Every new parent asks themselves, “How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?” While there aren’t any solutions that work every time for every situation, there are some things that parents can try to make this possible.
For many parents, one of the biggest challenges of life with their baby is the sudden reality of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately for many, it is often the case that children will continue to wake once… twice… even three or more times during the night to feed – and this habit can continue for months or even years!
If this sounds familiar, the good news is that your child is almost certainly NOT waking up because of hunger. The fact that your child insists on nursing, bottle feeding, or rocking before they go back to sleep actually has to do with their “sleep associations.”
I work with parents every day who have been living with this very notion. I cannot tell you how fabulous it is to see parents and children transform, in just a few days. Giving your child the skills he or she needs to sleep well is a wonderful gift that just keeps on giving even as your child grows older.
So what can you do right now to start down the road to creating great sleep habits for your child?
Here are my eight most important sleep tips.
- Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own, WITHOUT any external sleep “PROPS”.
These include: breastfeeding, bottle feeding, rocking, patting, pacing, co-sleeping and even driving around in the car… yes, it’s true!!
- Be consistent.
Whatever is happening at one sleep situation needs to be happening at all sleep situations to send a clear message about what is expected.
- Early Bedtime.
An early bedtime is wonderful for everyone in the family. The child goes to bed before becoming overtired and miserable. When a child is overtired, it becomes more difficult to settle down and fall asleep. When sleep does come, it is a lot more restless with more tossing and turning and more nighttime waking. Parents get to enjoy an evening to themselves, offering a much-needed chance to reconnect with one another.
- A bedtime routine is something you can start at a very early age.
It’s a good habit to get into and it is an excellent cue to the body and the mind that it is time to settle down and get ready for sleep.
- Naptime routines.
A short nap routine can help cue your baby’s body and brain that it’s time for nap. For example, change babies nappy, read a short story and place into the cot AWAKE, making sure the room is dark!
- Skipping naps and late bedtime will affect the next 24-hour cycle. Don’t let anyone tell you that naps are not important, or that skipping naps will help your baby sleep longer at night.
- If you are feeding your infant in the night, try not to let him/her fall asleep on the breast or bottle. Keep feedings low-key and quiet.
- In Singapore, it’s also important to make sure your baby is not overheating… at any time of the day, especially at sleep time. 25-26 degrees Celsius is recommended for the nursery. Be sure the vent isn’t facing directly on the baby and that your little well is wearing a short-sleeved onsie as well as a long sleeve cotton body suit when using air-conditioning.
Sound good? Looking for some help to get your little one sleeping through the night? Check out Calmer Kids. It’s the same method that’s been used by 32,000 parents over the past 10 years to solve the most common child sleep issues!
About the Writer:
Nicole Booth is a sleep consultant at Calmer Kids based in Singapore.