At an uncomfortable 35+3 weeks pregnant I’m looking forward to future nights ahead where I can get a decent night’s sleep – on my front, on my back, or in any position besides my left or right! With a newborn, I’m wondering when those nights will be possible, they certainly seem a long way off! I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get prepared and in-the-know ahead of my baby’s arrival, and how best to get my little lady into a decent routine as quickly as possible, so I can get some comfy kip! Here are 6 top tips for sleeping by our resident expert, The Magic Sleep Fairy, Alison Scott Wright, and some info on her summer roadshow on sleep. I’m off to buy my tickets!
Contrary to popular belief, babies are designed to sleep and most are capable of naturally sleeping 12 hours through the night by 8 to 12 weeks old. Sleep deprivation is detrimental to our health and is an internationally recognised form of torture and one which you and your baby need not endure.
- Think of each 24-hour period as 12 hours of night and 12 hours of day with ‘sleeping through’ meaning the full 12 hours. Differentiate between day and night right from the start. Babies learn by association and by implementing a simple bath and bedtime routine at the end of each day they quickly learn that nighttime is approaching.
- Persevere in those early weeks to settle your baby to bed, where possible in a calm and peaceful environment. Try to gently encourage your baby to self soothe and put him into his bed when he is awake or drowsy but not fully asleep. If you rock him to sleep and then put him in bed when baby stirs throughout his natural sleep cycles he is more likely to wake & cry, craving the same environment and sensation that he had when he went to sleep as opposed to calmly settling himself back to sleep.
- Ensure the baby’s nighttime room is reasonably dark. You don’t necessarily need full blackout blinds, but they can be very helpful in keeping the room dark, especially during the summer months.
- Promoting the art of independent sleep in your baby is absolutely key to establishing positive sleep habits. Mobiles, music, light shows and feeding, rocking or shush-patting baby to sleep can actually be a hinderance to sleep in the long term. White noise can be effective especially to help cover excess outside noise, but only if left on all through the night.
- Ensure your baby gets enough sleep during the day and try to establish a good daytime nap pattern. Put baby back to his nighttime bed at least once a day for a long nap in a quiet dark room. An overtired baby will be more difficult to settle at night, remember Sleep Breeds Sleep!
- Only feed your baby at night when he wakes and really needs to be fed. Many people opt to give baby a ‘dream-feed’ before they go to bed in the late evening but this will ultimately cause longer term sleep-issues. Remember – Never wake a sleeping baby at night unless there is a medical reason to do so!
By following these basic rules, you will allow your baby’s natural sleep rhythms to develop and he will be a content and well rested little chap for years to come.
We are excited to announce that in June 2017 our resident sleep expert Alison Scott-Wright, author of the Sensational Baby Sleep Plan and UK leading expert in infant reflux and sleep issues, will be touring the UK in the FIRST EVER Magic Sleep Fairy Roadshow. The Roadshow will address newborn sleep, sleep for babies 4 months plus and toddler sleep problems along with advising on reflux, colic and dietary related intolerances/allergies, providing effective solutions to all issues. Each session will provide a detailed presentation, a Q&A and an opportunity to network with other parents. You can get your tickets via Eventbrite, they’re on sale now for £30. If you’d like more information on the roadshow, check out Alison’s website.