By Lucy Shrimpton, child sleep expert, author and founder of The Sleep Nanny® and The Sleep Nanny Academy™.
One of the most common problems when you become a new parent is getting your baby to sleep through the night. And if you’ve become a new parent over the past 12 months – one of the most stressful times of our generation – then you will be wanting, and needing that sleep more than ever.
Here are some essential tips to help new parents struggling to get their baby to sleep through the night.
Try your best to get your baby into a consistent bedtime routine, helping them to understand the cues that will make them ready for sleep time. This could be bath time or a bedtime story. Do it at the same time and place each evening – consistency is key.
Make sure you have blackout blinds to keep out the natural light for daytime naps or the lighter evenings in the sunnier months.
Keep your nap times consistent during the day and sustain these naps until they are around three and a half or four years old. Little children with really alert temperaments will appear not to need need (or want!) these naps but they actually need it more and for longer than their more laid back peers. Children over three and above who are sleeping a solid 12 hours a night probably won’t need a nap.
Avoid a baby’s cot being near a window as not only can this avoid draughts but they are less likely to be woken up by outdoor noise. If it can be noisy where you are, white noise simulators can help create a soothing atmosphere.
Try to keep the temperature of the nursery to around 18 to 20 degrees, so not too warm or cold.
Do your best to avoid having distracting decorations up like mobiles, light shows or projectors whizzing above the cot which could stimulate the baby’s brain, just as you’re trying to relax them and get them to sleep.
Early Waking = Early Nights
If your toddler wakes up early, don’t be tempted to put them to bed later on. The number one reason why toddlers wake up early is over-tiredness so a period of early nights should sort them out.
Don’t Do It For Them
Support your little one settling to sleep, rather than doing it for them. When we put our children to sleep through rocking, feeding, holding or laying with them we deprive them of the room to develop their own self-regulatory abilities which are essential life skills. That doesn’t mean you have to leave your little one to it – it’s not all or nothing. Instead, you can support them, work with them and pave the way for them to develop these skills. Helping them to settle to sleep is far more beneficial to your children than doing it all for them.
All little ones are different, learning and developing at different paces. Some will test your ability to persevere much more than others. Please don’t be down on yourself as this will make matters worse. Babies are always changing and just as you think you have them figured out they do something new. Some little ones are more easily malleable than others while some will throw a new challenge in your direction. Make yourself equipped for these changes; have confidence and don’t give up.
Get A Sleep Nanny
If you are really struggling to get your baby to sleep and sustain a regular sleep pattern then get help from a professional sleep nanny. There is really no need to suffer in silence and you are jeopardising your and your family’s health and wellbeing. And with online zoom calls, it’s easier than ever to get that help.
About Lucy Shrimpton
Lucy Shrimpton is one of the world’s leading child sleep experts, founder of The Sleep Nanny® and The Sleep Nanny Academy™ and author of The Sleep Nanny System. She has helped thousands of tired parents and children around the world to win bedtime battles and finally gain the gift of a good night’s sleep. She will be taking part in The Baby Show, the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event 18th – 21st June. Join online at www.thebabyshow.co.uk.