How To Get Your Baby To Sleep

If there really was one sure-fire baby sleep solution, someone, somewhere would be very, very rich. There are many small steps that can help however, and as any frazzled, sleep-addled mum will testify, even the smallest improvement can be a huge help.

Swaddled Baby Boy Sleeping

Wrapping

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.

Winding down

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!).

More baby tips

The five baby essentials: The must-haves
Make your own organic baby food
10 Tips for the first-time parents

Tags: baby sleep baby tips newborns

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