Top 10 Tips for Encouraging Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
by sleep and behaviour consultant,
Night & Day Nanny
Sofie Boddy, founder of the Night and Day Nanny, works closely with previously sleep-deprived families, advising parents on establishing good sleep habits and getting rid of bad ones, as well as addressing behaviour issues, each with successful results.
Sofie has given me the confidence, techniques and understanding to ensure a good sleep routine for my baby
Laura, mum to Joel aged 6 weeks
As a mother Sofie understands that total, all-consuming obsession with sleep that a baby or child can introduce into your family, not just because she’s an accredited sleep trainer, but because she’s experienced it first hand. She explains, “My first son never slept!”
Sofie really does not want other parents to have to go through a the sleep-deprived blur and steep learning curve that she did, so today she’s very generously sharing her top ten sleep tips with us. Remember these are general tips and all babies are different.
TOP 10 BABY SLEEP TIPS
- Always try to put your baby down awake so he will recognise where he is if he wakes up in the middle of the night, and will be used to settling himself off to sleep.
- As your baby gets older (from about six weeks) and is beginning to stretch the time between feeds, ensure that the last feed of the day is a really filling one. Often your baby will be too tired to make the effort to feed properly, but persevere as this will enable you both to sleep for longer.
- Don’t worry if your baby grizzles when you put him down to sleep. Babies often create their own wall of “white sound” in order to cut out other noises that are preventing them from going to sleep. If your baby’s crying increases or continues for more than 5 minutes you should, of course, go to him and establish what is wrong.
- Use a dummy to settle your baby at the beginning of his sleep, whether a nap or an overnight sleep; however, do not let him become dummy-dependent by using it throughout the night – once it has fallen out, leave it. This way, he will not become used to having it returned to him and will learn to sleep without it. (However, if breastfeeding, wait until your baby is one month old to ensure breastfeeding is well-established).
- Take your time – before you rush to respond to your baby’s every noise in the night, pause and think. Listen to her cry – is she grumbling/moaning, or is she really crying? Are there pauses in her crying? If it’s not full on tears, try leaving her for a couple of minutes to see if she settles herself.
- Maximise the differences between daytime naps and overnight sleep (nursery and kitchen, dimmed light and bright daylight, calm one-on-one time and busy family chatter).
- Help your baby to develop his internal body clock (or Circadian cycle) by keeping his feed times and nap times consistent during the day – it will help with his overnight sleep.
- Put in place a regular evening routine so your baby picks up on sleep associations (for example, a bath, a massage, storytime with older siblings, feed and bed). Try to make this a transferable routine, so that it can remain the same when you go on holiday or to granny’s for the night.
- Ensure your baby’s bedroom is a peaceful place, somewhere he can sleep well. Try to keep toys downstairs, have soft lighting and subtle colours. A black-out blind can be particularly useful to keep out early summer sunlight.
- Make sure your baby’s room isn’t too hot (or, less likely, too cold). An ideal temperature is around 18°C.
If you feel that you’ve already tried everything, it may be time to consider enlisting the help of a professional to step in and take the pressure off you.
What to expect from a Sleep Consultant
Depending on the ages of your children, a sleep consultant or night nanny will address a range of issues. She can help parents of newborns baby to establish a routine and healthy sleeping habits and can also support older babies and toddlers who may have difficulties in settling at the start of the evening, and later if they wake during the night.