It’s gotta be the MOST googled question surely, probably done in the middle of the night right?! In fact, I wonder if that’s what you’re doing right now… godspeed! I get it though, been there, done that. We allllllllll desperately want and NEED decent sleep as parents, we know we’re better parents because of it and we know our babes are living their best life when they get it too.
So, what can we do to help our little loves (and ourselves) sleep through the night?
Nail Those Bedtime Routines
Ah, bedtime routines! These wonderful daily rhythms and rituals bring order and predictability to our little ones lives. Establish a bedtime routine that includes a bath, natural breathable sleepwear (get those layers right), calming songs, white noise and gentle massages. By following a fairly consistent sequence each night, your babe will connect these activities with sleep, signalling their tired mind and body that it’s time to enter a peaceful slumber – honestly, these are such easy things to implement, why wouldn’t you!
Create A Calm Sleep Environment
Prepare your baby’s sleep space with sleep in mind. Sometimes we have a little too much on display which can overstimulate our babes when they need to be winding down for sleep. Ensure the sleep space is dark, you shouldn’t be able to read a book in the room. Keep any night lights a warm/red tone and very dull so we don’t interrupt those sleepy hormones. Crank the white noise (safely, of course – at least 2 metres away from babe and no louder than 55-60 dBs). Ensure your baby’s comfort and safety in their cot or bassinet – use a fitted, firm and clean mattress covered with a fitted mattress protector and sheet, no loose items in or near the cot! If your babe is older than 7 months you can leave a hankerchief-sized lovey in there too.
Naps Matter More Than You Think
Naps are the midday siestas that pave the way for a restful night’s sleep. Observe your baby’s sleepy cues and establish a consistent nap schedule, predictability takes the guess work out of it and makes settling to sleep a much calmer affair. Overtired babies = chaos. A well-rested baby is more likely to embrace the land of dreams when bedtime arrives.
Feeding And Food For The Win
The nourishment your baby receives during the day will absolutely impact their nighttime slumber. Ensuring your little one has well-spaced and full feeds throughout the day, promoting a full tummy, happy bub and more content sleep. Overnight feeds are absolutely normal and necessary in the first 12 – even 18 months (it all depends on what works for your family!) We’ve added a Sleepy Guide below so you can see general expectations for feeds for the first 8 months – you’re welcome!
Self-Settling, it’s a thing!
Ah, the skill of self-settling (not to be confused with self-soothing). It’s can be an enigma for many parents but is a crucial component of sleep magic. Self-settling is about settling yourself to sleep. Simply put, going from an awake state to asleep without someone doing it for you. Self-soothing is entirely different and is about regulating emotions. Babies and toddlers cannot do this themselves, but they can fall asleep.
You can start working on self-settling from 3-months of age, or earlier dependent on your little one’s temperament. I’ve popped a little Settling Ladder below to show you how you can slowly move towards self-settling over time, in a way that feels good for you! Remember there’s no right or wrong step to be on, it’s just about doing what works and changing things that no longer works!
Sleep Regression: Don’t Be Afraid
Beware, for even the most skilled sleep adventurers encounter sleep regressions. These challenges may arise due to growth spurts, developmental milestones, or changes in routine. Fear not, they do pass within a few weeks, sometimes sooner! Keep consistent and trust that the magic of sleep will return.
As you wander through this wild sleep journey, remember that every baby is unique, and the path to peaceful slumber may differ. Trust your instincts, adapt as needed, and seek guidance from wise sleep specialists or our Sleep Guides, if needed.
May the sleep gods give you many nights of peaceful dreams and restful slumbers!