Since landing on Planet Parenthood I’ve become more familiar with my bedside clock than I ever thought possible. Waking up bleary eyed to the LED display taunting me with nasty times like 3.58am and 5.02am has become a nightly occurrence and it is almost always accompanied the by the shrill sound of my baby daughter’s howl. While I love my little one very much, I must confess, I don’t want to see her every hour on the hour for an entire night, so with this in mind I decided to pick the brains of childcare expert and author Rachel Waddilove on how to help baby sleep through the night. Read on for her top 10 tips…
Help baby sleep through the night tip #1
While snuggling with baby in bed is very comforting, it’s unlikely she will sleep through the night this way, as there is too much disturbance and distraction. Instead, keep her in her Moses basket or cot so you don’t disturb each other.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #2
It is easier to sleep train your little one if they are sleeping in another room, so when you feel ready for her to move into the nursery, don’t hesitate.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #3
Swaddling your baby will enable her to sleep for longer periods. The reason for this is that swaddling makes baby feel secure and comfortable. I always sleep my babies on their sides, with a rolled up muslin or small towel at their back, then tuck them in so they feel comfortable. It is important if you are using this method to make sure the room temperature is not too high as little ones can overheat easily.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #4
If your baby is resisting sleep at night, swaddle her with both her arms down. Alternatively, if your baby drops off easily, you can swaddle her with one arm down and the other up with her hand near her mouth. This way she can suck her fingers if she wants to.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #5
Make sure baby is full at every feed time during the day. A baby with a half empty tummy will not settle and sleep for long periods of time. This is probably the most important thing to remember when trying to train your little one to sleep through the night.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #6
It is much easier to teach a baby to sleep well at night if they are breastfed regularly throughout the day rather than snack feeds. Therefore I recommend feeding every three hours and then pushing it to every four hours when baby is a bit bigger and able to go longer. If baby is sleeping and it exceeds the three hours, don’t panic. Instead, let her wake up properly on her own. This way she will then learn to wait, which will be helpful when you want to start pushing her to go longer between feeds.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #7
A young baby should be having three naps a day – one in the morning, one over lunchtime and the third during the afternoon. Good daytime naps encourage good nighttime sleeping.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #8
If your baby wakes in the middle of the night for a feed, try anticipating it by offering her a dream feed (this is where your baby is fast asleep but will take the breast while slumbering) at around 11pm. By the time baby is two or three months old she may well have dropped her night feed if she is having a dream feed at 11pm.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #9
A sure sign that baby is ready to drop her night feed is if she wakes up but only nurses for a few minutes before losing interest. In this case, leave her to cry a little before offering her the breast. Making her wait a little longer will encourage her to gradually drop off and after a few nights she probably won’t wake up at all.
Help baby sleep through the night tip #10
If baby is not sleeping well and is feeding on and off all night then you need to start some sort or sleep training. For advice on this visit www.rachelsbabies.com.
As a mother and grandmother with over forty years experience as a maternity nurse, child-care expert, parental adviser and author, Rachel is one of the UK’s most sought after ‘gurus’ in the care and well-being of babies and young children. If you need advice on how to help your little one sleep better, visit www.rachelsbabies.com to arrange a Skype consultation.