Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that baby sleep can be a tricky subject. Its one that we all want to talk about - whether or not we get enough of it, whether its at the right time, whether its regular or not… exhausting! At the end of the day, baby will sleep when baby is ready to sleep and there’s not much that we can really do to control that. But never fear, because there are small steps we can take to make the transition from ‘wide awake and ready to play’, to ‘nice and drowsy and ready to sleep’. Read on to find out our top baby sleep tips and let us know if you try any!
Prepare the the sleep space
An organised room makes for a more peaceful sleep, so our first tip is to make sure that wherever your baby is going to sleep, its tidy and calm. Have some boxes on hand to sweep the toys into when it’s nap time, or build ‘tidy-up time’ into your daily routine so that when it comes time to rest, you’re ahead of the game. Your baby needs to feel relaxed and calm to be able to sleep (and let’s face it, you do too) so making sure that their sleeping space is ready is such a great tip.
Other ways to prepare the sleep space:
- Black-out blinds - create a darker atmosphere to help baby fall asleep more quickly.
- White noise - lots of babies find that white noise can really help them to settle down, either from a white noise machine, or from an appliance such as the vacuum cleaner - yes, really!
- Check the room temperature - please see the Lullaby Trust website for information on the correct temperature for baby’s room while they sleep.
Create a good routine
Younger babies don’t always find their sleep routine straight away, but you can help them along the way by establishing a daily routine for them. Stick to the same order of events each day - perhaps a story, a song and then to bed, for example. At night-time, its a good idea to incorporate a bath into your routine too, the warm water and relaxing atmosphere is amazing for helping babies settle to sleep; baby massage can also be a great addition to your sleepy routine.
Having a routine helps babies to recognise when it is time to relax, and sleep cues such as a story or a lullaby can have an amazing affect on sleepiness. Trust us, at first your routine might be a little all over the place, but once it’s established its going to work for you.
Tips for unsettled sleepers
All of the above is very well and good, but what if your baby just won’t settle, no matter how today your nursery is or how well establish your routine may be? Sometimes we need to delve a little deeper into our bag of tricks! Here are our favourite tried and tested sleep hacks for those times when you really need them:
- Go for a pram walk. The motion helps to relax your baby, and you can take a little time out too, the fresh air will do you both wonders.
- Use a dummy. Lots of babies have a strong sucking reflex, so having a dummy can help to relax them ready for sleep.
- Wear them in a sling. Like the pram walk, the movement as you go about your day will help baby to settle, but more than that being close is proven to help them to relax too. Studies have found that being held in a sling helps to regulate baby’s heart rate and temperature and its amazing for bonding too.