Those first few months and even years with a new baby can be tough exhausting. Especially with the lack of sleep, that comes as part of motherhood. This in particular is where baby’s sleep routine can help. When my son came along I chose to breastfeed and was luck enough to continue past his first birthday. I kept him in our room with us. However attempted to keep him out of our bed. It was my feeble attempt at trying and help form a sleep routine.
It was not always that easy. There have been many a night and even a week where he has ended up in bed with me. Either because he needed comfort or because I needed sleep, however this can very quickly lead to a habit that can prove difficult to break. So one of the key pieces of advice I can give you if you want your bed all to yourself at some point in your future; ideally by the time they start kicking and “travelling” all over! Is to establish a full sleep routine.
Mum’s Know Best
It’s a topic many mum’s have discussed over the years and will continue to discuss for many more to come. There are a wealth of posts of the best methods to use. Each mother prides themselves on the success they have had with their “own” methods. So having tried many things, I hope that I am able to give you some tried and tested sleeping tips to help and have compiled some ideas for you.
The old saying goes, “sleep when the baby sleeps” and whilst this is obviously good for both mum and baby by helping us keep our energy up to give our all for baby. It becomes harder nowadays with many of us being busy with life in general or as entrepreneurs. We value that nap time and the extra 2 hours we get to focus completing things on our to do lists, uninterrupted.
Don’t forget that during their time in your womb, baby has slept through a variety of environments. They are already use to hearing the sound of your heartbeat. The noises whilst your out and about every day are also heard. So to believe baby has to have a soothing, calm and quiet environment in which to sleep is not necessarily true. What is important is to develop a sleep routine from a very earlier age, even when your baby is newborn and probably sleeping a lot!
It can be tempting to allow them to dictate their own sleeping habits, whether it’s because they don’t seem to need your assistance or just so they sleep. However most mum’s who have been through the first stages of a baby’s life will agree, having a plan and sticking to it is guaranteed to give you both a happy future.
So What Should You Do?
Focus on putting your baby to sleep every night in the same fashion. Whether it is a feed, a change of nappy, playtime and a song then a story. Try to stick to the same order every night. The aim is that when you put them down in their crib that they will still be somewhat awake so that they begin to learn and understand what it is to fall asleep on their own. This will also help with mid night awakenings, where they are alert and you’re nowhere to be seen. If they begin to learn to fall asleep on their own, they will come to learn to fall back to sleep alone as well. Of course if you are still doing nighttime feeds, these should continue until baby is old enough to drop them.
With this part of your routine firmly in place. Then aim to start molding your baby’s sleeping needs to suit you and your family. If you are an early riser, don’t let your baby sleep in late, try gently rousing them at a reasonable time so that they will get into the rhythm of feeling sleepy later in the day when you would feel is the most comfortable time for bed for them and you.
If your baby wakes often at night or seems to have difficulty getting to sleep at bedtime. Pay closer attention to the quantity and quality of his naps during the day. It’s natural to want to avoid waking your baby. Yet there are subtle methods that can be used. If baby is getting too much daytime sleep, it can affect the bedtime routine.
Don’t shy away from letting them sleep in a brightly lit room and don’t minimize noise. Let them sleep in the midst of you going about your normal daytime activities. It will make is a lot easier as they get older, if they can learn to sleep regardless of what is going on around them.
Finally, there are mums who report success with a “transitional object”. Helping baby get use to sleeping without mummy being close. Try either a “blankey” or a stuffed animal. Perhaps sleep with it a night or two yourself beforehand so that your scent is there for baby to smell. But only give them the item when its bedtime. That way they will form a sleep association with it and see it as a queue to go to sleep.
These are my top tips for helping baby sleep. I hope that they can be of some use to you. However I know there are also some more scientific methods; such as Ferber or Fathering down, for anyone who is still struggling. Which I hope to cover in the future so stay tuned!