How to enjoy a good night's sleep
A baby that won’t sleep can affect your whole family. Try our tips for a silent night
• Get your baby used to a night-time routine from day one. She probably won’t start to go to sleep when you want her to, but it will mean there’s already a routine in place she’s used to when she’s of an age that she can respond to one.
• When you’re establishing a routine, always stick to the same things in the same order and give it a definite end. Your baby will then begin to learn that this is the time for him to go to sleep.
• Make sure you create a quiet atmosphere. Keep things calm, dim the lights and avoid stimulating your baby.
• Avoid rocking or feeding your baby to sleep. He will learn to expect this and won’t be able to fall asleep by himself either at first or if he wakes in the night. Help him to learn to settle himself.
• If your baby wakes during the night, make sure your visits are as unexciting and quiet as possible. Don’t turn on the light, just give a quick pat and reassure him.
• For older babies (six–nine months), fresh air, exercise and a good diet will all help your baby to feel ready for bed at the end of the day.
• Be confident that your baby will be safe while you sleep and therefore doesn’t need you to check up on her during the night, possibly disturbing and waking her.
• If your baby insists on waking before the dawn chorus, make ensure that nothing is helping to wake her up. Make sure the room stays dark by fitting blackout blinds or consider moving her, for example, to a room at the back of your house if it is noisy at the front. It is also possible, that trying a later or, strangely, an earlier bedtime might help.
• If your baby often throws off her covers, she may be waking up because she’s cold. If this is the case, you can try using a baby sleeping bag. Make sure it is sleeveless and hoodless, and fits well around the arms and neck so your baby won’t slip down inside it. To avoid overheating (a risk factor for cot death), use a sleeping bag with a low tog rating and dress your baby just in a vest and Babygro.
• And remember, your baby WILL, at some point, start going to sleep and sleeping through the night. He may go on to have periods of waking at night at different times in his childhood, but you will survive and you will, probably sooner than you expect, start to feel human again.
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