Here’s a list of simple baby sleep tips, easy things you can do to help your baby to sleep.
Baby sleep tips
Baby needs it.
You need it.
Neither of you is getting enough.
What do you do?
Turn to an expert who says follow me and all will be well. Hmm.
Having religiously followed one sleep “guru” … to disastrous effect … the biggest baby sleep tip I can share is no single approach to sleep works for all babies. Or all mums!
But I do think there are some practical tips that help most babies sleep.
And you can follow these regardless of whether you’re co-sleeping or letting them cry it out … or frantically switching between the two … yep, I’ve been there … in complete desperation 😉
If you’re struggling horribly to get your baby to sleep I do hope these help …. and if you’ve got great tips of your own for getting babies to sleep do share them at the bottom of this post …
1. Get Some Fresh Air … Morning AND Afternoon
This one is just so major!
However much of a mess you feel … and look 😉 … get some fresh air early.
And try and get another 20 to 30 minutes outside between 2p and 4pm.
You’ll feel better for even a short walk AND it will really, really help baby’s body clock … natural light actually triggers hormone patterns which are essential for rest and sleep.
2. Try to Tackle Colic and Reflux …
Some “helpful” experts claim babies on their sleep routine don’t get colic and reflux … hmmm! My experience was that you’ve not a chance of getting baby to sleep if they’re in horrid pain.
- Wind baby lots during day to prevent colic at night
- Don’t feed right before sleep
- Remember to wind baby until they burp after night feeds
- Try an upright baby carrier for sleep during the day
- Raise head end of a cot or crib slightly.
3. Keep Baby Entertained
Babies develop in great leaps and bounds … without fun playtime to stimulate them mentally and physically, they get grumpy and won’t nap or sleep well …
- Keep introducing new baby toys
- At 3 months many babies crave company – get out & let them make friends
- Provide lots of opportunities for physical activity
- Bouncers are fab for pre-walkers to burn off energy
- Once tottering take push along to park in morning to help tire them out
4. Routines Help But No One Size Fits All
We sooo tried to follow a routine recommended by one sleep “expert”.
It was a total disaster!!
Once I threw the blinking book out and let my baby take the lead we fell into a completely different routine that worked brilliantly for us … if you are going to follow a routine, this is the best advice I can share …
- Try to get up same time every day … however tired you are, it will help
- Some babies love classic 2 hours lunch time nap … others hate them
- Babies who wake at 7 & nap at 9 seem to do well with a long lunch time nap
- Babies who aren’t sleepy til mid-morning do better with 45 mins at 10 & 2
- Some babies switch happily to long lunch time nap at 12 months
- If older baby / toddler struggling to fall asleep at night … get them up early and exhaust them in the morning so they nap early and then keep trimming their lunchtime / afternoon nap back
5. A Wind Down Routine that Helps You BOTH Relax
A calming bed time routine that slowly reduces stimulus and triggers baby to expect sleep is obviously a good thing … but it has to relax both of you …
- Have a fun bath time early so baby not overstimulated just before bed
- Gentle music may help … tinny “lullabies” can drive you insane!
- Rhythm & rhyme calms even very small babies – read bedtime rhymes
- Some babies love massage … but if you’re just not the type … and a bit rubbish at it like me 😉 … neither of you will find it relaxing …
- Some babies do better in the complete dark … in which case black outlining on your curtain or black-out blinds helps
- BUT others do better with a night light … we have this totally fantastic adaptor from Gro which turns an ordinary light into a night light as well.
6. Some Babies Like Swaddling … Others Don’t
People get all evangelical about swaddling … claiming it’s a cure all or completely terrible. The truth is some babies love it and some babies hate it.
A friend’s baby needed the security of the swaddle to sleep, my daughter just wriggled free when I tried. So the only thing you can do is try it out and see.
If you don’t swaddle try sleeping bags as they stop babies from waking cold.
7. Some Babies Need Noise to Sleep … Others Don’t
White noise is another thing “experts” are passionate about. Harvey Karp … of Happiest Baby fame … recommends it at all nap times as it mimics the noise babies hear in the womb.
There’s obviously no harm trying Dr Karp’s advice but it isn’t a miracle cure for everyone. You can buy white noise apps of all sorts but making your own might be the best bet.
8. Sleep Goes Out the Window at Regular Intervals
As soon as you get a tiny bit smug about baby’s sleep, it goes out the window as they hit some development stage or another you’re unprepared for 🙁
I reckon the only way to solve the sleep “problem” is to tackle the cause …
- As babies start moving they wake themselves up getting arms & legs stuck in crib rails … sleeping bags and crib bumpers can help a lot with this
- Growth spurts dramatically increase demand for milk … if breastfeeding, pump a little after every feed to stay ahead of the curve
- At 5 months babies may wake lots hungry – can be a sign ready for solids
- Babies suffer teething pain way before teeth come
- Late crawlers and walkers need extra physical stimulation to wear them out
9. You Have to Learn When Your Baby is Tired
When baby is getting tired you need to get them to sleep before they’re exhausted. Many tired babies will:
- Give a wide eyed stare
- Tug their ears
- Rub their eyes
- Lose coordination
- Grumble & grouch
BUT each baby has their own signs you just have to learn from experience!
10. Get Sleep When You Can … an Evening Nap Rocks!
We’ve all thinks it’s natural to go to sleep late in the evening and wake up around 7. But this sleep pattern is only a few hundred years old.
It was quite common in times gone by to nap early evening for an hour or so and then get 4 or 5 hours solid sleep later in the night.
And an evening nap rocks … I promise you … if your baby goes to sleep well in the evening but stays awake in the early hours after a late feed.
I really hope these tips help you and your baby … they really are from the heart and I do wish I’d had them when I was a sleep-bereft mum.
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