Sleep can be an emotional topic for parents with young babies. Everyone has a view and every baby is different. To help you get off to a good start with baby sleeping, specialist sleep experts Millpond Sleep Clinic have helped us put together these top tips:
1. Babies won’t automatically sleep because it’s night time. But you can help to teach them the difference between day and night by taking them outside in the fresh air and light during the day, then making sure their environment is dark in the evening.
2. Help your baby to feel like it’s time for sleep by adopting a winding down bedtime routine every night. Babies may not understand what you’re doing, but gradually a simple routine will encourage them to sleep.
Establish a short, simple bedtime routine:
- Take your baby away from the rest of the family for some quiet time. About an hour before bedtime, give them chance to calm down from all the excitement and adventures of the day.
- Dim the lights in the nursery or baby’s bedroom.
- Encourage your baby to relax with a warm, soothing bath. Don’t indulge in too much playtime and splashing about before bed.
- Once out of the bath, take your little one straight into their darkened nursery and dress them in night clothes.
- Give your baby their last feed before bedtime.
- Place your little one in their cot while they’re still awake.
- Use a favourite phrase such as “Night, night, sleep tight,” to signal that you’re about to leave the room.
3. Try to put your baby down to sleep when they’re still awake. This will help them get used to getting themselves to sleep, so they’re more likely to do it again when they wake during the night.
4. If your baby falls asleep during their last milk feed, rouse them gently before putting them in their cot.
5. Create a place that your baby associates with sleep and make sure they’re not disturbed. Putting baby down for naps and night time sleep in their cot in a cool, darkened room will help them feel secure as they drift off to sleep.
6. Having a daytime routine can help too. Don’t worry, we know not every day can be the same, but having naps at similar times and making sure your baby doesn’t become overtired at night can help them get into a good sleeping pattern.
Always sleep safely. Place your baby on their back when you put them down to sleep. The safest place for baby to sleep for the first six months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. The ideal room temperature for baby sleeping is between 16-20 C. Use a thermometer such as a Tommee Tippee Room and Bath Thermometer or a Groegg to measure the temperature of the rooms where your baby sleeps.
For more guidance on safe sleeping check out these guidelines from The Lullaby Trust