If you’re reading this, dear mama, I know where you’re at. As a mum to a 3.5 year-old who only decided six months ago that sleep is, in fact, a good thing, I feel your desperation, and the weight of your undereye bags; the memory is not yet distant for me.
But full disclosure, here: there is no quick fix to get your precious child to sleep through the night – or even sleep for longer periods of merciful respite. Babies are biologically wired to wake up (frequently), as part of an important survival function, and it’s best you deal with that truth now before driving yourself to the brink trying to figure out what’s wrong with your little one. Or you. (Because there’s nothing wrong.)
However, there are ways to help your bubs sleep better, and drift off easier; which means you can be sure that when they do wake – whether for the first or thirty-first time – you’ve covered all your bases and simply need to work through the 4 golden points: feed, change, cuddle, check for signs of bodily discomfort.
How to help your baby sleep
Newborns are sensitive to stimuli as they adjust to life in the outside world, and the associated stress will make nodding off near-impossible for them. Try out these easy tips to get baby relaxed and ready for lights out, and remember: you’re doing great, Mummy.
It’s not especially spacious inside the womb, and newborns are used to feeling snug. Help replicate this comforting familiarity by swaddling. Sleep nests. are also a safe way to up the cosy factor.
2. Night Light
Nobody wants to feel their way around a poopy nappy at 2am, so it goes without saying that at least some level of visibility is a necessity. Don’t use harsh overhead lighting for pm feeds or bum changes; this will only signal bambino party time. Instead, stick to soft-glow, small night lights – preferably with an orange tone which doesn’t disturb sleep.
3. White Noise
Total silence can be alarming for brand new babies – after all, they’ve spent nine long months being lulled by the beat of their mother’s heart (even her digestive acoustics have soothed them into slumber!). A white noise machine or app is a brilliant way to block out household noise whilst emitting calming sounds to mimic what newborns are used to. Just remember to switch your phone to flight mode if using an app to avoid exposing your baby to unnecessary radio waves.
A gentle massage is perfect for winding your bundle down before bedtime. A loving touch is proven to release feel-good hormones and stimulate growth, as well as help baby feel loved and connected to mum (or dad!).
It’s never too early to start reading to your child, and even though the narrative will mean little to them for the first few months, the familiar sound and cadence of their parents’ voices will have an incredibly relaxing effect. Plus, your babs will eventually come to associate storytime with bedtime; a cue that will let them know sleep is to follow.