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5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR BABY'S SLEEP!

Setting up healthy sleep habits and hygiene can start from birth! I often find that if my clients have been able to lay these healthy foundations within the first 4 - 5 months that they experience are far smoother and consistent sleep journey! Now in saying this, there are A LOT of babes who struggle with reflux and colic (and so much more!), we need to remember that these babies don't get the best chance at learning healthy sleep habits because they are in pain - in these kinds of circumstances, we really are just doing whatever we can to get our little babe the best sleep possible! Don't fret if this is you, I am here to support you in this so get in touch!

So here's our top 5 ways to give your little one a better chance at sleep!

1. WIND DOWN RITUALS!

Creating consistent routines and rituals for your little ones wind-down is key in achieving successful sleep. These act as sleep cues that baby will tune into, relax and get ready to sleep, both for naps and bedtime.

BEAR IN MIND THAT SOME KIDDOS GET FOMO AND WILL RESIST THESE ROUTINES ... but we do them anyway 😉

Babies and children of all age thrive on consistency and predictability. Wind-down rituals can include things like reading a book, singing a rhyme or song, a bath, cuddles in the rocking chair or playing some calming music (music is suitable for a wind-down but not conducive to sleep - use white noise for sleep instead).

If we are talking toddlers, make sure you routines are fairly consistent each night .. keep the whole "give an inch, they'll take a mile" saying in the back of your mind!

Take baby away from external stimulation to a nice quiet calm space or dim the lights and turn off the TV. Do this around 20 minutes before a nap and 2 hours before bedtime if you can!

2. DROWSY BUT AWAKE

You’ve probably heard this said before but starting this skill early helps baby learn that their sleep space is safe, they can settle themselves to sleep and begins a really lovely foundation for independent sleep as baby grows. So get baby nice and drowsy, nearly asleep but not quite, then place them down super slowly into the bassinet or cot (feet first, to prevent the startle reflex in babies under 6-months- old). You can try some hands-on settling like shush-pat for your newbie or use voice and proximity and intermittent touch for your older bub!

3. AVOID THAT OVERTIRED (and under-tired) TRAIN!

For the first 5 months or so following awake times and tired signs is a great way to ensure your baby is more likely to achieve restorative sleep day and night! From 5 months I generally always recommend a lovely predictable day routine - this does wonders in supporting overnight sleep and helps to set the body clock meaning your baby is far more likely to fall asleep easier. PLUS you can plan life a lot more easily! Woo! You can grab a copy of our FREE SLEEP & FEED ROUTINES GUIDE!

4. USE THOSE BIOLOGICAL NAP WINDOWS

If you haven't heard of these, this is GOLD! As baby’s brain matures, the patterns and rhythms of sleep change and mature too.Biological nap windows are the times during the day/night when the brain sends signals to help us feel sleepy. Implementing predictable routines based around these biological nap windows means your baby is likely to be easier to settle to sleep and stay asleep. The nap windows are approximately 9am - 10am and 12pm - 2pm and 6pm - 7pm. Ensuring baby rests at the most restorative times of the day on a balanced routine means your baby will achieve more quality and settled sleep throughout the night. Winner winner!

5. WHITE NOISE, DARKNESS, TEMPERATURE!

White noise helps to create healthy sleep habits, helping to replace the rocking, holding and feeding to sleep associations which may not be working so well anymore. White noise dulls external noise in the environment, meaning baby is less likely to wake when moving between sleep cycles. White noise is recommended for the first year, for all sleep, however, can be used beyond this age range. To ensure it is used safely and effectively keep it to 65dB when baby is calm and sleeping. You can download a free dB reader app. To get an accurate reading make sure you put your phone in the cot where baby sleeps and place the white noise across the room (never in the cot). You can then increase/decrease the volume to find that sweet spot of 65dB. Use good quality speakers - phones/small devices/tinny speakers will actually interfere with sleep. You can turn it down overnight as the home is usually quieter so it isn't necessary to have it as loud.

It is important to create a consistent and dark sleeping space to ensure restorative sleep day and night. Darkness helps to create melatonin - the sleepy hormone. Working with these natural systems will ensure sleep is more easily achieved. Be mindful of any LED light coming from monitors and sunlight through blinds/curtains. A great idea is to install block out blinds or pin up a dark sheet over the windows.

Temperature plays a significant role in whether your baby will settle to sleep and stay asleep. Aim to keep the room at around 18 - 22 degrees where possible. We definitely don't recommend the use of hot water bottles or electric blankets or heaters as these can pose a serious risk to your baby’s safety. We recommend ensuring your baby is layered appropriately in natural fabrics. Sleeping bags need to suit the season, there are TOG-rated guidelines available when purchasing these products. You can see how warm your baby is by touching the back of the neck, if this is warm then you’ve nailed it! Bear in mind that baby’s lowest body temperature will be around 3am in the morning. If you notice waking’s recurring at this time, it could be linked to a temperature drop!

Woo! Don't know about you but that all seems like pretty straight-forward easy to implement tips and tricks for improving your babies sleep!

Got a cat-napper? Bedtimes a mission? Frequent overnight wakings? Ready for change?

Get in touch parents! Better sleep can be yours!

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