5 Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better At Night
Without doubt, one of the most common questions that new parents have is "How can I help my baby to sleep through the night?"
I had 3 babies thin the space of 3 years, and it's fair to say that I spent my fair share of time researching various tips and tricks to encourage better sleep for my little ones. There were many nights spent without even a wink of sleep, as my toddler struggled with sleep regression whilst my middle child battled through teething pain. But eventually we made some additions to our sleep routine that worked well.
I'm going to share some of our most successful tricks for better sleep with you.
Establish A Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime is truly the key to successful sleep, and will set you in good stead for the years ahead too. We always followed the 4 B's: Bath, Book, Bottle/Breast, Bed.
We found that starting off our bedtime routine at the same time every evening really helped to get our little ones familiar and comfortable with things, as knowing what to expect helps to prompt a baby to follow the pattern laid out for them.
We always began with a calming bath - using lavender scented products which helped to soothe and calm baby. We always made sure to keep the bedtime bath as gentle and serene an experience as possible, keeping play and splash time to a minimum (reserving that for daytime baths instead) as this could stimulate them rather than soothe them. Instead we kept the toys at bay, and sang lullabies during bath time.
Then after drying and dressing for bed, we'd snuggle up for a bedtime story - even very young babies can benefit from a bedtime story, it creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding and the warmth of skin-to-skin contact during this time will help to keep baby calm.
After story time, we would give a night time feed before laying them down and singing a last lullaby.
Create A Calming Environment
The ambience of the bedroom can make all the difference to a successful bedtime. Making sure that the room is kept at a comfortable temperature, ensuring that the lighting during the bedtime routine isn't too bright and preferably keeping the room very dark during sleep time.
It can also help to keep clutter around babies' sleep areas to a minimum.
Utilise White Noise
This was a real game changer for us, and made all the difference to my fussiest son's sleep habits. No matter what we tried with our eldest, he just never seemed to be able to drift off to sleep on his own but once we discovered white noise apps things changed.
White noise helps to distract babies from other noises that might be going in or around the house, by providing one constant soothing sound to drown them out. You can buy white noise devices, use apps or even have a fan running nearby (as long as its not pointed at baby and creating a draft).
Of course any white noise apps or devices should be kept at a low volume so as to avoid damaging babies hearing, you can read more about the pros and cons of white noise here.
Be Ready For Night Time Nappy & Bedding Changes
For some, the most difficult part of sleep with a baby isn't the initial bedtime but rather how to get them back off to sleep after night time wake-ups.
I find that keeping the environment the same - keeping the lights low, keeping the white noise going, and not removing the baby from the nursery environment all helped - but this becomes more difficult when nappy changes are involved, so I would always ensure that I had everything we needed for night time nappy changes right at hand.
I also always used double crib sheets in case we needed to do a night time linen change. I would use one crib sheet, then lay a cot mattress protector over the top of it, and put a second sheet on top - this way I could perform a quick change in the middle of the night by simply removing the top sheet and protector if need be, leaving a fresh sheet underneath. This meant not having to take baby out of the crib, and disturb him.
Swaddle To Sleep
Swaddling always worked very well for us, but even if it's not something that your baby enjoys at first - it's always worth trying again later down the line as they may change their mind. You can also try some different techniques for safe swaddling which your baby may prefer. Generally speaking, infants really enjoy the feeling of being tucked securely up for their nights sleep. Be sure to follow the most up to date safety advice on swaddling.
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