Those early days with your new baby are so precious and magical, aren’t they? Yet, they are also exhausting and torturing as sleep deprivation hits your body and mind like a ton of bricks. From newborn to three months old your baby is unable to soothe itself to sleep and is in need of your assistance – whether it is cuddles, rocking, or feeding. Once they are able to self-soothe themselves to sleep, though, following a routine can make a huge difference.
A routine can help your baby sleep for longer and help them get a better night’s sleep. Here are five mistakes to avoid when getting your baby to sleep.
Ignoring the signals
Your baby will tell you when they have had enough of being awake, whether it is rubbing their eyes, yawning, whining, or fussiness. Recognising these signals and acting on them by putting your baby to sleep will help them to settle quicker. A baby that becomes overtired will take longer to drop off and the longer that continues the harder it will be for them to go off to sleep.
Waking your baby
Your baby will sleep as long as it needs to and will wake for feeds. The saying goes ‘never wake a sleeping baby’ and there are good reasons why it is such a well-used phrase. If your baby has fallen asleep in a rocker then let them sleep there until you need to move them. Likewise, if they have fallen asleep in the car seat then detach it from the car and move them inside. However, it’s important to make sure they are sleeping in a safe place such as a cot or a bed for night-time sleeping.
Overstimulating your baby before sleep time
Nurseries are traditionally decorated in calming tones, rather than bright colours, to provide a comforting environment for your baby to sleep. Providing your baby with a relaxing surrounding which is calm and neutral, rather than one with noise and colours, will allow them to switch off and be ready for sleep. Avoid using a mobile over your baby’s cot when putting them down for a sleep and instead limit it to awake time. Also, avoid playing too much with your baby just before sleep time especially before the night-time sleep. Read a book instead, or sing a lullaby before bedtime to calm them down for sleep.
Not setting a regular time for bedtime
Putting your baby to sleep at the same time every night will help them to sleep for longer and have a better night’s sleep. Repeatedly putting your child to sleep at the same time every night will help them to establish a regular sleep and awake cycle during the day. A sleep routine will help them to wind down before their regular bedtime and will ultimately help them to get to sleep quickly.
Not following a bedtime routine
If your baby does not have cues from you that sleep time is on its way then they are unlikely to wind down for bedtime. Establishing a routine early on will help your baby to settle to sleep. Giving your baby cues such as a bath, book, song, and cuddles will teach them to relax for sleep. Repeatedly placing them in their cot, saying ‘goodnight’, and switching off the lights every night will reinforce the routine in your baby’s mind.
If you are struggling with your baby’s sleep or routine then seek advice from other mums or a qualified health professional.
Did you make any mistakes with your baby’s sleep routine which you had to fix? What advice would you give to first-time mums to get their baby off to sleep?
If you become concerned about your or anyone else’s health please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources http://www.stayathomemum.com.
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