Ah sleep, it used to seem completely normal to laze around in bed until 10 am after 12 hours of uninterrupted kip on a weekend, huh? But as a new mum, just four hours of straight sleep can make you feel like you have been to a spa for the week…
By their very nature, babies are not always super keen on sleeping through the night (or sometimes at all, it may seem!), but there are a few things that you can try to make the whole sleep situation slightly less stressful for all involved.
Here are five things you can do that may just help…
Get some fresh air!
It may sound like a nugget of knowledge from Grandma, but it’s pretty much universally acknowledged that getting some fresh air with baby during the daytime can help promote natural sleep at night.
Luckily for you, this will fit in nicely with your back-to-fitness routine, and it will do you good too. So grab that buggy and aim to get out every day for an hour’s walk, even if it’s just a gentle stroll at first (with a coffee stop!).
Begin a gentle bedtime routine
When your baby has got past the feeding-all-night stage (after all, they have just come out of a very cozy place with food on tap!), consider implementing a very gentle and peaceful before-bed sleep routine.
Maybe try a relaxing bath before getting baby ready for bed, giving them a feed and then retiring upstairs for a gentle bedtime. Babies find it hard to discern day from night at the start, so make the room darker and quieter, so they can begin to understand that night time is for sleeping.
Read up on developmental stages
Luckily for us, parenting websites and apps such as The Wonder Weeks are great at showing you where baby is up to developmentally, as different stages can affect sleep.
Babies go through sleep regressions and developmental “leaps”, which can all have a huge impact on the amount of time they sleep, feed and cry.
It’s great to be informed, so dip in, have a read and you may just begin to understand baby’s ever-changing sleep routine and begin to predict the slightly rockier parts.
Try putting baby down sleepy, rather than asleep
The theory behind this one is that babies will eventually learn to gently self-soothe if they are put into their Moses baskets or cot drowsy and sleepy, rather than fast asleep.
It’s absolutely worth a try, but remember to persevere a little at first, as babies are used to lots of cuddles and constant contact with mummy and it may take a bit of time for them to adjust.
Lastly, try not to worry – babies all do their own thing at various stages, so don’t compare yourself to other mums and try to stay positive. Many babies don’t sleep through the night for a very long time and will wake up for feeds and cuddles quite frequently at first. The first year can be hard, but focus on the precious bits and make sure dad steps in where possible to share the wake-ups, and give you a nice lie in. And a cup of tea in bed!
What is your top tip for helping baby sleep? Let us know…