Beverley Ryde-Weller from Star Sleepers is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and gives us tips on how you can tackle a baby that won’t sleep or that fights sleep till the bitter end!
As a Baby Sleep Consultant , I am constantly asked why their baby won’t sleep: what is the secret to getting your baby to sleep through the night? The reality is that there is not one secret, or one way, to get your baby to sleep through the night and every child is different.
Teaching your baby healthy sleep habits is the best foundation for getting your little one to sleep well. These 7 simple sleep tips will help you set the foundation for healthy sleep habits and a good night’s rest!
1) Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own without any external props. Props come in many different forms from rocking, feeding, dummies, music or cuddles from Mum and Dad. If your little one has come to rely on something external to fall asleep, he/she will struggle to go back to sleep each time they stir in the night (which we all do 4 or 5 times a night!)
2) Early Bedtime. The best time to put your baby or toddler to bed is sometime between 6 and 8 o’clock in the evening. This ensures that your child will be able to get a solid 11-13 hours of sleep during the night. (And yes… that is how much sleep children should be getting every night up until the age of about 10.)
Overtiredness is the arch enemy of sleep! Keep an eye on the clock plus your little ones sleep cues and aim to get them down to sleep before they catch that dreaded second wind! This is great for the whole family as it also means that you get some much needed ‘you time’ in the evening!
3) Be consistent. Consistency and predictability are really important to babies and toddlers. When they know what to expect at bedtime, it makes it much easier for them to make the transition from waking to sleeping.
4) Establish a clear bedtime routine for your little one. This is vitally important as it is a cue to the body and mind that we are preparing to sleep. The ideal bedtime routine should last around 30 minutes and should take place in your child’s room.
5) Similarly, a short nap time routine will help cue your baby’s body and brain that it is time for a nap. Try to establish a short 5 minute routine which could include a nappy change, special nap time outfit, story or song.
6) Try to honour your little one’s day time sleep. Contrary to popular belief an exhausted child who has been on the go all day will not consequently sleep better at night time. Try to let your little one have as many naps as possible in their cot at home at around the same time every day.
7) If your child still requires a night time feed, try not to let him/her fall asleep at the breast or bottle. Keep night time feeds in your little one’s room and keep feedings low key and quiet.
Teaching your child great sleep skills isn’t a one-night operation. It takes some time, a lot of repetition, and plenty of discipline and diligence on the part of the parents. However, for those of you who are desperate for just a little bit of relief, these tips should help you and your little one get a few more hours of shut-eye, starting tonight.
You can work on the rest of it once you’ve had a little rest.
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