How To Get Your Baby To Sleep
Young babies are prone to a startle reflex, which causes their arms to fling into their face and often wakes them. To reduce the chance of this happening, and recreate a cosy, womb-like environment, wrapping can really help. There are many different wrapping methods – entire books have been written on the subject! – so you may want to practise a few styles before finding which works best for you. Alternatively, invest in a wrap with Velcro or press studs, which will be harder for baby to escape from. Stop wrapping once the startle reflex disappears, or when baby learns to roll onto her tum.
Recognising the tired signs
Eye rubbing, yawning and refusing eye contact are all signs that baby is ready for bed. If you miss the signs then that particular window of sleep could pass you by completely, resulting in an over-tired, double-grumpy baby and probable pain for mum and dad. Newborns will typically become overtired after being awake for 90 minutes, and this increases to one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours at 3-6 months and 2-3 hours up to a year old.
Finding a soundtrack to sleep
From white noise, such as a radio stuck between stations or a blaring fan, to more traditional lullabies, research shows that tunes really can help babies nod off. Another option is singing yourself, however tuneless you may be.
Giving baby an opportunity to wind down and prepare for bed is important. Reduce stimulation by taking her away from TVs, windows and noise, closing blinds and hiding toys. Opt for soft lighting and speak softly while having some quiet time together in her room. A story and a gentle rock or cuddle should help baby become more chilled, with the next logical step being sleep. Regularly following the same pattern should help her realise this!
The late night feed
Some mums swear by giving baby one last feed at around 10-11pm, or whenever it is they're going to bed themselves. Often referred to as a 'dream feed', food is gently offered while baby is still sleeping, keeping her full and happy until a more respectable hour (in theory!).