common issues, from your baby needing to be rocked but waking up as soon as you put him down, to babies that only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Although there’s no magic answer that works for everyone, there are always solutions you can explore for your various sleep problems. Have a go with some of my suggestions for maximising sleep for everyone.
Crafting a Bedtime Routine
If you’re looking for sleep advice for your baby, you’ll hear again and again about the importance of a good routine. It might not be as easy as just showing your baby a schedule of bedtime events, but if you’re willing to stick with it, a bedtime routine really can help. It can take a while to establish, so you have to be prepared to stick at it. Being consistent with your baby’s bedtime routine is beneficial for them and for you. Everyone knows what to expect when it’s time for bed, and it’s not just a good idea for newborns. Starting off with a good routine makes it easier to have one later on too, right up until your baby gets a toddler bed and beyond.
A Comfy Cot
Where your baby should sleep is one of the big questions. Moses basket or cot? In your room or in their own room? And is co-sleeping safe? It can be tough to decide what’s best, especially when there seems to be a lot of conflicting information. If you choose to put your baby to bed in a cot, you then need to think about how to make it comfortable and safe. The first thing you might consider is a cot that will grow with your baby, like some of the cots from Cuckooland. You can select cots with adjustable heights or even ones that will turn into toddler beds when your baby is big enough. Then you need to think about mattresses and bedding. When you’re looking at bedding, keeping it simple is a good rule. It’s important to avoid anything in the crib that could prevent your baby from breathing properly.
Choosing the Right Soothing Sounds
Using some soothing sounds to help your baby drop off can be a great tactic. And you might find it sends you off to sleep too. There are a few different sounds you might find useful to soothe your baby. They’ve just come out of what was essentially quite a noisy place, so anything that simulates what they heard in the womb often works. Many parents use a white noise machine – or just an app if you want to be more modern. You might also consider some lullaby music, radio static or even the sound of the vacuum cleaner.
Get the Temperature Right
Temperature is important when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep too. Just like adults, babies sleep better when it’s cool. Making sure the room isn’t too warm and that their clothes and bedding don’t make it too warm either is a good idea. Opening a window or running a fan can help to cool a room. If it’s a particularly warm summer, you might also consider doing away with pyjamas and blankets. Keep a close eye on the temperature of the room to make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
Lower the Lights
You probably also sleep better in low lighting, and your baby is the same. Lowering the lights can help them see that it’s bedtime and allow them to drift off. If you can’t dim the lights, make sure you’ve got different lighting levels available from several sources. If you can switch on a lamp instead of the main ceiling light, that can be helpful.
Recreating Your Routine Away from Home
You’ve mastered bedtime at home – but now your baby will be spending the night elsewhere. If this happens, you can do your best to recreate the same conditions away from home. Set up a portable cot the same way as their permanent one, and bring any useful things from home to recreate sights, sounds, and even scents.
Baby bedtime isn’t easy. Eventually, however, you can work it out. And when you do, you’ll feel like the master of sleep.