Help your baby sleep through the night
A hot topic for all new parents! The million-dollar question for most new parents is “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Being a new parent is an exciting but exhausting journey and most new parents are desperate to know what is normal for a baby in terms of sleep and how can you help them to sleep better? Just remember that sleep is a developmental process and sleep needs change at different stages of development so even if you are feeling exhausted this stage will change and things will move on. Progressive lengthening of sleep periods and their shifts to night-time sleeping begins in the first 6 months of your baby’s life.
Try to get your baby used to the rhythms of day and night-time. Even from day one try to make a distinguished difference by making sure the lights are on or curtains open during the day time with lots of background noise and action. During the night-time keep noise and lights to a minimum, don’t talk to your baby when feeding or changing them during night-time waking’s either.
Again, try to establish some kind of routine as early as possible. I don’t mean strict timetables; I always fed my baby when they were hungry although if that suits you go for it. I think with a newborn baby having a pattern of events is really helpful in them knowing what happens next. For example, I would always try to follow a feed, change nappy and play pattern adding in a bath time, massage and story before the bedtime change and feed. Hopefully your baby will learn that this means a longer sleep is in order. When they woke through the night, I always fed mine.
Manipulate sleep patterns
The goal that we are working towards here is longer stretches of sleep happening at night. Lengthen the last waking before bedtime and watch out for long afternoon naps. It always feels so good at the time, but you will pay for it!
Approach ‘Night waking’s’ with caution
Sometimes when babies ‘wake up’ at night we just need to learn to leave them for longer so that they can self sooth and drop back off to sleep. Now I was always guilty of jumping in too soon because as a new mum with a new baby I was on high alert. Any whimpering of your new baby sounds like a foghorn at 4 in the morning and I always worried that the neighbours would be woken so I jumped to attention and fed my baby but actually allowing them a few minutes to see if they are really awake gives them the chance to settle themselves and transition into the next stage of sleep.
Don’t put yourself under too much pressure. Your baby will sleep through the night one day. A tired anxious mum isn’t going to give off relaxing and sleep-inducing vibes so if you aren’t getting enough sleep try to look for creative ways to give yourself a break using the resources you have. Accept help from partners, family and friends. Can your partner temporarily change their hours so that they can take over in the morning for a couple of hours and start work a little later?
So, it sounds so easy! To enjoy restful restorative night’s sleep, you will need a bit of observation, a bit of trial and error, a lot of flexibility and some luck. I would really recommend tuning out the unhelpful comparisons too and remember that with a baby things change pretty quickly so if you feel that your baby isn’t a brilliant sleeper it doesn’t mean that you are fated this forever! Join an Adventure Babies class and meet other mums with similar aged babies who will be going through the same things as you.