I remember the months and months of trying to get my babies to sleep. Searching for blogs or baby sleep tips; how to get my baby to sleep well, sleep through the night, sleep at all! Then, just when you think you’ve cracked it with your baby, they go through a growth spurt or they start teething!
There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. It’s hell, and at the time you wonder if you will ever survive those sleepless nights. But we do. And our babies find their own way when they are ready. And before you know it they will be teenagers and you’ll be trying to get them to wake up not go to sleep! Ok, so that’s a fair way off for us, but it does already feel like a distant memory; all those evenings where I was desperate to get the boys into some kind of a routine. Desperate to get them to sleep for longer than the dreaded 45 minute sleep cycle during their naps.
Our youngest is now 16 months, and I would say it’s only been around the last 5 weeks that he has actually started to sleep through the night. Gasp, I know. But it didn’t actually have to be that long. I think because he was our last we were far more lenient with him. The madness of having a 2 year old demanding my attention throughout the day meant that secretly, although exhausted, I didn’t mind those midnight cuddles. And my husband was so supportive of my working from home that he would share the night time feeds once I had begun combination feeding which really was the greatest help to get through it. And George found his own way **crosses fingers for no regression**
Over time I have found more and more tips which I’ve tried and tested and with the help & advice of Sarah Beeson MBE, Sleep Expert extraordinaire, I wanted to share these baby sleep tips with you in case you are also suffering.
Top 10 Baby Sleep Tips:
1. Try making a Shush sound over and over.
Making gentle, rhythmic shushing sounds will often help babies to relax. It replicates the sound they hear from your heartbeat in the womb – I find this still comforts George at 16 months!
2. Stroke your baby’s forehead nose or head.
I remember my Mum doing this to me when I was little and I still love it now!! I really love doing it to the boys too as it can be very soothing and help them get off to sleep. Also if you stroke the bridge of your baby’s nose the motion will encourage their eyes to close.
3. Take a deep breath and sway.
It’s so hard to remain calm if your baby is screaming – but try to relax your body and they will also relax, helping them to calm down. Hold your baby against your chest with their head on your shoulder, rocking side to side & take a deep breath, in and out. Repeating until they are in the same rhythm as you.
5. Darken the room.
A room with lights down low and the curtains drawn creates a calmer setting to help your baby drift off. It also signifies to them that it is night time – likewise make the room light and bright during awake times.
6. Sleep breeds sleep.
Contrary to what goes for adults, a baby who hasn’t slept the whole day will not sleep better at night – they will be over stimulated, over tired and agitated. Try and get your baby to sleep during the day, and don’t worry if at first they will only sleep on you – I spent far too much time worrying about it “becoming a habit” and far too little enjoying the moment (and the relaxation!).
7. Put white noise on such as a hairdryer.
All babies are different and this didn’t work with Henry, but second time around I found myself putting a hairdryer on to get George off to sleep – For us the mobile apps didn’t work, only the real deal – I went through 2 of them! Life in the womb is noisy and a quiet nursery is not! I know adults who swear by white noise too.
8. Put something which smells of you in the cot.
I found this really helped and I spend a lot of time with muslins and other items stuffed down my top! Your scent will be comforting to them. I used breastfeeding clothing too which smelt of my milk – just be careful not to use anything long which they could get caught on.
9. Try a rocking chair.
Snuggling with your little one in a rocking chair is one of the most successful methods of getting them off to sleep. They spent 40+ weeks being rocked around inside of you and it brings them great comfort to have this motion replicated in the outside world. The combination of your warm body and the motion is the perfect to send them off – plus you get to sit down!
10. Use a sleeping bag.
My boys spin around and around in a circle throughout the night and would lose any bedclothes if we used them – causing them to wake up freezing in the night. Once your baby is old enough, using something like a sleeping bag is the answer to this. We especially love the ones which are made from nature’s super-fabric, Merino wool – which is naturally antibacterial, breathable and keeps their temperatures regulated.
I really hope you find these baby sleep tips useful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. Just remember that every baby is different & every parent is different. Don’t listen to that woman at baby group who tells you her child has slept through from 2 weeks. You and your baby will get there when they are ready. Just enjoy the snuggles for now!
This Baby Sleep Tips article was written by myself in collaboration with Aldi.