If you are a parent of a new little one, the biggest topic on your brain is probably sleep. You may be asking yourself, when will they finally sleep through the night? Should I continue night feedings? Will I ever get to have a full night’s rest? You may even be wondering about the term, “sleeping like a baby” even means when your little one seems to only be sleeping in 2-3-hour shifts. This sleep deprivation is wreaking havoc on your sense of self and sanity leaving you wondering if you will ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. It can feel like you are reaching your breaking point. But we promise you, this period of time with your baby does not last long and there is hope. We promise you that you will finally get your full night's rest.
Here are some of our tips to help encourage positive sleep practices for your baby and your family:
- Keep a routine. Routines are wonderful for little ones because they can help your child cue in on what to expect. It gives them a sense of security as well as stability. When their environment is more predictable it is easier for them to transition to this part of the day. Giving your child a sense of routine is not only beneficial for them now but gives them the building blocks for healthy habits for life.
- Bedtime story ritual. A bedtime story can begin on day one of when your baby is born. Reading to them not only helps build a bond between baby and parent, but it is also a great way to signal your little one that it is time for bed. Read a story to them every night is not only a great brain-building activity that helps promote language development and thinking skills, it is a calming way to transition to bedtime. You may find the older your child becomes; they may want to read the same book over and over again. That’s okay! Repetition is also great for child development. Just the soothing sound of your voice reading their favorite book is a great way to lull them to sleep.
- A good swaddle is important. Swaddling is a great way to help calm a fussy baby. It helps soothe your little one by replicating the closeness your little one felt while being in mum’s belly. Baby organic muslin wraps not only are soft but the material helps make swaddling easier, Our Baby Nursery has a beautiful range that comes in a multitude of fun and beautiful prints. Many parents can report that these blankets not only have been a lifesaver when swaddling your little one to bed, but they have also become their little one's favorite blankie as they grow up. We recommend having many on hand. Light and airy, these blankets can be used not only for swaddling but having a light blanket to cover your stroller for shade during an afternoon walk or keep it as a self-soothing item for your little one.
- Put your baby in their room. If possible, putting your baby in their room can be a game-changer. We know how hard it can be for new parents to be that far from their baby even if their room is right next door. But with a monitor, you can still watch and ensure our baby is comfortable and safe. The reason why moving your little one into their bedroom can be a game-changer is that babies are quite loud sleepers. It’s hard not to wake up and respond to every little sound or stirring.
- Utilise a sound machine. Sound machines have been known to help soothe little ones into a calmer and deeper sleep. Keep in mind that a safe volume for baby is around 65-70 decibels, which is comparable to the sound of a shower running. Having a sound machine is great for naps, especially if you have older children still running around. It helps drown out outside noise and can help naps last longer so that when it is time for bedtime, your baby can transition into nighttime sleep because they are not overtired from the day.
- Teaching self-soothing skills. When you are putting your little one to bed, you want to help teach them how to self-soothe by not putting your little one down when they are completely asleep. When you see your little one transitioning to bedtime and getting sleepy, this is the perfect time to put your baby down. This will help them fall asleep quickly while also helping to ensure that they are keeping themselves asleep all on their own.
Remember that each baby is different and that there may be other factors that can make sleep difficult for your little one such as digestive issues. If you are still struggling or find that you are still hitting a wall, please consult your child’s pediatrician. These can be difficult times and having a supportive partner and a positive parenting village can be so important to a successful sleep routine.