If you took a peek at a new parent’s search engine history, you’d probably find lots of questions about how to get a baby to sleep. While sleepless nights are an expected part of parenthood, it doesn’t mean they’re not incredibly difficult. Sleep deprivation is tough. For your baby. For you. For your relationship. For everyone!
While frequent night wakings can be developmentally normal depending on your little one’s age, the good news is that there are things you can do to help your baby get on board the sleep train. You just need to know where to start!
That’s why we spoke with Roxy O’Brien, one of the UK’s leading Sleep Consultants to provide you with her top 5 tips for getting your precious bub to sleep. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Make your baby’s sleep environment their happy place
Have you ever struggled to fall asleep in a hotel room or somewhere far from home? Environment matters - especially when it comes to little ones learning to fall asleep somewhere other than their mama’s tummy.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your baby’s sleep environment has positive associations. Instead of just using the room for bedtime, make sure you use the space for playing and interacting during the day. This helps your baby associate the area with joy and warmth instead of darkness and isolation.
If you’re moving your baby into their own room for the first time, remember that it’s completely normal to experience some challenges. Your baby wants to feel safe, secure and connected to you, so it’s important to do things that help them feel comforted while they make the transition.
It can be helpful to put their bed sheet in your own bed for a couple of nights before placing it in their cot. This helps them feel that you’re nearby and smells like you and your partner. It’s also helpful to ensure the room's temperature is just right instead of being too hot or too cold. Just like adults, babies wake up when they feel uncomfortable.
2. Make your bedtime routine special and settling
Having a consistent bedtime routine can work wonders for your little one’s sleep. By sticking to the same routine every night, your baby can start mentally preparing for bedtime well before they’re placed in their cot.
Since babies thrive off of undivided attention, carve out at least 30 minutes before bedtime for things like taking a bath, reading a book and having cuddles. Having a regular bath before they go to sleep helps increase tiredness and results in them falling asleep faster. This is a great way to help your little one relax and unwind before hitting the hay.
3. Choose the right sleepwear
Sleepwear isn’t only for looking adorable. Choosing the right sleepsuit can heavily impact how your baby sleeps.
Your baby’s temperature naturally drops throughout the night and is at its lowest between 3 and 6 AM. To prevent frequent wake-ups, it’s essential to keep your baby’s temperature as consistent as possible.
This means choosing a baby onesie that’s made up of thermoregulating qualities such as bamboo. Choosing a bamboo sleepsuit such as this zipper onesie from Zipster is great for keeping your little one warm, comfortable and cosy throughout the night. This means fewer wake-ups for baby and more zzz’s for you!
4. Have realistic expectations
Only a few months ago you were laying in bed admiring your bump dreaming about what sort of parent you were going to be. You pictured sunny pushchair walks, a happy cooing baby, cups of tea on the sofa while you cosy up for a feed but today you aren't that parent. Today is hard. Today you are tired. Today all you can think of is how many naps you might be able to squeeze into your day just to get you through. There's no sunshine and smiles today, today you need a dark room and sleep. Oh wonderful, beautiful, restoring SLEEP!
Making sure that your expectations are realistic is so important to help your mental well-being during those early months. It’s also important to discuss expectations with your partner and loved ones to ensure you get the support you need and deserve. If your baby struggles to sleep through the night, don’t expect a miracle to happen in a single evening. These things take time. So take a deep breath and remember that your little one will get there with time.
5. Every baby is different - know that you’re not alone
There could be countless reasons why your baby sleeps the way they do. This is why it’s so important to take a holistic approach to sleep instead of focusing on just one factor.
Don’t beat yourself up and remember that you’re not alone. Whether you’re just starting to research ways to help your little one sleep or are desperate for some professional advice, sleep consultants like Roxy are instrumental in helping families achieve restful sleep. For further information about Roxy’s services, visit her website and book a free consultation.
Give yourself some grace
Mama, take a deep breath. Helping your baby fall and stay asleep is hard work - we know how difficult it is and want you to remember that you’re doing a great job. We hope these tips and tricks from Roxy help your little one catch some much-needed zzz's. And if all else fails, give Roxy a call today for further help.