Getting your baby or toddler into a sleep routine is no mean feat, but while little ones certainly have us jumping through hoops, sometimes parents can actually contribute to the problems. Make sure you’ve got the right approach at bedtime and avoid these 8 common sleep mistakes that new parents make.
Common sleep mistakes #1: Expecting too much, too soon
You probably have an annoying friend, family member or colleague who likes to ram it down your throat that her little cherub slept through the night at six-weeks-old. Well, we’re here to tell you that her baby is the exception, rather than the rule. Babies aged 12 weeks and under are not aware of the difference between night and day. Added to this, they’re very often not able to make it through long periods of sleep without nursing, and as a consequence all bets are off when it comes to shut-eye .
Common sleep mistakes #2: Rocking baby to sleep
Rocking your baby is an instinctive motion and it’s fine to do this as a way to calm baby before bedtime. However, if you rock baby to sleep, she might grow to depend on it, which means she will need it every time she wakes in the night. If you notice baby is becoming sleep while you’re rocking her, transfer her to her cot as soon as possible.
Common sleep mistakes #3: Feeding to sleep
As is the case when you rely on motion, nursing your child to sleep can also lead to bad habits. If your baby doesn’t sleep well at night, you may find yourself in a position where you have to nurse her every time she wakes up.
Common sleep mistakes #4: Not sleeping when baby sleeps
A few weeks into new motherhood you’ll probably notice that there are general times of day when your baby is likely to nap for longer periods. It’s really important that you take this opportunity to get some sleep yourself, especially if the nights are putting you to the test. That way when you’re awake every hour on the hour in the night, you’ll be (slightly) more prepared for it.
Common sleep mistakes #5: Don’t skip the bedtime routine
Once you have baby in a routine, try to stick to it as much as possible. A bedtime routine will not only help your tot wind down before being placed in her cot, but it’s also a good time for the two of you to spend some time together. This is particularly important when your little one becomes a toddler and the bedtime wars begin.
Common sleep mistakes #6: Trying too many different sleep strategies
If nighttime is a challenge, it’s tempting to try lots of different sleep methods. While it’s certainly wise to try out different sleep solutions, remember that gentle changes take time. Therefore, always transition gradually and don’t expect quick results.
Common sleep mistakes #7: Distractions at bedtime
Musical mobiles and colourful nightlights may look lovely in the nursery, but they can also be a distraction when your baby is going to sleep. Try to remove anything that may be a distraction as babies sleep far better in a darkened room.
Common sleep mistakes #8: Avoid over stimulating before bedtime
Baby may be utterly enthralled by your iPhone screen and whatever happens to be playing on it but research shows that the light from electronic screens can cue the brain into thinking it’s daytime and make it harder to rest .