Babies are not born with an understanding of the day/night sleep cycle and so it is a skill that they learn in the early stages of development. We have compiled a list of tips that researchers and parents have shown to be helpful in encouraging sleep in babies.
- Practice safe co-sleeping practices. Click here for more information on SIDS, co-sleeping and breastfeeding.
- Night feeds can be a great way to calm baby back to sleep so avoid changing the nappy at the end of the feed, instead change the nappy before or halfway through the feed.
- Let baby fall asleep on the breast.
- Get baby used to the idea of associating calm with night time by keeping the lights dim and avoiding play and using high energy levels at night.
- Offer your baby another feed before you go to bed, even if they are not due for a feed. Don’t wake them, let them suck in their sleep.
- Avoid caffeine if you’re breastfeeding. This will be transferred to your baby through the breast milk making them restless.
- Wrap your baby, this will reduce the startle reflex making them feel more secure.
- Rock your baby, a soothing motion will calm baby to sleep. Baby slings are perfect for this, where mum can get things done and soothe baby at the same time. Alternatively a rocking chair is also a good idea.
- Play your baby soothing music. Babies are accustomed to loud noises whilst in the womb, silence is not natural to them! Soothe them with music or ‘white noise’ such as the maternal heartbeat.
- Massage your baby and they may find it easier to fall asleep. Mums enjoy a massage, so it’s worth a try and it makes a lovely bonding experience between baby and parent.
- Create a routine that signals to your baby that it is bedtime. You may give your baby a relaxing and warm bath before bed or dim the lights to signal that it is time to quiet down.
- Look for signs of tiredness as a queue to get baby ready for sleep. A lack of focus and fussing are signs that your baby is tired and if not seen to they will turn grumpy which makes it hard to settle them down to sleep.
Parents are bound to lose some sleep when they welcome their new baby into the home however it is important to remember that the baby will develop this skill eventually and parents should see these moments as opportunities to bond with their baby. Enjoy the touch of your babies skin, their smell and how amazing they are, your special creation.
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