Sleep. It’s something we parents can only dream of. And it’s actually something that’s pretty important for our little ones too. Catching those kips not only helps them grow, but it also improves their health and general wellbeing. In fact, it’s just as important as nutrition and exercise.
So what can we do to help our little ones (and us!) get that much needed shut-eye?
We’ve listed our favourite top tips below to help your little one sleep like a baby!
When babies are first born, they sleep so much that trying to create any form of routine is a bit pointless until they're three months.  But when they reach four-six weeks, creating little rituals will help them build an association with these things and going to sleep. So why not try a soft bedtime song or a warm bath so they know it’s time to sleep? Avoid putting down your baby when it’s really late too. It might be tempting if they’ve been soaking up the naps all day, but a late bedtime usually leads to an overtired, grumbling little one who will find it harder to relax.
Don’t overstimulate your baby, as this will keep them up. Dim the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere. You could also try using some white noise apps, toys or CDs to mimic the sound of the womb. A comforter or soft toy that smells of you is familiar to them and might also help them nod off.
Using light strategically can help regulate your baby’s biological clock. Get your baby used to plenty of sunlight in the day so that when it’s time for their night-time snooze, they’ll drift off much more easily. This regulates their circadian rhythms (their what now?), the sleep/wake cycle. Keep the curtains open during their daytime naps and don’t worry about keeping the noise down. You want to make a clear separation between day and night.
It’s important that your little one learns how to soothe themselves. If you put them down when they’re asleep and they wake up in the night, they won’t recognise their surroundings and will need you to drift off again. Take them up to bed just as they’re nearly out for the count, but still awake. And if they rouse, don’t rush in, however tempting it might be. Give them a chance to fall back asleep while they’re waiting for you.
Of course, we wouldn’t forget this one! Try taking your little one to a pool or baby swimming class. This exercise will give them an all-over body workout, helping them to feel sleepier come bedtime!
But remember. Every baby is different, which means their sleep habits will be different too. So don’t panic. With anything, it’s all about trial and error, and seeing what works best for your little one. Happy snoozing!
1 How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?, Babycentre.co.uk, https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a123/how-can-i-get-my-baby-to-sleep-through-the-night
2 Tips to help your baby to sleep, NCT.org.uk, https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/sleep/tips-help-your-baby-sleep